Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Recipe - Don't Waste the Crumbs (2024)

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This Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Recipe is super healthy and can easily be made vegan! We use rainbow or red chard and sometimes add peppers too! This is my husband’s all-time favorite recipe! Enjoy it as a side with my almond crusted baked chicken recipe!

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A few years ago I made a Swiss chard and bacon pasta dish that my husband absolutely LOVED… which is pretty funny, because he grew up as a super picky eater!

My step-mom played an important role in getting him to eat a greater variety of foods… It’s hard to be so picky when your mother-in-law cooks you dinner every Sunday and isn’t afraid to call you out on your pickiness!

To this day I’m thankful for her, because that delicious combination of caramelized onions and Swiss chard quickly morphed from a meal where I thought “If I cross my fingers and serve it with pasta, MAYBE, just MAYBE he won’t notice…” to a much-requested and my husband’s FAVORITE side dish!

I think the reason he likes this caramelized onions and Swiss chard recipe so much is because it doesn’t cook fast. In fact, it’s one of the few dishes I make that actually takes some time to prepare.

Because the onions cook slow, on low, they get a chance to release their natural juices and caramelize… i.e., they get sweet. So sweet, that your family just might forget that they’re eating onions!

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Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Recipe

I’ve made this caramelized onion Swiss chard recipe about a million times since we did the Whole30 (kidding… sort of) and here’s why. It’s…

  • Healthy. Swiss chard offers a decent amount of dietary fiber.
  • Frugal. Especially if you belong to a CSA!
  • Satisfyingly Delicious with healthy fats and sweet earthy vegetables.
  • And it’s even vegan-friendly!

Ingredients for Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Recipe

With only a few nourishing ingredients, this recipe is the best example of how delicious simple, real food can be.

  • Cooking Fat. My absolute favorite cooking fat for this recipe is bacon grease. Yum, yum, yum!
  • Onions. No matter what type of onion you choose, you simply cannot go wrong. Depending on whatever is on sale, I’ve had both yellow, white and sweet onions in my pantry and they all taste delicious. Red onions would be okay too.
  • Swiss chard. I typically use rainbow chard simply because I like all the colors (and a variety of colors in a diet generally means a variety of nutrients), but you can use red Swiss chard leaves as well.
  • Garlic. I’ve tried this recipe with both fresh garlic and granulated garlic and hands down, granulated garlic wins out every time.
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Do you eat the Swiss Chard stems?

Yes! You thinly slice the stems with the leaves. They’ll get sauteed with everything, adding color, a little crunch, and extra nutrition!

How Can I make Swiss Chard and caramelized onions vegan-friendly?

Coconut oil earns the award for the second best cooking fat here, and the slight sweet of the coconut adds to the sweet of the onions. I’ve purchased coconut oil from Costco, from Walmart, and this brand on Amazon.

Another option is olive oil too, which would be great if you want a bit more of a savory swing to the caramelizing that’s happening.

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How to Make Swiss Chard with Caramelized Onions

Although this side dish isn’t hard, it does take about 45 minutes or so to make. Because of this, it’s usually the first thing I start when I’m cooking dinner.

Step 1. Preheat your skillet on low and add your cooking fat.

Step 2. Meanwhile, cut your onions in half and thinly slice all halves. When all the onions are sliced, add to the pan.

Step 3. Stir every few minutes, for the first 5-7 minutes or so, to ensure the onions are thoroughly coated with fat, are not sticking to the pan and are cooking. Adjust the heat if necessary, but keep it on low.

Step 4. Meanwhile, thoroughly wash the chard and dry completely. Then thinly slice the chard.

Step 5. When the onions begin to brown slightly and turn translucent, add the chard. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the chard wilts and the onions turn brown and caramelize.

Step 6. Season to taste with granulated garlic, salt and pepper. Serve warm

Notes:

  • One good thing about the slow cooking temperature, is that you don’t have to hover over the stove the entire time. I like to be close by for the first 5 minutes or so, to make sure the onions don’t get stuck to my cast iron skillet, and to make sure that all the onions are covered well in my cooking fat (my favorite is re-using bacon grease!).
  • Once all the onions are coated in fat, and I’m sure nothing is sticking, I move on to whatever else I’m cooking that night and come back to stir occasionally.
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FAQs for Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard

Are Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Good as Leftovers?

This recipe is fantastic as leftovers, probably because it’s soft when it’s done and therefore it’s soft when you reheat. In fact, my son recently asked if I would put these leftovers in his school lunch! I would have if I didn’t already have plans to serve it with a couple of fried eggs on top! 😉

If you do plan on serving this for leftovers, I encourage you to start with a double batch. I usually use my large skillet (I use this 12” cast iron skillet to make this), but you’ll want to use something bigger like a 5-quart pot instead. You’ll lose a smidgen of flavor without the cast iron, but NOT spending another 45 minutes cooking a second batch is worth the trade off in my opinion!

What does this Swiss Chard and caramelized onion recipe go well with?

Really, the possibilities are endless! But I think this recipe is perfect with lemon and herb sheet pan chicken or almond-crusted chicken. It is also amazing with a couple of fried eggs on top… that oozy yolk? Oh my!

What if I don’t have Swiss Chard? Can I use a different leafy green?

Yes, of course. This cooking method would work with other hearty green leaves, like collards, mustard greens, or beet greens. You can also use slightly less sturdy greens, like kale or dandelion greens, but know that they’ll be done much quicker than the Swiss chard I’m calling for in this recipe.

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More Easy Sides

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Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard

Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Recipe - Don't Waste the Crumbs (7)
Print Recipe
★★★★★4.8 from 4 reviews

This caramelized onions and Swiss chard recipe is made with 4 simple ingredients and can easily be made vegan. Use rainbow or red chard for this delicious family-favorite side dish! Enjoy paired with my Almond Crusted Baked Chicken.

  • Author: Tiffany
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

  • 2 medium/large onions
  • 1 lb Swiss chard (any variety)
  • 24 Tbsp cooking fat (I prefer bacon grease)
  • ½– 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 12 tsp salt
  • ½ -1 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your skillet on low and add your cooking fat.
  2. Meanwhile, cut your onions in half and thinly slice all halves. When all the onions are sliced, add to the pan.
  3. Stir every few minutes, for the first 5-7 minutes or so, to ensure the onions are thoroughly coated with fat, are not sticking to the pan, and are cooking. Adjust the heat, if necessary, but keep the temp low. To truly carmelize the onions, you need to cook them low and slow.
  4. Meanwhile, thoroughly wash the chard and dry completely. Then thinly slice the chard.
  5. When the onions begin to brown slightly and turn translucent, add the chard. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the chard wilts and the onions turn brown and caramelize.
  6. Season to taste with granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Serve warm.

Notes

  • One good thing about the slow cooking temperature, is that you don’t have to hover over the stove the entire time. I like to be close by for the first 5 minutes or so, to make sure the onions don’t get stuck to my cast iron skillet, and to make sure that all the onions are covered well in my cooking fat (my favorite is re-using bacon grease!).
  • Once all the onions are coated in fat, and I’m sure nothing is sticking, I move on to whatever else I’m cooking that night and come back to stir occasionally.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 197

Keywords: swiss chard, swiss chard recipe, caramelized onions and swiss chard, swiss chard with onions

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Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Recipe - Don't Waste the Crumbs (2024)
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