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chard chips
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Swiss Chard Chips

by Nick

My mom is a much better gardener than I am.  That much became very clear when she showed up at my house with pounds and pounds of delicious looking chard.

It was extra.  But it was some of the best looking chard I’ve ever seen so I happily accepted it.

When she left I was kind of at a loss as to what to do with it.  Sure, I could just sautee it with some lemon and olive oil, but we did that the night before.  So I decided to try a technique that’s typically used with kale:  baking the leaves into crunchy chips!

It’s a bit of a tricky process, but I really liked the results.

Yield
Serves 4 as a snack
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Swiss Chard Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of swiss chard, washed, dried, and ribs cut out.
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Sesame seeds (opt.)
  • Kosher salt

Directions

1) Wash chard well.  Cut out ribs from each leaf.  Dry leafs really well with paper towels.

2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3) Toss chard with olive oil and sesame seeds if you're using them.

4) Spread out chard leaves on baking sheets, making sure the leaves don't overlap.  You'll probably have to work in batches.

5) Bake leaves for 4 minutes, then check them.  Some might be done, some might need flipped and cooked for another minute or so.

6) Let chips cool for a few minutes before eating.

Preparing the Chard

In the scheme of things, chard is a pretty sturdy leafy green.  It can withstand a lot, but it does have a hard time in a 400 degree oven which is where it will be going.  So it’s really important that you take the time to prepare it correctly for this journey.

Step one is to wash it off really well.  Chard has a tendency to trap all kinds of dirt in those little veins.  So rinse them off well.

chard

Nice looking chard.

Then go through each leaf and cut out the big rib that runs down the center.  That big thing just won’t cook in the short amount of time these will be in the oven, so get rid of it.

I recommend leaving the leaves pretty big because they will shrink some in the oven.

ribs removed

Rid of the ribs.

Drying the Chard

This gets its own section because it’s probably the most important part of this whole process.  You have to dry off each leaf really well.  Yes.  This is definitely a pain in the you-know-what, but it’s the only way to make sure your leaves are crispy instead of soggy.

Even a little bit of water on a leaf will turn to steam and steam the leaf instead of it getting crispy.  So lay out a few paper towels and press the leaves really well in batches to make sure they are dry.  You don’t have to do them one at a time or anything, but don’t do them all at once either!

dry

Super dry. Super important.

The Seasonings

Once the leaves are dry you’re ready to make some chips!  Be sure your oven is pre-heated to 400 degrees.  You want it nice and hot when you put the leaves in.

There are really only two other ingredients that are necessary for this recipe:  oil and salt.  I like to sprinkle on some sesame seeds also which are tasty and have an added benefit of keeping the leaves slightly off the baking sheet so they don’t stick as badly.

seasonings

Basic stuff.

In a large bowl, toss the leaves with the olive oil.  You want them lightly coated, but they shouldn’t be dripping with oil.  They should just have a nice shine on them.  If you’re using sesame seeds, add them to the bowl and toss them around so the leaves are well-coated.

Then lay them out on a baking sheet so they aren’t over-lapping and sprinkle them with a bit of salt.

These are ready for the oven.

ready

Ready for some quick heat!

Cooking the Leaves

You want to cook these guys at 400 degrees for about 4 minutes.  Then take them out and check on them.  Some of them might be done, some might need flipping, some might just need another minute or so.  There’s no way any of them will take longer than five minutes.

Also, don’t freak out if you lose a few.  Some might end up getting too burned or sticking to the baking sheet.  They are just sacrificial chards.  I’m not sure that it’s possible to bat .1000 on these guys.

But you should get more than enough to fill a big bowl.

Be sure to let the leaves cool for a few minutes before trying to move them.  They will crisp up even more as they cool.

finished

Eat immediately!

I would say that 85% of mine turned out really good which is a pretty good ratio considering that I’m putting leafy greens in a hot oven and expecting them to do something other than just decompose immediately.

Look at this one for example.  Nice and crispy!

chip

A chip with veins!

I found that these degrade pretty quickly once they come out of the oven though.  You definitely want to eat them within 15-20 minutes of cooking them.  As mine sat, they got a bit soggier which I think is maybe because I oiled them a bit too much.

While these are touchy things, if you do it right, much like kale chips, they are really crispy, thin, and delicious.  I actually think these are prettier than kale chips also with the red veins running throughout the chips.

If you’re up for a chip challenge, give these guys a shot!

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20 comments on “Swiss Chard Chips

    1. I think it might work. The issue would be if they touched anything wet they would probably lose their crunch. They aren't nearly as sturdy as potato chips…

  1. Great recipe! Only mine did turn out as beautiful as yours, mine with brown, don’t know why. But my son, (6), daugther (9), and her friend (10), ate them all up, I had to make more. I make Kale chips but the swiss chard was cheaper so I thought I would give it a try with them, and it worked out as good if not better. Kale chips are not as delicate.

  2. I love these chips! I get a lot of swiss chard through my CSA produce box every other week. This is a great snack. My husband will even eat them!

  3. EXCELLENT recipe! they are gorgeous and delicious! Sesame seeds ROCK. Thank you :-)

    I can’t recommend this recipe enough. BTW if they turn brown, they’ve been in the oven too long. Test your timing. Mine took EXACTLY 5 minutes.

    Also, go VERY light on the salt, since they are so thin, it doesn’t take much. They can be over-salted easily.

    Wonderful idea! Try it!

  4. I’ve got tons of chard and have turned them into chips using various seasoning. But, what I’ve found is that you most likely won’t have enough room on your racks to do enough to make the effort worthwhile (I eat a ton of them as they are so good).

    Two things I do: First, because I made some dried tomatoes a couple years ago, I turned my oven into a large drying rack. I went to an appliance junk yard and picked up 4 extra oven racks. These were smaller than the ones that fit into my oven. I cut some boards (3/4″ x 2.5 ” x 18.5″ long) to act as spacers 2.5 inches apart. Then, I washed, seasoned and laid out on each of the racks the leaves with the cut out center stems. This system works pretty well, but I just don’t like doing all the work. I put them in a bowl and every eats them for a couple days… just gotta have one more bite.

    But, here’s something I’m going to try. My though to lesson the work involved is to cut the chard and leave the long stem on. Wash, dry apply the oil (I use coconut oil because it is so good for you) apply seasoning and then tie stems together in bunches and let the hang down from the top rack. I’m thinking this will save a lot of work and you can always separate from the center stem at the end. What do you think?

    1. Coconut oil? That stuff is really NASTY from a health viewpoint. Oil of olives (how about avocados or peanuts) is MUCH better for you. I drive a heart lung machine when you are having open heart surgery, so I should really advise the coconut oil. But I’m also concerned with your well being. There are enough people smoking tobacco that I would NEVER need to encourage anyone to use coconut oil.

      Thanks,
      NT

      1. Nick, for almost as long as I can remember, I heard the bad hype about coconut oil, it was the devil in liquid form! Then about 20 years ago I became smitten with Indian food which often calls for using coconut oil. I took to it, because it has unique lovely characteristics of fragrance and flavor, but I did try to hold the amount to a minimum, sometime using part peanut oil. About 7 years ago my sister-in-law, a respected nutritionist/dietitian surprised us at a family holiday gathering by touting the virtues of coconut oil — in fact she generously sent a jar of it to all of us who were interested. She steered me to recent research which debunked the bad hype, which in fact proposed that coconut oil was a healthy choice. I still try to keep my oil intake within dietary guidelines, but I no longer feel so naughty when using coconut oil. It must be virgin oil, however, not the old-fashioned cheaper partly hydrogenated version.

        Nick, in your post you took a very hardline stance, so I may not have made you think twice about this matter, but check out this NY Times piece if you’re at least a bit open-minded — http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/dining/02Appe.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0. I have read at least 25 other pieces , too, but this is a good starter. Also, the recent proliferation of coconut oil in health food stores, Whole Foods Markets, health-conscious food co-ops, even regular ole supermarkets seems to support a sea change in its acceptance and desirability. I, for one, would never leave it out of a shrimp or veggie curry.

        BTW, have you heard that it’s no longer considered true that bird parents will never go back to a baby bird if it’s been touched by a human? So now we can feel good about helping a fallen one back into its nest — another wonderful debunking of an “old wives’ tale.” Those pendulums keep swinging…

  5. We make kale chips a lot, so these were a great twist on that. If you bake them at 350 degrees for 8 minutes (rotate the cookie sheet halfway through) you’ll find they’ll dry out completely and stay crisp for days. I think the longest I’ve kept kale chips is 2 weeks (amazing they lasted that long – usually they’ve been eaten within a day or two of my making them). Thanks for the sesame seed suggestion!

  6. I have tried this recipe several times,as directed from the authors post, and at different temps, it failed. and meet the lowest of expectations. There is no way that those chard chips stay that green as the author of this recipe shows in their photos. I would give this recipe a 1 out of 10, for the prep, and time consumed, as well as the finale product. Kale chip recipes far exceed what this author has posted regarding chard. I wanted to believe, but don’t waste your time. But, as they say, chard is cheep………..

  7. hi! I made these and they actually turned out really well, I had no issue making them or baking them. however, the taste was a little bitter (which I assume was due to the chard I used). I got it at the grocery store and to be honest, should have used it sooner.
    do you find that store bought has a bitter taste and/or that it gets a bitter taste when not used soon enough?
    also, I usually saute my vegetables in almond oil, which I love the taste of. have you tried it? (olive oil might be a little strong tasting for me for a food like chard that doesn’t absorb it well. thanks for the recipe!

    1. by the way, I also used wax paper underneath. that stopped the chard from sticking or burning on the bottom, but wondering if this could have contributed to the off taste.

      1. Oh. Yea… I would think it is maybe the wax paper. Try it with parchment paper which doesn’t have a film on it like wax paper does. Good luck!

  8. I enjoy swiss chard and kale chips, have been baking them for a few years now. If you have the patience, I find they turn out better at 275 in the oven for about 15 mins and then to flip them over for another 10 or 15 mins depending on how thick they were (fully crispy). I’ve never left the center stem and vein on though. I’ve had them last well over 6 weeks in the past in a sealed container. Hope this is helpful to someone.

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