My favorite rainbow chard

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

My favorite rainbow chard

Once in awhile a dish comes along that deserves the designation of “favorite.” 

With rainbow chard widely available in California markets, I just had to find something good to do with it. And it’s always good to be able to find an excuse to use garlic and lemon. 

This makes a great side dish. It can also be topped with something like sliced pan-roasted chicken breast so that the meat is more of a condiment. 

Try this one. It’s easy and very very good.

Servings: 4


  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Rinse the chard. Remove the stems from the leaves by cutting along each side of the stem. 
  2. Slice the stems crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. Stack the leaves and roll them up lengthwise. Cut them crosswise into 1/2 wide ribbons. 
  3. Zest the lemon. Now for the fun part. It’s time to sort of separate the lemon segments without getting too fussy. 
  4. Cut about 1/2 inch off the top and bottom of the lemon so it stands up on your cutting board. Use your chef’s knife to cut down along the contour of the lemon removing what’s left of the peel after zesting and the white pith underneath. 
  5. Holding the lemon over a bowl, try to cut the segments away from each other dropping them into the bowl with whatever juice drips down in the process. Squeeze the remaining pulp to capture the rest of the juice. 
  6. Heat a sauté pan for a couple of minutes. Add the oil then cook the onions, garlic, and stems with the pan covered for about five minutes until they begin to soften. The stems need this extra time to be tender. 
  7. Add the leaves, stir, and cover. Cook for another 10 minutes. The leaves will wilt and cook way down.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, juice, and segments. 
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 82
  • Total fat: 7 g
  • Trans fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 165 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 5 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 1 g