Swiss Chard Stem Chutney

Chard Stem Chutney

Recently, I was making an Indian-inspired entrée that had some gingery chard leaves as a component. I had the stems left over and was thinking of a way to incorporate them into the final plate. They can hold up really well to aggressive seasonings so I thought, “why not try turning them into a chutney?” This is the result. The only trick here is to cut the stems into fairly small pieces (1/4-inch thick) and simmer them long enough to fully tenderize them. You’re looking to make sure there is no crunch left. Apple cider vinegar provides the acidity, while lightly browned onions and chopped dates lend the sweetness. This makes around two cups, which is quite a lot. Because it doesn’t have any preservatives, it will only last about a week in the refrigerator. If you don’t think you’ll use it all up in time, try making a half recipe. Or, come up with some creative ways of using it up. Try stirring some into plain unsweetened vegan yogurt or hummus for an interesting dip, or as a condiment on a sandwich. Mix it into a little mayo for a fun salad sandwich with your favorite protein (lightly mashed chickpeas would be great)

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Swiss Chard Stem Chutney
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Here’s a unique chutney recipe to use up all of those leftover Swiss chard stems. It makes a great accompaniment to an Indian-inspired meal
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard, stems only, leaves reserved for another purpose like Ginger Chard
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil – canola, vegetable, refined coconut
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped, roughly 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mango powder (optional)
  • 12 medium dates, pitted and chopped. Save your expensive Medjool dates for something else, their flavor will get lost in the mix as they are being used mainly for sweetness.
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  1. Cut the chard stems in to ¼ wide pieces and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a medium pot (2 qt capacity or larger) until hot
  3. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. Toast until the mustard seeds stop popping, less than a minute
  4. Add the onion and cook gently until tender and a little browned, 6-8 minutes
  5. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a moment.
  6. Add the spices and stir well to combine
  7. Add the dates, vinegar and water and bring to a simmer
  8. Stir in the chard stems and return to a boil
  9. Reduce the heat and cover the pot
  10. Cook, stirring often, until the stems are tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy constancy. This will take 15-20 minutes. If the liquid has reduced but the stems are still not quite tender, add a ¼ cup of water and simmer a few minutes longer.

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  • Reply
    Marshall Ledger
    May 9, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    By accident, I used kale stems instead of chard stems for the Swiss Chard Stem Chutney. They took twice as long to get tender as you suggest for the chard, but they finally succumbed and the dish was full of flavor and punch. Thanks for a great idea and for helping me not waste good–and unexpected–food material

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