Chard Stems Gratin

I don’t have many leftovers, because I usually cook exact portions. Sometimes I do have leftover ingredients, and I don’t like to throw away any food. One typical leftover ingredient is the stems of chard, because the leaves are used for a recipe such as these lovely pansoti and then the stems are left. From the same pansoti I also had some leftover home made ricotta, and so I decided to turn the chard stems with ricotta into a simple but nice side dish: chard stems gratin. This was easy to prepare and quite tasty. It would be more traditional in Italy to make the gratin using a besciamella (white sauce), but ricotta keeps it slightly ligther and I had used up the milk to make the ricotta. Here’s what I did.


chard stems


freshly grated parmigiano reggiano


salt and freshly ground pepper


Parboil the chard stems in salted water for 10 minutes (I cut them into chunks but any shape you like would work).

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF.

Butter an oven dish, or individual oven dishes.

Spread out the chard in the oven dish. If you like you could make several layers of chard and put ricotta and parmigiano between all the layers.

Cover with ricotta.

Cover with freshly grated parmigiano, and dot with a bit of butter.

Bake at 200ºC/400ºF until the cheese has melted and is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before serving, as you can taste it much better when you don’t burn your mouth.


A recipe I posted two years ago was also about leftovers in a way, because I had bought a pheasant and used everything so there were no leftovers whatsoever. I smoked the breast fillets, made ravioli out of the legs, and made a stock out of the rest to use as a sauce for both the pheasant ravioli (primo piatto) and the smoked pheasant breast (secondo piatto).

24 thoughts on “Chard Stems Gratin

    1. It’s interesting how they don’t look like beets, but do taste like beets. In some places chard is called silverbeet. In Italy, chard is “bietole” and beetroot is called “barbabietole”.


  1. I also seem to have few leftovers but don’t like to throw anyhting away and tho’ living rurally, no, don’t keep chickens 🙂 ! Since I use a lot of sliverbeet and bok choi etc there are quite a lot of such stems around tho’. This is a very tasty way to ‘fix the problem’ indeed ~ as I mostly cook Asian, many of mine do end up in stirfries, where they give quite a crunchy mouthfeel! Must try this variant tho’ !!


    1. Oh my 🙂 ! First of all, I am certain I did spell every word correctly and wonder what does happen in the ether 🙂 ? But secondly I have learned that ‘chard’ does mean’ silverbeet’ which is very, very commonly used Down Under!!


      1. “Snijbiet” (which is the Dutch for chard/silverbeet) is quite difficult to find around here. It used to be something that only my grandmother had, because her brother-in-law grew his own.


    2. I know chard/silverbeet from Italian cooking and I’m too much of a purist to do a lot of fusion so I usually keep the bok choi to stir fry and chard to more Italian preparations.


  2. Great idea for using the stems, Stefan. Everything tastes better in a gratin and I bet that’s definitely true of one of yours. Depending on the first use, we’ll chop them up finely and use them along with the leaves. Otherwise, they’re saved for the stockpot. As you can imagine, they were never thrown away. Great new pic, by the way. 🙂


    1. Thanks — it was a selfie I took in front of a mirror with my new camera. The mirror must have fooled the autofocus because it is not completely sharp, which is a good thing to hide the wrinkles! 😉


  3. I really like your approach to maximizing yield and reducing waste from using everything you have at hand. I’ve been missing your posts and other blogs I follow. I recently subscribed to a blog that is a stream of consciousnesses, and posts ilke 40 times a day, I need to turn it off. See you updated your photo too, nice! Take care!


    1. Thanks Paul, good to have you back 🙂 It was about time for an update, as I haven’t worn those blue glasses anymore for over a year now (after stepping on them in a campsite shower last year!).


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