This Swiss chard gratin is fragrant with garlic and ginger, with a creamy texture and crispy breadcrumb topping. The dish has converted many chard-phobics (i.e. those who are suspicious of Swiss chard) into chard-LOVERS (even my kids love this gratin)! It’s soul-satisfying yet healthy, and since it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, it will please all the eaters at your table.

Close up of a spoonful of vegan Swiss chard gratin.

Easy Swiss chard gratin recipe

Best of all, it’s the easiest gratin you’ll ever assemble! Instead of fussing with a béchamel sauce, this recipe uses thickened coconut milk instead.

Vegan Swiss chard gratin

Coconut milk is reduced with garlic and ginger and is thickened with cornstarch to make a luxuriously creamy sauce. The garlic and ginger infuse the sauce and give this gratin an incredible flavor. A touch of lime juice brightens everything up. It’s a vegan gratin, but nobody will know it.

Gluten free gratin

You can easily make this gratin gluten free by using gluten free panko breadcrumbs.

Vegan Swiss chard recipe

The gratin is baked until bubbly for a stunning side dish that’s perfect for special occasions (ahem, Thanksgiving, I see you!) and weeknights. I’ve even been known to eat it straight out of the baking dish with a spoon for lunch.

Can you make the gratin ahead?

Yes! The gratin can be assembled up to one day in advance without the breadcrumbs. Bring it to room temperature and add the breadcrumbs before baking.

How to make a chard gratin:

  • Blanch two chopped bunches of Swiss chard in a large pot of boiling water until they’re wilted and tender.
  • Drain the chard and rinse it in cold water. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Finely chop the chard.
Swiss chard leaves on a marble surface.
Process shot showing how to finely chop blanched Swiss chard leaves and stems.
  • Make a coconut cream sauce by reducing full-fat coconut milk with grated garlic and ginger. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch.
  • Stir the chard into the creamy sauce and squeeze in fresh lime juice (which will brighten all the flavors). Spread the mixture into a greased baking dish.
Process shot showing a hand sprinkling breadcrumbs over the chard gratin.
  • Mix panko breadcrumbs with olive oil, then sprinkle them over the top of the gratin.
  • Bake the gratin until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown and crisp.
The baked Swiss chard gratin on a marble surface.

FAQ

What kind of Swiss chard should I use in a gratin?

You can use any Swiss chard variety in this gratin, such as green chard and/or rainbow chard. Take note that red chard (which has red stems) will darken the cream sauce slightly (but it will still taste delicious!).

Can you eat Swiss chard stems?

Yes! Swiss chard stems are much more tender than other leafy green stems and can be cooked right along with the leaves. They give this gratin a lovely texture.

What are some other recipes with chard?

You can use Swiss chard in stir-fries, pastas, soups, frittatas and even tacos. I love to sauté it with olive oil and garlic and serve it alongside this red lentil dal or these juicy grilled pork chops.

Close up of a spoon scooping a serving of the vegan gratin.

Tips for making this healthy gratin:

  • The gratin is bound with coconut milk, which gets thickened using cornstarch. Cornstarch should never be whisked directly into hot liquid, as it will clump up. Instead, whisk the cornstarch into some reserved room temperature coconut milk (this is called making a slurry), then slowly add the slurry to the simmering coconut milk mixture.
  • Use full-fat coconut milk in this recipe (not light), which will provide the best texture.
  • It will seem like a lot of Swiss chard, but it cooks down considerably once boiled (by the way, the stems are completely edible, so add them!). It’s important to squeeze the liquid out of the Swiss chard before adding it to the thickened coconut milk to prevent the gratin from turning watery. I simply ball it up in my hands and squeeze it over the sink.
  • The ginger and garlic are a great match for the hardy greens, and they infuse the gratin with a wonderful aroma. A microplane is your best tool for grating them into the coconut milk.
  • A touch of lime juice at the end brightens up all the flavors. I couldn’t live without my lemon/lime squeezer!
  • You will need a 1-quart gratin or baking dish (or you could use individual-sized ramekins or dishes). I love this Le Creuset dish, which I use for all kinds of vegetable dishes. While the gratin is fairly small, it’s rich enough to feed six.
  • You can use regular or gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (which are now widely available) for the topping.

More side dishes for Thanksgiving and the holidays:

Don’t for get dessert!

Get the recipe!

Swiss Chard Gratin (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

This creamy Swiss chard gratin is made with coconut milk, garlic and ginger for soul-satisfying yet healthy side dish that has converted even the staunchest of chard critics! Instead of fussing with a bechamel sauce, coconut milk gets simmered with garlic and ginger until fragrant, and is then thickened with cornstarch. The sauce binds together a tangle of Swiss chard (it will seem like a lot of chard, but it cooks down considerably). The gratin gets topped with crispy breadcrumbs (regular or gluten-free) and is baked until bubbly. A touch of lime juice brightens the flavors. You will need a 1-quart sized baking dish for this recipe (it can also be baked in individual ramekins or dishes).
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Swiss chard gratin, Swiss chard recipes, vegan gratin
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (not lowfat), stirred
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Sea salt
  • 2 bunches (1.5-2 pounds) Swiss chard, leaves and stems coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ lime
  • 1/3 cup regular or gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • In the meantime, put 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk in a small bowl and add the cornstarch. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. Pour the rest of the coconut milk into a medium saucepan. Add the grated garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Give the cornstarch coconut mixture another stir, then whisk it into the simmering coconut milk. Bring back to a simmer and cook, whisking, 2-4 minutes, or until thick and rich. Season with sea salt.
  • Once the water reaches a boil, season it generously with salt. Add the Swiss chard and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Using your hands, squeeze the water out of the chard. Finely chop the chard and add it to the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Squeeze in the juice from a quarter of a lime, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 1-quart gratin or baking dish. (See the do-ahead tip in the notes below.)
  • In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil and toss with your fingers until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top of the gratin.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes, or until bubbling and light golden on top. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes

Do Ahead: Once the chard mixture is transferred to the baking dish (before adding the breadcrumbs), the gratin can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Tips:
  • Use full-fat coconut milk in this recipe (not light), which will provide the best texture.
  • It will seem like a lot of Swiss chard, but it cooks down considerably once boiled (by the way, the stems are completely edible, so add them!). It’s important to squeeze the liquid out of the Swiss chard before adding it to the thickened coconut milk to prevent the gratin from turning watery. I simply ball it up in my hands and squeeze it over the sink.
  • The ginger and garlic are a great match for the hardy greens, and they infuse the gratin with a wonderful aroma. A microplane is your best tool for grating them into the coconut milk.
  • A touch of lime juice at the end brightens up all the flavors. I couldn’t live without my lemon/lime squeezer!
  • You will need a 1-quart gratin or baking dish (or you could use individual-sized ramekins or dishes). I love this Le Creuset dish, which I use for all kinds of vegetable dishes. While the gratin is fairly small, it’s rich enough to feed six.
  • You can use regular or gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (which are now widely available) for the topping.

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