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Close up of a spoon scooping up a serving of Swiss chard gratin.
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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
  • 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.