Table of contents
- Follow-along with me!
- Swiss chard banana bread
- Chocolate coconut Swiss chard chips
- Swiss chard tahini dip
- To sum it all up
Are you wondering how to get your toddler to eat leafy greens? Or perhaps Swiss chard in particular?
A few weeks ago, I told you about the overabundance of kale I had in my first homegrown garden and shared my favorite kale recipes for kids.
Well, if you were particularly observant, you may have noticed from the quick glimpse of my garden that I shared in that video, that I also have an overabundance of Swiss chard!
When I planned what to grow in my first ever garden, the nutrition nerd in me took over, and I planted much more leafy greens that I perhaps really needed to. I’m not complaining about this too much, since I now have an extra motivation to use these greens in recipes.
And as a result, my family has never eaten more leafy greens than this year!
But just as is the case with kale, Swiss chard isn’t typically the vegetable that kids are most crazy about. Hence, the need to get particularly creative when cooking with it.
In this article, you’ll find three toddler-approved, super simple Swiss chard recipes that have been a hit in my family. I consider them awesome gateway recipes to getting your toddler to love eating leafy greens.
Follow-along with me!
As per usual, if you want to watch me make (and blab about) these recipes in real-time, feel free to do so by clicking on the video above. You can find the written version of the recipes down below.
Swiss chard banana bread
I’m not a fan of “hiding” leafy greens in recipes because I don’t believe it’s an effective long-term way to reduce picky eating. That’s not to say that I don’t incorporate nutrient-rich foods into recipes I know my children typically enjoy.
I simply make sure to make it known that these foods are part of the ingredients and include my little ones in the preparation process as much as possible. This banana bread, slighly adapted from the Simple Veganista, is a perfect example of this.
My daughter helped me make it, and definitely knew there was Swiss chard in it. Nonetheless, she enjoyed the final product thoroughly. The sweetness of the bananas were perfect at masking the slightly bitter-tasting nature of the Swiss chard, and the tinge of green gave this banana bread an interesting appearance.
- 1 ¾ cups (210 grams) spelt flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon (7.5 grams) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (2.5 grams) – or replace with 2 tsp (10 grams) baking powder if not using baking powder)
- 1 tsp (2.6 grams) cinnamon
- ⅔ cup (78 grams) of chopped walnuts
- Pinch of salt
- ± 400 grams of overipe bananas (about 3 large bananas or 4 small ones)
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, de-stemmed (about 6 leaves), pureed
- ⅓-¾ cup (58-130 grams) finely chopped dates (depending on your desired level of sweetness)
- ⅓ cup (75 grams) oil (or unsweetened applesauce)
- 1 tsp (5 grams) vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60 grams) of plant milk (use only if needed)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celcius).
- Combine all of your dry ingredients together and mix well.
- Blend all your wet ingredients together and mix into the dry ingredients only until just incorporated, making sure not to overmix. Add plant milk only if your mixture seems overly thick or isn’t incorporating well. Otherwise, skip this ingredient.
- Pour your batter into a greased loaf mould (or one that’s lined with baking paper).
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle of your banana bread and it comes out clean.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes, before slicing and serving.
Keep it covered on the counter for up to three days or up to one week if refrigerated. You can also make it in advance and freeze in pre-sliced pieces to keep for up to 2 months.
This one makes a great breakfast or snack. I served mine with a side of fruit, a sprinkle of ground chia seeds and a serving of plant-based yoghurt or milk. I’d top it with a nut spread for a slightly heartier breakfast.
Chocolate coconut Swiss chard chips
My daughter absolutely raved about the kale chips I made a few weeks ago. She ate them up like candy! So I figured leafy green chips would be a pretty sure way to get her to equally enjoy eating Swiss chard.
This recipe was adapted from one found in a book titled Fou de Légumes Verts, by Jessica Nadel, which was gifted to me a few years ago by a dear friend.
My fellow french-Canadians can probably find the french version I have in a bookstore near them, while the rest can get their hands on the english version titled Greens 24-7. While you’re at it, discover the rest of her yummy recipes on her blog Cupcakes and Kale!
1 bunch (about 6 leaves) of Swiss chard
- 3 tbsp (44 grams) coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp (5 grams) vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp (15 grams) maple syrup
- 2 tbsp (16 grams) cacao powder
- 2 pinches dried chili flakes (adjust based on desired level of spiciness)
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tbsp (15 grams) chia seeds, ground
- 2 tbsp (10 grams) grated coconut, unsweetened
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).
- Wash Swiss chard, de-stem and roughly break into chip-sized pieces using your hands.
- Thoroughly dry leaves using a kitchen towel or salad spinner.
- Mix dressing together and add Swiss chard pieces, making sure to coat both sides of each piece really well.
- Spread chips flat on a baking-paper lined baking sheet, making sure not to overlap the pieces.
- Sprinkle with toppings and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until chips are crispy.
- Let cool and serve immediately.
This recipe will keep well in a paper bag or closed jar on your counter for a few days. If the chips lose some of their crispiness, they can simply be placed back in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they become crips again.
Swiss chard tahini dip
I love dips because of their versatility. You can spread this one over whole grain crackers, use it in sandwiches, or serve it as a dip, next to cut raw veggies or fruit. I think it would also be delicious as a pesto-like pasta sauce, both in a warm dish, or a pasta salad.
- 1 bunch (about 6 leaves) of Swiss chard, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- ⅔ cup (150 grams) extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup (120 grams) tahini
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2-4 tbsp (30-60 grams) of fresh lemon juice (adjust based on desired level of lemony bitterness)
- ¼ cup (40 grams) hempseeds (alternatively, can be substituted with ground flaxeeds or chia seeds)
- Water, as needed, to thin
- Salt, to taste (optional)
- Chopped dates, to taste (optional)
- Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth.
Make sure to taste this dip before serving, in order to adjust the flavors accordingly. I personally added around 4 dates, and a pinch of salt to mask some of the natural bitterness of the Swiss chard.
Sautéing the Swiss chard first will also work well to remove some of its bitterness.
If you decide to add this additional step, feel free to use the stems as well by cooking them first for around 5 minutes. Then, add the rest of the leaves and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until slightly wilted. In the last minute, add your garlic in order to slightly sauté it too.
Then, mix the sautéed Swiss chard and garlic with the rest of the ingredients and blend together until smooth. This dip will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.
To sum it all up
I realize that leafy greens like Swiss chard are most typically added to salads, curries, stews or soups. That said, my preschooler is just starting to warm up to the texture of leafy vegetables and doesn’t typically like eating large amounts of them in this way.
My baby is currently at the stage in life where he’d accept eating pretty much anything. However, texture-wise, leafy greens in their natural form are still a bit challenging for him to eat.
That’s why I find the recipes I’ve chosen to share above so helpful for little ones.
If you decide to give any of these recipes a try, let me know how you (and your child) have found them in the comments below. And if you have any requests on how to incorporate a specific nutrient-rich plant food into your family’s diet, feel free to leave your suggestion below so I can incorporate it into future content!