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Sauteed Swiss Chard – Turkish Pazı Kavurma

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We’re back on the seasonal food train for this recipe – sauteed Swiss chard done the Turkish way: Pazı kavurma.

Spring leafy greens are in abundance. And, amongst other salad stuffs, herbs and vegetables, the local markets are currently brimming with Swiss chard.

Very reasonably priced Swiss chard at that! We can’t not buy it.

Stacks of fresh Swiss chard on a market stall
It’s Swiss chard – pazı – season

Whilst it looks so vibrant and lush when it’s all piled high on the stalls of Çalış Sunday market, it can also seem a bit intimidating as an ingredient.

A hefty-sized bunch of green leafy vegetables with crisp white stems.

What to do with them?

One cert of life in Turkey: If the market stalls are brimming with a particular vegetable, there are Turkish recipes out there to make use of that produce.

So, if you’ve been looking for Swiss chard recipes, this sauteed chard makes for a really easy side dish that goes well with so many other dishes.

A bowl of sauteed Swiss chard with peppers and onions
We love this Swiss chard recipe – pazı kavurma

And, as we’re cooking with a leafy green vegetable, we’re also going to end up with a really healthy side dish that can also be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans.

Chard Is A Superfood

And, if you’re looking to add more superfoods to your diet, a simple Swiss chard recipe like this can give you the boost you need.

Oodles of vitamins – Vitamins K and A in abundance – and lots of antioxidants.

We’re not nutritionists so we won’t go into all the fabulous Swiss chard benefits.

Obviously, there’s a whole rabbit hole of information you can go down when researching this for yourself.

Our 2-For-1 Swiss Chard Recipe

The great thing about chard is that you have a lovely contrast between leaf and stem.

You can use both chopped leaves and chopped stalks in your sauteed Swiss chard recipe, if you like.

But, we also have a great way to enjoy Swiss chard stems alongside our sauteed, dark green leaves.

When we have spinach recipes, we love to make use of the stems in a quick and tasty side dish of spinach stem salad.

With chard, it’s the same.

We have a simple recipe that really celebrates the stems, so we chop those off and keep them to one side.

Our Sauteed Swiss Chard Recipe Ingredients

But let’s concentrate on our pazı kavurma – Turkish sauteed chard – for now.

These are our main ingredients (For the full sauteed chard recipe with ingredients and method, see the recipe card below).

  • Roughly chopped chard leaves. Chard can have an earthy taste so give these large leaves a good wash and then dry them off in a salad spinner before chopping them.
  • Wash your chard stems and keep those to one side. We have an extra treat for those.
  • Sliced onion. A good Turkish kavurma dish most often makes use of onion. Some kavurma recipes have finely chopped onion but we prefer it thinly sliced.
  • Sweet red pepper. This is one of our additions. We love the sweetness against the slightly bitter taste of the chard. In Turkey, at this time of year, we can get large, long, red chillies that are hot but also sweet. These are perfect for both a bit of heat but also oodles of flavour.
  • Garlic. Because we can’t not have garlic. This will be crushed to release flavour and then thinly sliced. If you love loads of garlic, this dish is perfect for that!
  • A little olive oil for frying.
  • Spices – a pinch of red pepper flakes (pul biber) and sweet paprika. Heat and colour!
  • Nar ekşisi – pomegranate molasses. If you can’t get pomegranate molasses, you can use fresh lemon juice or a splash of balsamic vinegar.

How We Make Sauteed Swiss Chard – Pazı Kavuma

It’s all very easy.

First of all, we heat our olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add our onions and peppers.

Chopped leaves with onions and peppers frying in a pan
Your chard leaves will wilt down as they cook

After 4-5 minutes, it’s in with the chopped Swiss chard leaves and the garlic.

Chard leaves are similar to spinach leaves so don’t worry if they appear to be overtaking the pan.

They’ll soon wilt down and become a beautiful bright green colour.

In with our salça (tomato paste) and spices. Then we mix those around for 1-2 minutes until everything is coated and then we add a splash of water.

This is where we allow the chard mixture to slowly cook for a little longer, adding more water if needed.

You don’t want it to be runny, but you don’t want dry, either.

Serving Up Your Turkish-Style Sauteed Chard

And then that’s it. Time to serve!

A bowl of Turkish pazı kavurma
Our bowl of vibrantly coloured sauteed Swiss chard – pazı kavurma

Healthy, delicious and wonderfully colourful.

Turkish cuisine has a number of ways of using sauteed greens.

And why not? Pazı kavurma is such a simple sauteed Swiss chard recipe. But it is so tasty.

You can either enjoy it as a main meal with a serving of Turkish rice or bulgur pilaf.

Or, you can recreate a lokanta-style table and serve it as one of your vegetable side dishes along with your meat plates.

And if you know Turkish food, you’ll know there’s a distinct love of yoghurt in this country.

Sauteed chard topped with onions and red peppers and topped with yoghurt
Yoghurt is always a good idea

Of course, it’s common to serve your pazı kavurma with a big generous dollop of yoghurt on top.

And, of course, you could always use vegan yoghurt, if you are vegan.

Try it. It’s a winner!

What About Those Stems?

As we said, the chard stems can be chopped and cooked into your kavurma if you like.

For us, however, the stems of Swiss chard are too good for that.

Leave them intact and heat your frying pan with a bit of sunflower oil on a medium-high heat.

Simply saute them for a few minutes on each side until they soften and colour.

A plate of sauteed chard stems coloured with paprika and pomegranate molasses
Serve along with your sauteed chard leaves

Whilst they’re sizzling in the pan, sprinkle in some salt, pepper, chilli flakes and a splash of pomegranate molasses.

Another super quick, tasty side dish made from the same bunch of Swiss chard.

Sauteed Swiss Chard – FAQs

Is Swiss chard from Switzerland?

No. It apparently originates in Sicily. It’s thought the ‘Swiss’ adjective comes from the nationality of the botanist who first described it. That botanist was Swiss.

Is chard known by other names?

If you want to make our sauteed chard recipe – pazı kavurma – this leafy green vegetable has lots of other names to look out for.

As it is a member of the beet family, chard is also known as silver beet, beet spinach, seakale beet and beet spinach in the UK, for example.

Other names include Roman kale, Sicilian beet and leaf beet.

Are there different types of chard?

The chard (pazı) we buy on Çalış and Fethiye market has crisp white stems that contrast with the rich green of the leaves.

It appears that this is the Barese Swiss chard variety which is more delicate than the others.

Wherever you live, you could come across other types of chard with varying colours of the stems.

The different type of chard reaches into three figure numbers and you might see it for sale with smooth leaves and white stems (as in the type we have used in our recipe), crumpled leaves, red stems, yellow stems, leaves and stems with shades of magenta.

It’s a beautiful vegetable with equally beautiful variety names such as ‘Bright Lights,’ ‘Rhubarb Supreme’ and ‘Pink Lipstick.’

How long does sauteed Swiss chard keep in the fridge?

You can keep your sauteed Swiss chard in the fridge for 3 days in an airtight container.

Are there other Turkish chard recipes?

Because chard is similar to spinach, it is used in similar ways in Turkish cuisine.

With Turkish spinach and eggs (ıspanaklı yumurta), for example, you can substitute the spinach for chard.

When we have leftovers of of our sauteed Swiss chard recipe (pazı kavurma), we also like to scramble some egg into it to make a nutrition rich, chard-filled menemen (pazılı menemen).

As we said in the article above, it also goes well with bulgur and rice. And if you want to add some meat, chicken, minced beef and sucuk are all tasty additions.

Sauteed Swiss Chard Recipe – Turkish Pazı Kavurma

A bowl of sauteed Swiss chard called pazı kavurma in Turkish
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Sauteed Swiss Chard Recipe (Turkish Pazı Kavurma)

This Turkish sauteed Swiss chard is packed with nutrients, really easy to make and wonderfully tasty.
It can be enjoyed as a main dish with rice or bulgur, as a meze plate or as vegetable side dish.
Pazı kavurma is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Course Meze
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 210kcal
Author Turkey’s For Life

Equipment

  • 1 Frying pan
  • 1 Sharp knife
  • 1 Salad spinner

Ingredients

For The Sauteed Chard Leaves

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard leaves approximately 150 grams with stems removed
  • 2 medium onions peeled, quartered & thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded & finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, crushed & thinly sliced
  • 1 dessert spoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pul biber hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
  • salt & pepper to season

For The Chard Stems

  • 1 bunch chard stems approximately 150 grams
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dessert spoon sunflower oil for frying

Instructions

  • First of all, thoroughly wash your chard.
  • Now dry it off in a salad spinner, cut the stems from the leaves and place the stems to one side.

For The Sauteed Chard Leaves

  • Roughly chop your leaves.
  • Heat the olive oil in your frying pan on a medium heat.
  • Now add the sliced onions, garlic and peppers and stir around for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  • Add your chopped chard leaves to the pan and gently stir them around until they start to wilt and mix with the onions and peppers.
  • When the chard has wilted, add your tomato paste and mix it in to coat the contents of the pan.
  • Now add a good splash of water and stir in to allow the chard and other vegetables to cook through for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add your spices and seasoning.
  • Pour your sauteed Swiss chard contents into a bowl and leave to stand for 5 minutes or so.
  • When it has cooled a little or reached room temperature, drizzle your pomegranate molasses over the top and serve.

For The Chard Stems

  • Brush your frying pan with a little oil and heat on a medium-high heat.
  • Lay the stems in the pan saute for a couple of minutes on each side.
  • Drizzle pomegranate molasses (or lemon juice) and sprinkle red pepper flakes over them as they cook.
  • Remove from the heat and serve as a meze or side dish with your sauteed chard dish.

Notes

  • As with all of our recipes the calories for our sauteed Swiss chard recipe are approximate and meant as a guide only.  Calories are on a per person basis, based on one serving per person.
  • If you don’t want to separate your chard leaves and stems, you can chop up the stems and cook them into your kavurma dish. Add them with your onions and peppers. 
  • Serve your sauteed chard as a side dish to a main meal or as a meze plate. In Turkey, it is often enjoyed topped with natural yoghurt. 

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Recipe Rating




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Angela Higgins

Sunday 30th of April 2023

Thank you! We just made this with beet tops, can’t wait to try with paza. I also love making dolma with paza (easier to manage than yaprak).

Ps many thanks for all the travel tips in and around Fethiye! Excellent articles. We had a great time on our drive from Mersin to Bodrum because of your advice. Love reading your emails and following you guys on Insta.

Turkey's For Life

Monday 1st of May 2023

Hi Angela, thanks a lot for your comment and your 5 star rating. Much appreciated! :) Can imagine the sauteed Swiss chard would be just as lovely with beet tops! Thanks for following along and glad yoı had a great time on your road trip! :)

Patricia W. Tingley

Saturday 29th of April 2023

Another delicious connection cooking chard! Grow my own & enjoy eating it!

I use my homemade Tomato Preserve instead of the puree & splash of water. When the leaves get bigger & stems stronger, I will try them as a side dish.

Turkey's For Life

Monday 1st of May 2023

Hi Patricia, thanks a lot for your comment and your 5 star rating. Very much appreciated. :) Great that you grow your own. We live on a site and aren't good gardeners - but fortunately, love the market for shopping. :) We love chard season.

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