Swiss Chard and Rosemary Pesto Pasta

Swiss chard rosemary pesto pasta
Photo Credit: Leah Johnson

June 15, 2017

Also known as plain ol’ chard, swiss chard is a member of that all-important leafy greens family of vegetables, so any way to get more of it into your diet is a good thing. This recipe is a little sneaky in that regard- it uses chard leaves as you would basil in a traditional pesto, such that you’d hardly even know you’re eating healthy. Should you have any left overs, use the pesto draped over veggies, grains, meats, chicken, or fish- it’s particularly great with salmon or on a portobello mushroom burger. This recipe is from The Clean Plates Cookbook ($17; Running Press) by Jared Koch with Jill Silverman Hough.

Swiss Chard and Rosemary Pesto Pasta

  • Serves: 8
  • Total Time:20 minutes
  • Active Time:20 minutes
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  • 4 ounces/115 g chard, ribs removed
  • 3/4 cup/105 g pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup/40 g grated Parmesan cheese, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup/7 g packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup/160 mL extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt to taste, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 11/4 pounds/565 g pasta (brown rice, whole wheat, or your favorite variety)


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chard, pine nuts, cheese, parsley, rosemary, and garlic and process until finely chopped, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, well-salted water (11/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt per quart/950 mL), cook the pasta until al dente.
  3. Drain, saving 1/2 cup/120 mL of the cooking water, and return the pasta to the pot.
  4. Add the pesto and 1/4 cup/60mL of the cooking water, tossing to combine. Add more cooking water, salt, and pepper to taste and serve, passing additional cheese at the table.