Healthy Recipe: Rainbow Chard Gratin with Whole-Wheat Breadcrumbs

Recipe by Becky Duffett | Photo by Erin Kunkel

You don’t need heavy cream or an avalanche of cheese to give your greens the luxury treatment. Start with colorful rainbow or ruby chard leaves, use low-fat milk to make the béchamel, and sprinkle lightly with whole-wheat breadcrumbs and Parmesan. The results are just as saucy and delicious, with that golden crust. Pair it with a lean protein, like halibut or another firm white fish.


2 bunches rainbow or ruby chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter
¼ cup (1½ oz/45 g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) low-fat milk, warmed
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup (1 oz/30 g) whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish. Separate the chard ribs from the leaves, roughly chop the ribs, and slice the leaves into wide ribbons.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and chard ribs and sauté until softened, 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the chard leaves and cook down just until wilted, 3 minutes longer. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared pan.

Return the sauté pan to medium heat, and melt the butter. Sprinkle with the flour and stir until toasty, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking constantly, and continue to whisk until thickened, 10 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the chard and onions, stirring gently to incorporate and spread evenly into the pan. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and cheese and grind with pepper. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the edges are bubbling and the breadcrumbs are golden, about 20 minutes.

Let the gratin rest for a few minutes, before spooning onto plates and serving warm.

Makes 8 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories 170
Protein 6 g
Total fat 11 g
Saturated fat 5 g
Carbs 15 g
Fiber 2 g
Total sugars 5 g
Added sugars 0 g
Sodium 260 mg

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