Swiss Chard with Indian Lime Pickle

August 2nd, 2010  |  Published in All, Chard, Veritable Vegetables, Weeknight Recipes  |  10 Comments

Poor chard.  People seem to get it in their CSA boxes week after week after week (after week).  This abundance (some might say excess) can cause a proclaimed chard lover to mutter, “chard… again…” and can lead even those with the deepest vegetable love to develop a mild disdain, an overwhelmed antipathy, or even an outright hatred towards chard!

I love chard but often find myself at a dead end when trying to come up with new ways to prepare the humble green after weeks, months, years of getting it my CSA boxes.  How many different ways are there to saute, braise, broil, bake, or cream a leafy green?  Sure, I’ll add a little spice, perhaps some candied ginger, an extra dollop of butter, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have exhausted all the possibilities.

This chard preparation, however, is REALLY different.  It’s not that often that I find a vegetable dish that tastes nothing like anything I’ve ever made before, and it’s even less frequent that I actually like (let alone love) that vegetable dish!  With the first bite of this, I knew I had stumbled on something different, and more importantly, something remarkably delicious.  Who’d have thought it would all be thanks to lime pickle?

Indian lime pickle is a very pungent, salty, mildly spicy, incredibly unique condiment made with mustard oil.  I first tasted it back in 2001 when I spent a few months living in Jaipur, India.  The first time I put Indian pickle in my mouth, I’m pretty sure I spit it out and puckered my face with disgust.  Ewww!  But somehow I’ve come to love the pungent condiment, and it’s my favorite part of any Indian dining experience (and the fennel/sugar palate cleanser at the end).

Since lime pickle is decidedly an acquired taste, I don’t really recommend you try this recipe unless you know you like Indian pickles.  The taste of the pickle in this dish is assertive and unmistakable.  Never tried lime pickle or can’t remember if you have?  Pick up a jar at an Indian grocery store, or ask for a side dish of pickle the next time you eat at an Indian restaurant.  If you get it in a restaurant, it’ll probably be mixed pickle (with mango, lime, carrots, and other vegetables), but the taste is 95% the same.  If it turns out you like pungent pickles as much as I do, then by all means, make this easy, unique chard dish and be excited that the world of leafy green vegetables is wider than you might have thought. :)

Swiss Chard with Indian Lime Pickle
Adapted from
Serves 2

1 1/2 T. Indian Lime Pickle
1-2T. olive oil
juice from half a lemon
1 t. salt
1 T. butter
1 shallot, minced
2 T. water
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and reserved for another use, chopped into bite size pieces

Finely mince the lime pickle.  Combine with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl and mix.  Set aside. Heat butter in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add shallot and saute until translucent.  Add chard and toss to coat with butter.  Add water, then cover pan to steam the chard, lifting the lid and stirring occasionally until the chard is wilted, about 3-4 minutes total.  Add the lime pickle mixture and stir to combine.  Cook an addition 30-40 seconds.  Serve atop brown rice or as a side dish for an Indian meal.  Enjoy!

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  1. Kelly says:

    August 3rd, 2010at 7:21 am(#)

    I love your posts Jen, I always learn something new. I had NO idea what Indian Lime Pickle was and now I do. That’s lovely that you lived in India as well. You’ve definitely had a very interesting string of places you’ve lived and I am incredibly jealous. I will admit I am not quite up with swiss chard. I FEEL like I should like it, but I’m just not there yet. Baby chard though I’ve found I do love. So much milder.

  2. Jason says:

    August 3rd, 2010at 9:01 am(#)


    Brilliant as usual. This I shall try.


  3. Jen says:

    August 3rd, 2010at 12:49 pm(#)

    Kelly – Thanks! your comments are always so thoughtful… and baby chard?! sounds great. I’m going to have to look for that at my farmer’s market…

    Jason – try you shall:) coming over before the concert on thursday?

  4. Denise | Chez Danisse says:

    August 3rd, 2010at 7:02 pm(#)

    Interesting. Now I have to try some Indian Lime Pickle. I have the feeling I’m going to be one of those people who like it. Thanks for a new chard idea.

  5. Jen says:

    August 3rd, 2010at 8:10 pm(#)

    Denise – give it at least two more tries if you don’t like it the first time. Its flavor is a bit shocking… Bombay Bazaar on Valencia b/t 16th & 17th is a good source for all sorts of Indian food (and ice cream!)

  6. The Crimson Rambler says:

    August 4th, 2010at 3:31 am(#)

    Ah, Swiss Chard. In my last parish I had a little old lady who lived with her reclusive middle-aged son (think Boo Radley, ‘kay?) — but he was a demon gardener. Every spring, apparently, he would ask his Mum, “does that preacher lady want chard again this summer?” and then he would grow it…WAIST HIGH, no lie, and every Thursday morning she would bring me a bag full. Two leaves made a complete supper. TWO! and never a particle of sand or dirt on any of it. Sigh.
    I like mine with a little sprinkle of nutmeg, personally…
    And thank you for this!!!

  7. Denise | Chez Danisse says:

    August 4th, 2010at 7:19 am(#)

    Haven’t been there in a while. I love their Falooda!

  8. kathryn says:

    August 7th, 2010at 3:08 am(#)

    Gorgeous, gorgeous idea. I have a jar of Indian lime pickle in my fridge, bought because I heard Michelle Cranston uses it “all the time”. And yet it sits there and sits there with me really not knowing how to use it, apart from as a sporadic and very hot accompaniment to Indian food of course. Love the idea of having it with chard and a good dose of citrus.

  9. Tresna says:

    August 7th, 2010at 3:24 am(#)

    This looks delicious! I never tire of chard (or silverbeet as we call it here in Australia)and happily eat it steamed with juts a little garlic, smoked paprika or soy sauce sprinkled on top. Thanks for the inspirational recipe – I’ll give it a crack!

  10. Jen says:

    August 7th, 2010at 10:18 am(#)

    The Crimson Rambler – lovely story! Though reclusive, it sounds like he was thinking about other people and giving in his own way :) now how did he manage to grow it waist high?

    Kathryn – perfect if you already have a jar! I made this again last night, but with beet greens instead of chard, and it was equally delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

    Tresna – thanks! smoked paprika is my secret spice, and I put it on all sorts of things. I haven’t tried it with chard though. I most certainly will now!

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