Swiss Chard Stems with Tahini

I am quite excited by this swiss chard stem dish.  The recipe is from “Moro, The Cookbook” by Sam & Sam Clark.  I eat a lot of swiss chard.  In the winter the stems are a little bit intense so I like to cook them separately from the greens and beat them into submission with more intense flavouring.  This one is much simpler than any of the other uses for swiss chard stems that I have posted (swiss chard stem pasta with goat cheese and oreganoswiss chard stem gratinswiss chard stem empanadas with roasted peppers and green olivesswiss chard stem feta Phylo triangles).

I served these swiss chard stems at a dinner party along with an appetizer made from oranges, fennel and minced fresh mint as a first course.  I was pleased with the orange, fennel, mint appetizer also.  It was only those three ingredients.  I had intended to add more stuff to it, but then just those three things together were so good!  For dinner we had chicken baked with hazelnut, saffron and honey (from the Ottolenghi cookbook), swiss chard greens and za’tar roasted new potatoes.  For desert we had blood orange marmalade with almonds and rosewater.  We also made cheap thrill sangria.


  • 1 pound swiss chard stems
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • sea salt
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional, see note) or black sesame seeds
  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the stems to the boiling water.  Let the water come to a boil again and cook the stems for 30 more seconds.  Remove the stems and shock them in cold water.
  3. Crush the garlic and salt into a paste using a mortar and pestle.  
  4. Combine the garlic with the tahini, lemon juice and enough water to make the sauce the consistency of heavy cream.
  5. Cut the stems into matchsticks and toss them with the sauce.
  6. Garnish with black seeds

Note:  Nigella seeds are also known as Kalonji or black onion seed.   They are not the same as black cumin (kala jeera).  All of that said, I am not convinced that they add much to the flavour of this dish (maybe the batch that I have is not fresh and they have lost their flavour?).  Black sesame seeds are easier  to find and would have the same visual effect.

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