Vegetarian Dish

Swiss Chard Gratin (Vegan & Gluten-Free!)

Vegetarian Swiss Chard Main Dish is a hearty, healthy, and delicious dish that's sure to please any vegetarian or meat-eater. It's also very easy to make.

This Swiss chard gratin is fragrant with garlic and ginger, with a creamy texture and crispy breadcrumb topping. The dish has converted many chard-phobics (i.e. those who are suspicious of Swiss chard) into chard-LOVERS (even my kids love this gratin)! It’s soul-satisfying yet healthy, and since it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, it will please all the eaters at your table.

Close up of a spoonful of vegan Swiss chard gratin.

Easy Swiss chard gratin recipe

Best of all, it’s the easiest gratin you’ll ever assemble! Instead of fussing with a béchamel sauce, this recipe uses thickened coconut milk instead.

Vegan Swiss chard gratin

Coconut milk is reduced with garlic and ginger and is thickened with cornstarch to make a luxuriously creamy sauce. The garlic and ginger infuse the sauce and give this gratin an incredible flavor. A touch of lime juice brightens everything up. It’s a vegan gratin, but nobody will know it.

Gluten free gratin

You can easily make this gratin gluten free by using gluten free panko breadcrumbs.

Vegan Swiss chard recipe

The gratin is baked until bubbly for a stunning side dish that’s perfect for special occasions (ahem, Thanksgiving, I see you!) and weeknights. I’ve even been known to eat it straight out of the baking dish with a spoon for lunch.

Can you make the gratin ahead?

Yes! The gratin can be assembled up to one day in advance without the breadcrumbs. Bring it to room temperature and add the breadcrumbs before baking.

How to make a chard gratin:

  • Blanch two chopped bunches of Swiss chard in a large pot of boiling water until they’re wilted and tender.
  • Drain the chard and rinse it in cold water. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Finely chop the chard.
Swiss chard leaves on a marble surface.
Process shot showing how to finely chop blanched Swiss chard leaves and stems.
  • Make a coconut cream sauce by reducing full-fat coconut milk with grated garlic and ginger. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch.
  • Stir the chard into the creamy sauce and squeeze in fresh lime juice (which will brighten all the flavors). Spread the mixture into a greased baking dish.
Process shot showing a hand sprinkling breadcrumbs over the chard gratin.
  • Mix panko breadcrumbs with olive oil, then sprinkle them over the top of the gratin.
  • Bake the gratin until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown and crisp.
The baked Swiss chard gratin on a marble surface.


Close up of a spoon scooping a serving of the vegan gratin.

Tips for making this healthy gratin:

  • The gratin is bound with coconut milk, which gets thickened using cornstarch. Cornstarch should never be whisked directly into hot liquid, as it will clump up. Instead, whisk the cornstarch into some reserved room temperature coconut milk (this is called making a slurry), then slowly add the slurry to the simmering coconut milk mixture.
  • Use full-fat coconut milk in this recipe (not light), which will provide the best texture.
  • It will seem like a lot of Swiss chard, but it cooks down considerably once boiled (by the way, the stems are completely edible, so add them!). It’s important to squeeze the liquid out of the Swiss chard before adding it to the thickened coconut milk to prevent the gratin from turning watery. I simply ball it up in my hands and squeeze it over the sink.
  • The ginger and garlic are a great match for the hardy greens, and they infuse the gratin with a wonderful aroma. A microplane is your best tool for grating them into the coconut milk.
  • A touch of lime juice at the end brightens up all the flavors. I couldn’t live without my lemon/lime squeezer!
  • You will need a 1-quart gratin or baking dish (or you could use individual-sized ramekins or dishes). I love this Le Creuset dish, which I use for all kinds of vegetable dishes. While the gratin is fairly small, it’s rich enough to feed six.
  • You can use regular or gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (which are now widely available) for the topping.

More side dishes for Thanksgiving and the holidays:

  • Sweet Potato Souffle
  • Foolproof Creamy Mashed Potatoes
  • Roasted Squash Salad
  • Maple Dijon Roasted Delicata Squash
  • Quinoa & Apple Stuffed Honeynut Squashes
  • Gluten Free Recipes for Thanksgiving

Don’t for get dessert!

  • Crustless Pumpkin Pie Custards
  • Pumpkin Pound Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze
  • Cinnamon Vanilla Apple Galette
  • Pear and Ginger Crumble
  • Easy Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Get the recipe!

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