how to make creamed leafy greens | kelly’s kitchen

Hello and welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen! It’s wonderful you’re here. A couple weeks ago I talked about our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from Collective Harvest, our local Athens CSA. Well, today I wanted to highlight a couple of the amazing things we got this week: rainbow chard and a variety of beautiful mushrooms (Oyster, Lion’s Mane and Combstooth).

Brisket Smoke-Off Winner

But first, you might recall last Saturday my husband, Alex and my Mom had a long-distance brisket smoke-off…well, the winner was my Mom’s brisket! Even though we were not there to taste the result of her labors, the photo she sent said it all. Just look at that pink smoke ring! 

Alex’s brisket was delicious in its own right, however it stalled at a low temperature for too long and ended up getting more done than he would have liked. But he’s a trooper and is already planning his next brisket, while I have plans for his “overdone” leftovers!

It was really fun to chat and text with my mom throughout the day about the progress of the cook and next steps in the smoking process. If you were to do something like a brisket for Mother’s Day, this creamed chard would be a perfect accompaniment. 

So, let’s get to the recipe for creamed leafy greens. 

Polygranite Cutting Board | OXO Mini Measuring Cup | Boos Block

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees for toasting your breadcrumbs. The lemony breadcrumbs are a delicious component in this recipe, both in flavor and texture. But if you don’t have any bread to use, you could leave them out. I am using a few pieces of stale rye bread; you know the end pieces that always get left for last, they make perfect bread crumbs or croutons. When you make croutons or breadcrumbs, be sure to tear the bread into the bite size pieces, rather than cutting them with a knife. The rough, ragged, torn edges of the bread chunks get crispy with lots of crannies that soak up the olive oil and spices to really amp up the texture and flavor (plus, it looks really professional!).

Step 2: Toss your breadcrumbs in a few tablespoons of olive oil and about a teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest (add more to taste, if you like). I made about 2 cups of breadcrumbs and saved the leftovers to use for salads throughout the week, but the recipe calls for ½ cup breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. 

Sheet Pan | Microplane

Step 3: Season with salt to taste and bake your breadcrumbs, tossing once at the halfway point, for about 8 minutes total, until golden.

Step 4: Set a large pot of salted water on to boil. Prepping your chard entails separating the stem and thick part of the rib from the leafy part. 

Step 5: Cook the chard leaves in the boiling water for about 1 minute, drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Once cool, drain and squeeze out excess moisture in a clean dish towel.

Step 6: Heat 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and chard ribs and stems. Add mushrooms (if using). Season with salt and pepper, stir often for about 5-8 minutes, until the stems are tender and the mushrooms have cooked off most of their liquid. 

Cast Iron Skillet | Acacia Wooden Turner

Step 7: Add ¾ cup heavy cream and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer stirring often until thickened, about 10 minutes. The mushrooms add moisture to the mixture so the thickening will take longer than if you aren’t using them. If you aren’t adding mushrooms, it should only take about 5 minutes. 

Step 8: Add chard leaves and cook, stirring to warm the chard leaves and coat them with the cream mixture. Season with more salt and pepper.

Step 9: Top with breadcrumbs just before serving. 

Cloth Napkin | Similar Rimmed Plate

5 from 2 votes

Creamed Swiss Chard with Lemony Breadcrumbs

Course Brunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 4 people
Author Bon Appétit


  • 1/2 cup Torn Fresh Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Finely Grated Lemon Zest
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 Large Bunches Swiss Chard - Ribs and stems cut into 2" pieces, leaves torn into 2" pieces or whatever leafy green you like
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Medium Shallots, sliced
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Heavy Cream


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Toss breadcrumbs, oil, and lemon zest on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Toast, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, cook chard leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and squeeze well in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.

  3. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and chard ribs and stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5–8 minutes. Add cream; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add chard leaves and cook, stirring, until warmed through and coated with cream sauce; season with salt and pepper.

  4. Top Swiss chard with breadcrumbs just before serving.

Whenever Alex and I go (or, went!) to a steakhouse for a special occasion, we always get creamed spinach as a side dish – it’s Alex’s favorite and it’s a special treat. I have never made creamed leafy greens before and while this recipe isn’t a 1:1 for the steakhouse staple, I have to say that Alex approved! This, and variations of it, will definitely be in rotation on our menu at home.  

I do hope you give this recipe for creamed leafy greens a go: try it with any leafy greens you have (frozen spinach!), add in other veggies to suit your taste or toss in whatever you need to use up in the fridge. It’s a hearty side that can easily serve as a main dish. Let me know if you try it and what modifications you make to make it your own! Thanks for tuning in today, take care and be well. xo Kelly




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  1. Amy Partridge wrote:

    Hi Kelly…I so enjoy your Saturday posts! Good luck with the brisket – maybe a nice brisket hash? Stay safe & healthy & thank you for sharing!!

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Thank you so much, Amy! And, what a great idea for the leftover brisket! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  2. Cynthia G Smith wrote:

    5 stars
    I was so excited to see this post! I ordered through our CSA for the fist time and got chard, lion’s mane, shitake and trumpet mushrooms. Do you have any recipes that you can recommend for the mushrooms? I have never cooked with any of them and don’t want them to go to waste.


    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Hi Cindy, for sure! I needed to use up my mushrooms too, which is why I added them to this creamed greens recipe. Mushrooms add great umami flavor to just about everything; you can pretty much add them to any recipe and they will be great, in my opinion! But, another thing I like to do when I need to use them up and I don’t have anything in mind is slice them up, sauté them in butter with salt and pepper until they release all their liquid and get brown and toasty. Then just cover and refrigerate. If they’re about to go slimy on you, they will last a little longer in the fridge this way, and then i just use the cooked mushroom mixture almost like a topping in salads, soups, eggs, pasta….even on toast, anything really! You can dry them if you like, then use them in soups or to make a tasty mushroom broth. I have also found that they will last longer if you store them in a paper bag in the lowest humidity area of your fridge. Hope that gives you some good ideas! Thanks so much for reading, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  3. Julie Greene wrote:

    Hi Kelly,
    I love steakhouse creamed spinach too. My takeaway from this cooking lesson was the lemon croutons. Can’t wait to try them on a whole bunch of things!
    Thanks, Julie

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Hello Julie! Indeed, which is exactly why I made a double batch. They are great on salad, especially a caprese salad. I want to tear large chunks and do a panzanella salad, just so they can be the star of the show! Thanks for reading today’s column, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  4. Sangita M wrote:

    Kelly, I absolutely love this recipie!
    A pefect compliment to almost anything or even by itself. We had snow here last night in NJ (can you believe it?!) so this will be great with a roast tonight.
    Happy Mother’s Day to the moms in your life!

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Hi Sangita. I know, the snow storm is crazy! We got cold and rain here, in Athens yesterday. You will love this recipe, it’s so good! Thanks for tuning in today, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  5. Jan wrote:

    I will try this. Your recipes are so creative. Thank you.

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Hi Jan! Definitely do – you will love it, I am sure. Please let me know how it goes for you! Thank you so much for reading today. xo Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  6. Carroll Niesen wrote:

    This looks really beautiful and delicious!

    The mushroom varieties you used are new to me. Were they much different in taste and texture from the ordinary grocery store mushrooms?

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Hello Carroll, thank you so much! The oyster mushrooms have a nutty flavor and i find them to be slightly bitter, they kind of remind me of a walnut, in that sense. The lion’s mane mushroom is pillowy and has a meaty-ness to it, it kind of has a lobster flavor – slightly sweet. They’re pretty different from button or crimini mushrooms, but certainly you can swap in whatever mushrooms you can find, the earthy flavor of any mushroom would go well in this recipe. Thanks again! xo Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  7. Terry Ryan wrote:

    Good morning Kelly, I will be making this tomorrow. It will pair well with the smoked baby backs I’m fixing for Mother’s Day.

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Sounds great, Mom! I am sure you and grandma will love it! Love you, Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  8. RORY wrote:

    Yummmmmmm can’t wait to try it!

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Yay! Thank you, Rory. You will love it. Thanks for checking out today’s column. xo Kelly

      Posted 5.9.20 Reply
  9. Suzanne Smith wrote:

    5 stars
    Oh, this sounds and looks excellent. I love the notion of the croutons with the lemon zest. I can picture this with a little fresh-grated parmesan on top, too. I will definitely have to try this sometime. Thanks for the photos and descriptions. Yum.

    Posted 5.9.20 Reply
    • Hi Suzanne! Yes, fresh parm on top would be great! I think you will really like this dish. Thanks so much for stopping by, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.10.20 Reply
  10. Margaret Rose wrote:

    Growing Swiss chard now in my small garden. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks

    Posted 5.10.20 Reply
    • That’s wonderful Margaret! I am sure you will enjoy this recipe. Thank you for tuning in. Take care, xo Kelly

      Posted 5.10.20 Reply
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