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Swiss Chard Salad with Garlicky Yogurt

This Cypriot salad, which is traditionally served as part of a meze along with a glass of anise-flavored raki, is particularly refreshing. Instead of blanching the Swiss chard in boiling water, Musa Dagdeviren rubs salt into the leaves and then wilts them in a warm skillet, thus retaining all the vibrant color and flavor.

slideshow Delicious, Quick Side Dishes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 pounds Swiss chard, leaves only, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Roast the red bell pepper directly over a gas flame or under a preheated broiler, turning as needed, until charred all over. Transfer the pepper to a bowl, cover and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel and seed the pepper, then cut it into 1/4-inch dice.
  2. Put the Swiss chard in a large colander set in the sink. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt over the chard and rub it into the leaves with your fingers. Let stand for 1 minute, then rinse the chard and squeeze dry.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 of the minced garlic cloves and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the roasted red pepper and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a platter and spread them in an even layer. Let cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt with the tahini, lemon juice and the remaining 3 minced garlic cloves. Season with salt. Spoon the yogurt sauce over the cooled Swiss chard.
  5. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat until the pepper begins to sizzle, about 10 seconds. Pour the pepper oil over the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate the Swiss chard and yogurt sauce separately.

Serve With

Warm pita bread or lavash.

Contributed By Photo © Frances Janisch Published July 2004

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