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Lemon swiss chard pasta served on a blue plate with lemon and pepper peeking in

Lemon Swiss Chard Pasta

A quick and easy vegetarian weeknight pasta made with lemon, garlic, and Swiss chard. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make. Capers and green olives give the sauce just the right balance of flavor and acidity. Can be made vegan or gluten-free with a couple simple swaps.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4


  • 10 oz linguine (gluten-free if needed)
  • cup pitted green olives (see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons capers + 1 teaspoon brine (from jar)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (about ¼ cup juice)
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped (see note 2)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or more olive oil)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan (more for garnish, see note 3)
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Black pepper (to taste)


  • Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain noodles.
    10 oz linguine
  • Mix olives and capers: Meanwhile, to a food processor, add the olives, capers and brine, lemon juice and zest. Pulse until a rough paste forms, scraping down the sides as needed.
    ⅓ cup pitted green olives, 2 tablespoons capers + [adjustable]1[/adjustable] teaspoon brine, 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Cook sauce: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, until very soft and golden brown on the edges, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the Swiss chard and cook until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
    1 large yellow onion, diced, 5 cloves garlic, minced, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped, ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Combine: Add pasta, salt, the olive and caper mixture, butter, and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to coat noodles. Sprinkle with grated cheese, toss to mix. Slowly drizzle in as much of the remaining ½ cup of the reserved pasta water needed so the noodles are evenly coated with sauce. Taste and season with pepper (and more salt if needed). Sprinkle with parsley. Garnish with more cheese, if using.
    1 tablespoon butter, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, ½ cup grated Parmesan, ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, Black pepper


  1. Green olives: Such as Cerignola. We recommend buying whole olives (with pits intact), and pitting them yourself at home. Whole, unpitted olives tend to have better flavor and texture. To pit olives at home: Use the flat end of your knife to gently squash whole olives on a cutting board. The olive will split, and you can pull out the pit with your fingers. Measure ⅓ cup of olives after pitting. That said, if you bought pitted olives, those will work too! Use your favorite green olive (we love Cerignola here).
  2. Swiss chard: Can be green, rainbow, or red Swiss chard. The stalks take longer to cook than the leaves, so slice the stalks smaller than the leaves so they cook quickly.
  3. Parmesan cheese: Imported Parmesan cheese typically contains animal-based rennet. If you wish to avoid this, look for cheese labelled as "vegetarian friendly" or lists "microbial enzymes" as an ingredient (instead of rennet). Asiago cheese is also a good alternative. For a vegan option, use a vegan shredded Parmesan substitute or skip entirely and add more salt (to taste).


Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 964mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 5192IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 228mg | Iron: 3mg