Dishing Up the Dirt

Swiss Chard Pesto Pasta With White Beans & Almonds

The swiss chard at the farm is bigger and more beautiful than ever before! We planted it where the chickens were last year and I think all that chicken poop really made all the difference in how healthy the chard is. This simple summer pasta dish uses the chard leaves as the main ingredient in the pesto and makes for a unique and flavorful sauce. The pasta is bulked up with some white beans and a few toasted almonds and is a lovely vegetarian main course. Serve this dish with a simple side salad, a glass of your favorite summer wine and you’re all set!

Cheers to the harvest!

Swiss Chard Pesto Pasta with White Beans & Almonds

Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: 15 minutes    Serves: 4

  • 2 cups packed chard leaves (reserve stems for another use)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds (I just toast them in a small dry skillet over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan often)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • pinch of ground nutmeg (this is a lovely touch)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces pasta of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups cups cooked cannellini beans (if from the can rinsed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the pesto by blanching the chard leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from boiling water and place in a bowl of ice water. Drain by squeezing the leaves in a ball in a clean kitchen cloth. Reserve the water (and add a little more if needed) for the pasta.
  2. Add the blanched chard to the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic, almonds, cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and nutmeg. Process until the mixture starts to mix together. With the motor running add the olive oil and continue to process until completely smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Taste test and adjust as needed.
  3. Bring the chard water back up to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  4. Add the pasta to a big bowl. Stir in the pesto (if the pasta seems dry add a little of the reserved cooking liquid). Add the beans, chopped almonds, parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.


*Use this recipe as a guide *Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Cooking times will vary from kitchen to kitchen *Always taste test as you go and make adjustments where you see needed

Leave a Reply

7 thoughts on “Swiss Chard Pesto Pasta With White Beans & Almonds

  1. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says:

    Love how you bulked it up with beans and almonds. A great way to have a filling, vegetarian meal!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. tasha says:

    Just made this tonight and perfect for a summer evening! Delicious and made plenty of pesto for another meal. I did notice that garlic wasn’t mentioned in the instructions so I just added to processor. Hope that was right. 😉

    1. Andrea says:

      So glad you loved this! Thanks for the catch on the instructions. Fixed! xo

  3. Sarah Pulvere says:

    Hi, quick question. The ingredients list says to remove & keep chard stems for an alternative use but the recipe says to use them for the pesto. Is this a misprint & we use the chard LEAVES? Or am I reading it wrong?

    1. Andrea says:

      good catch! Yep, it’s the chard leaves that make the pesto. Happy cooking!

  4. Randi Hansen says:

    I assume the pesto will freeze well?

  5. Audrey says:

    Great recipe! Didn’t blanch just used straight out of garden. Didn’t have parmesan cheese so I used Gruyere. Had a Myers lemon, used that and a little extra garlic, Yum! Note: Swiss Chard is naturally high in salt so I never add any. Cheese is usually all the salt I add.
    Thanks for the recipe!

Sign up

Fresh recipies delivered to your inbox!