Chard is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. In some, the leaf stalks are large and are often prepared separately from the leaf blade. The leaf blade can be green or reddish in colour;  the leaf stalks also vary in colour, usually white, yellow, or red. Chard has been bred to have highly nutritious leaves and is considered to be one of the most healthful vegetables available, making it a popular addition to healthy diets (like other green leafy vegetables).  Chard has been around for centuries, but because of its similarity to beets and some other vegetables such as cardoon, the common names used by cooks over the centuries can be quite confusing.

The word "Swiss" was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalogue publishers. Chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks. The first varieties have been traced back to Sicily.

Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sauteed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavour which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach.