Croatian Chard with Potatoes & Garlic (Blitva)

Croatian Swiss Chard with Potatoes
It’s been a little while since I’ve shared a new recipe here.  I didn’t mean for it to be that way, it’s just that a switch flipped and, magically, summer began.  Suddenly, I was less interested in spending time in the kitchen and a whole lot more interested in digging up dirt and taking long walks.    

Now, of course, I’ve still had to eat but it’s mostly been a lot of mishmash salads and really simple dinners.  One of my recent favorite simple (and slightly extravagant) dinners was an evening spent on my patio, eating a giant T-bone and a big pot of garlicky Swiss chard and potatoes.  And don’t get me wrong, though the steak was certainly nothing to sneeze at, I think I was actually more upset when I finished my last strand of chard.

So let me give you a little background on this side dish–I certainly didn’t invent it and, quite honestly, I think a few years ago I would have thought it was an odd combination.  Around this time last year, I took a trip to Croatia and was first introduced to blitva, garlicky sautéed Swiss chard with potatoes.  I saw it on darned near every menu, ordered it a few times, and worked it into my repertoire once I got home. 

Dubrovnik Rooftops


Making blitva doesn’t require much–just a few potatoes, a big bunch of Swiss chard, a few cloves of garlic, and plenty of olive oil.  Peel, chunk, and boil the potatoes while you shred the chard and slice the garlic.

Put the sliced garlic and olive oil in a cold pot and place over medium heat, slowly extracting the garlic flavor before you add the boiled potatoes.  

Add the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, letting them become golden around the edges and soak up that garlicky goodness.  Now add the Swiss chard, season and toss, and let it wilt down for a couple of minutes.

Croatian Chard & Potatoes

Hit the jumble of greens and potatoes with freshly ground black pepper and it’s ready to serve.  One of the beauties of side like this is that it’s delicious served piping hot, even better at room temperature, and amazingly good stone-cold from the refrigerator late at night, should any of it actually make it off the dinner table.  

Croatian Swiss Chard & Potatoes

4.7 from 3 reviews
Croatian Chard & Potatoes (Blitva)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I love this dish as written but it's also good made with a mix of greens like spinach, cabbage, or kale.
Recipe type: Side, Vegetable
Cuisine: Croatian, Italian
Serves: 2-4
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 in. chunks
  • about ⅓ c. Olive Oil
  • about 5 plump cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 big bunch Swiss Chard, tough center stalk removed, greens cut into ½ in. wide strips
  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Combine olive oil and garlic in a large pot and place over medium-high heat. After about 2 minutes, the garlic should be soft (but not yet browned) and the oil should be very fragrant. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring a couple of times, until the potatoes start to turn golden around the edges, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add half of the Swiss chard, sprinkle with kosher salt, and toss with the potatoes. Add the remaining chard, season with salt, toss. Cook until the greens have wilted, 3-4 minutes. Taste. Season with additional salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.


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  1. says

    I’m with ya on digging in the dirt and taking long walks. It seems the only time I get to “blogging” is on a rainy day when we are forced inside (not for very long though, because walks in the woods after rain is fun). I have just been noticing my chard getting bigger in the garden. It is such a wonderful vegetable that I definitely don’t use enough. This recipe sounds like the perfect side dish that gets starch and veggies done together. Since my husband is normally in charge of grilling the meat in the summer the side dish is left for me and I know what I’ll be making next.

    • says

      Yup, it’s hard to want to pull out the camera and computer now that it’s finally spring/summer (they’re pretty indistinguishable from each other in these parts!). Hope you and your family enjoy the chard and potatoes!

  2. June says

    Just made this tasty dish..I had a hard time keeping the garlic from browning..the browning didn’t hurt the dish at all. I also added a handful of raisins…touch of sweet was nice.

  3. says

    Good recipe, very simple and healthy. It gives me an idea of what to do with my backyard potatoes and swiss chard when they come around. I planted a lot of chard this year, and it grows like a weed in our climate!

    I can totally relate about the blogging… I’ll be lucky if I post once a week these days…and that’s okay. This is certainly not the time to sit in front of the computer, or stir a pot!! There will be lots to time to blog next winter, so enjoy the warm days my friend! 🙂

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