Sauteed Swiss Chard and Chick-peas – Florentine style (Bietole e ceci alla fiorentina)

Ok – full disclosure – chick-peas are not my favorite food by a mile!  I owe it all to my mother who loved cecis (as they are called in Italian) and served them at every opportunity. My view is that one can only eat so many chick-peas in their lifetime.  However, in the spirit of trying to eat less meat and more healthful vegetarian dishes, I have a renewed view on these little morsels…can I turn my fear of cecis into a love affair? The jury is still out but I am on a mission to find flavorful ways to enhance and use these healthful bits. I will report back on my favorites as my journey unfolds! My mother used to make a version of this dish but I enhanced it here with a few diced tomatoes and lemon to pick up the flavor.  I have to say – it was rather yummy!  And please let me know if you have a favorite chick-pea recipe that will help me on my quest!

Sauteed Swiss Chard and Chick-peas – Florentine style


1 large bunch of Swiss chard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

4 plum tomatoes, cut into a small dice

1 can canned chick-peas, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1 large saute pan


  1. Trim the very end of the stems of the Swiss chard and discard.  Trim away any heavy stems from the leaves of the Swiss chard and dice. Set aside. Coarsely chop the leaves.
  2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add sliced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened…about 3-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté until soft…another minute or two.
  3. Add in the tomato, chick-peas and diced stems. Saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the chopped Swiss chard leaves and cook, covered, until the chard wilts down – just a few minutes. Stir to combine with the chick-peas.
  5. Add in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. That’s it! Buon appetito!

Join the Conversation

  1. Tom Braddock says:

    Hey Michele! That sounds and looks tasty & simple! I do something similar with my Swiss Chard and aside from that, I have to say it must be THE hardiest veg on my screened lanai here in Fla! It takes the beating of summers and our cold snaps as well (like the next two nights, which will dip into the low 30s!).

    FYI – I just did a slow cooker recipe including the ceci: “Moroccan Chicken with Couscous” (NICE spice flavors!) – should be found on the site: – printed in Tampa Tribune Feb. 2012. Thanks! – Tom B

  2. Thanks for the suggestion!! Looks yummy…stay warm down there in FLA! Ciao ciao, Michele

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