Silverbeet vs Spinach: What’s the Difference?

Silverbeet and spinach are both highly nutritious leafy green vegetables, but that’s not where the similarities end.

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In the battle of Silverbeet vs Spinach, what are the main differences?

Let’s take a look at their appearance, taste, nutritional content, and how to grow them.

What is Spinach?

Spinach leaves are flat with green veins

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s used in a wide variety of dishes, from salads to soups to sides.

Spinach is part of the Amaranthaceae family, along with Silverbeet (Swiss chard), quinoa and beets. In addition to being delicious, spinach also has many health benefits.

Spinach comes in two basic types: baby leaf spinach and regular full-size leaves (or “adult” versions).

Baby leaf spinach tends to be sweeter than adult versions because it is harvested before it has time to develop the compounds that lead to the bitter taste.

What is Silverbeet?

Silverbeet has thick white stems

Silverbeet, also known as chard or swiss chard, is a leafy green vegetable that also comes from the Amaranthaceae family.

It’s best known for its bright green leaves and white stems (stems can also be red, yellow, and other colours).

Silverbeet is grown all around the world for its nutritional content, taste, and texture. The plant contains many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for good health—including calcium, iron, and magnesium—which can be found in other leafy greens like spinach.

Silverbeet is a great source of vitamins A (retinol), C (ascorbic acid), E (tocopheryl acetate) and K1/K2.

Appearance

Both silverbeet and spinach are leafy green vegetables. However, they do have some differences in appearance:

  • Spinach leaves are smooth and flat with green veins that run throughout the leaf. The edges of these leaves are rounded, giving them a more rounded appearance than silverbeet’s crinkled leaf edges.
  • Silverbeet has curly, crinkled leaves with thick white stems and veins running through each one.

Taste

Spinach leaves are smooth and flat

Both Silverbeet and Spinach are leafy greens with a rich earthy flavour. They’re both versatile, easy to cook and can usually be used interchangeably in recipes.

Spinach has a slightly sweet taste which makes it perfect for salads or steaming, while Silverbeet has a stronger earthy flavour that works great when added to soups.

Spinach can be eaten raw and is often included in salads while Silverbeet is best cooked before eaten.

Silverbeet stems can be removed, chopped, and cooked in stir-fries, soups, or frittatas.

Nutritional Differences

The nutritional value of silverbeet and spinach is quite similar.

Both are low in calories, high in fibre, and contain significant amounts of magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, C and K.

In fact, both vegetables contribute a good proportion of the recommended daily intake for these nutrients.

In terms of calories per serving size:

  • Spinach contains around 23 calories per 100g serving (source)
  • Silverbeet contains about 19 calories per 100g serving (source)

They are also both high in beta carotene with cooked spinach containing around 6,103 mcg of beta carotene per 100g serving (source, source)

Growing Silverbeet or Spinach

Chard with red stems

These nutrient dense foods can both be grown in pots or in the garden. Silverbeet is grown as a biennial while spinach is grown as an annual.

Silverbeet is more heat tolerant and survives better in dry conditions than spinach, but both are frost tolerant.

Silverbeet has a wider range of temperature tolerance than spinach – both the cold and heat – so it’s perfect for temperate climates like Australia.

In temperate climates of Australia, you can plant Silverbeet anytime from spring to autumn. However, Spinach is generally only planted in autumn in temperate climates.

FAQ

Is Silverbeet the Same as Swiss Chard?

Silverbeet and Swiss chard are essentially the same plant, but in America and the UK it’s called “chard,” while in Australia and New Zealand it’s referred to as “silverbeet.” In Australia, chard with a white stem is generally called silverbeet, while varieties with coloured stems are called rainbow chard.

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Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY, and is always up for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking delicious meals from fresh produce picked from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.