Soak beans overnight to make this delicious White bean and Ham Soup with Chard; I promise it's worth it! And this tasty soup is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-glycemic, and South Beach Diet friendly. Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
All winter I've been making some of my favorite soup recipes from the past and updating photos for the blog, and this delicious White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard was first posted in February 2007 when my friend Alanna of a Veggie Venture was collecting soup recipes. I made a couple of different soups for Alanna's month of soup, and since I have a weakness for soups that combine beans with greens, this is one I've made many times since. If you don't have chard, any kind of greens will work, but I do think chard deserves more respect, and I love it in this soup.
Soak 3 cups of white beans overnight or for about 8 hours. When you're ready to make the soup, drain and rinse the beans and pick out any broken ones.
Taste the soup at this point and if it doesn't have as much ham flavor as you'd like, you can add a small amount of ham flavor base. This Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate is my favorite, but other brands I've used include Penzeys, Better Than Bouillon, or Knorr ham flavor base. (All these are relatively high in sodium so use sparingly or avoid if you're limiting your sodium intake.)
White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard
(Makes 8-10 servings, recipe created by Kalyn. This will freeze very well.)
3 cups dry white beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight
2 tsp. olive oil (for sauteeing vegetables and seasonings, optional)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
1 T minced garlic (I used garlic puree in a jar)
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. ground fennel seed (optional but recommended)
10 cups homemade chicken stock or 6 cans chicken broth (1 can is just over 1 1/2 cups)
4 cups water
3-4 dried bay leaves2 cups diced ham plus ham rind if available
1 bunch chopped red chard (about 4 cups)
Goya ham bouillon if needed (depends on how flavorful your ham is)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Soak dried beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and pick out any broken ones and discard. Chop up the ham, saving the rind if there is one.
Chops carrots, celery, and onion. Heat the olive oil in the bottom of the soup pot, add vegetables, garlic, dried sage, and ground fennel and saute 3-5 minutes. (This is completely optional, but it gets the flavors of the sage and fennel into the vegetables.) Add the soaked beans, chicken stock, water, bay leaves, and ham rind if available. Simmer on low heat for one hour.
Add diced ham and cook 30 minutes more, or longer if needed, until beans are quite soft.
Trim center stem from chard leaves and discard, then cut each leaf in fourths lengthwise, and slice crosswise into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Wash chard after chopping if needed. (If the leaves are big, cut the pieces in half again.)
Add chard to soup with one cup additional water. Taste for flavor and add ham bouillon if desired. (I nearly always add a small amount.) Cook about 20-30 minutes more, until chard and beans are starting to break apart. Season with fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This soup is loaded with low-glycemic ingredients like beans, ham, and chard, but with the carrots it would be limited to Phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet. I think the soup would also be delicious without carrots if you wanted to make it for Phase One. You could make this a lower-carb soup by using more ham and vegetables and less beans.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
(White Bean and Ham Soup with Chard was updated with better photos and step-by-step instructions, February 2014. And just for laughs, here's the original photo of this soup from 2007!)
More White Bean Soups You Might Like:
Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Spinach ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
White Bean and Ham Soup from Simply Recipes
Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Tomato, Zucchini, White Bean, and Basil Soup ~ The Perfect Pantry
White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
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