Winter Minestrone Soup with Swiss Chard and Sausage [Holiday Recipe Exchange]

Recipe Exchange, Soup and Stew | 12 comments

We’ve had a cold front come through here in the last week so I am in full on soup mode for our evening meals. I love a big bowl of soup on cold nights, even more so now that it’s dark at 5 pm – not my favorite thing about this time of year.

Homemade Minestrone Soup has always been a soup favorite of mine. It is loaded with vegetables, yet feels hearty with the added pasta. In the summer I tend to lead towards adding vegetables like squash and red bell peppers, but this version of minestrone soup features vegetables seen more during winter since we’re quickly headed that way.

winter minestrone recipe

While you might not typically see Italian Sausage featured in a Minestrone Soup recipe, I wanted to add a little bit for an extra burst of flavor and heartiness. If you desire a vegetarian minestrone soup recipe, just omit the sausage and be sure to use vegetarian broth, such as Pacific Natural Foods Organic Vegetable Broth, rather than a chicken based broth.

Swiss chard and baby bella mushrooms replace summertime vegetables. I’ve had swiss chard growing wild in my backyard since I planted it two years ago. I haven’t done a thing to it and it rarely even gets watered since I haven’t set foot out there in quite a while.

We didn’t plant much of a garden this year, just fresh herbs, but I’m grateful for the swiss chard that keeps coming back for more. Along with the arugula that’s gone to seed every which way. But we’ll deal with that another day. For now, I’ll just be glad that I was able to find a use for the swiss chard.

I have been using Pacific Naturals Broths for years, long before I became a blogger, so I’m excited to bring you this wonderful Soup, Stews and Chili themed Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods. I can’t wait to see what soups, stews, and chilis you all cook up using their delicious broths. Head over to My Baking Addiction to see the Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup that Jamie cooked up for this exchange.

Winter Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Sausage

Yield: serves 6 - 8

Print Save Recipe


3/4 lb. Italian Sausage (sweet or mild)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 - 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
6 cups Pacific Naturals Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2 - 3 cups water
1 can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 small stem fresh rosemary, needles removed and minced, about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1 cup dark red kidney beans
1 cup cannellini beans
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large bunch swiss chard leaves, chopped (stems discarded)
2 cups uncooked medium shells or ditalini pasta


Prepare the pasta to al dente according to package instructions.

In a large dutch oven, brown the sausage links over medium low heat until browned on all sides and cooked through, cooking about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. When the sausage has cooled, slice into thin rounds.

Add olive oil to the pan and heat till shimmering. Stir in the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another two minutes. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and celery. Saute for about 7 minutes. Mushrooms should be tender and the whole mixture fragrant.

Stir in the tomatoes, broth, water, and tomato paste. Add the bay leaves, rosemary thyme, and oregano. Return the sausage to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, then turn down to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Drain the beans and stir them into the soup, season to taste with salt and pepper and add the swiss chard. Discard bay leaves before serving. Let cook until the swiss chard has wilted, then stir in the prepared pasta and serve topped with freshly grated parmesan.


Note: If you are not finishing the entire pot of soup in one sitting, spoon pasta into individual bowls and ladle soup on top. Reserve extra pasta in a separate container for later use. This will prevent the pasta from absorbing all of the liquid in the soup while the leftovers refrigerate.

How To Participate

For a chance to win A year’s supply of Pacific Natural Foods products valued at approximately $200!

  1. Write and post a recipe on your blog featuring Soups, Chilis or Stews.
  2. Include “Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods in your blog post.
  3. No blog? Just leave your recipe in the comments section.
  4. Add your link to the widget on either GoodLife Eats or My Baking Addiction (we have the same widget code, so only add it on one site).
  5. Submit your post before Nov. 16, 11:59 PM.
  6. Anyone can participate in the link up, but the prizes will ship to US addresses only.
  7. More detailed info are available here.

Everyday Chef Challenge

Pacific Natural Foods is also hosting the Everyday Chef Challenge. Be sure to submit your favorite holiday recipe for a chance to win BIG! The submission period ends on Monday, so check it out soon! You can also join Pacific Natural Foods on Facebook and Twitter for contest info, recipes and more.

Link Up Your Recipes:

Love any of the recipes featured in today’s Holiday Recipe Exchange? If so, be sure to to use the Ziplist Web Recipe Clipper to add your holiday favorites to your online recipe box.

This Week’s Prize:

A year’s supply of Pacific Natural Foods products valued at approximately $200.

Prizes provided by Pacific Natural Foods

Recipe Theme Schedule:

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - November 09, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    I am all about hearty, comforting soups right now! This one will definitely be gracing our table in the very near future.


  • 2
    Liz - November 09, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    This is my favorite post-Thanksgiving soup to make:
    Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

    1/2 cup butter
    2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
    2 carrots, diced
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 quarts Turkey Stock (or canned chicken broth)
    1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 cups cooked chopped turkey
    2 cups cooked wild rice
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

    In a Dutch oven or stockpot, melt butter. Add celery, carrots, and onion; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Add turkey stock and bring mixture to a boil.

    Add salt and pepper; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add turkey, rice, cream, and parsley; cook until soup is thoroughly heated—do not boil.


  • 3
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies - November 09, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    That is one gorgeous soup. Thanks for the link up, Katie!


  • 4
    Shaina - November 09, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    I love a good, hearty soup. Thanks for the giveaway!


  • 5
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - November 09, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    This soup looks perfectly warm and hearty… It makes me want to curl up with a big bowl and a blanket. So cozy!


  • 6
    jacquie - November 09, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    i don’t have a specific recipe but make soups using a vegetable based stock, carrots, celery, lentils and whatever veggies i have all simmered together. warm, yummy and realively quickly (at least for a soup) put together to have on hand for dinner and lunch.


  • 7
    Carmen - November 10, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    Rustic Baked Potato Soup

    4 baking potatoes or 6 medium potatoes (~ 2 lbs)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    3/4 cup flour
    4 cups chicken broth
    1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
    1 cup milk (skim is fine)
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp marjoram, optional
    1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (1/4 cup reserved)
    6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    Wash the potatoes and pierce the skins. Bake in a 400°F oven for approximately an hour, or until tender. This can be done ahead of time, or just before making the soup. Roughly chop the potatoes, skins included into bite-sized pieces.
    In a large pot, gently cook the garlic and onions in olive oil until the onions start to become translucent.
    Mix the flour with the cream until blended; set aside.
    Add the chicken broth, milk, salt, pepper and marjoram to the onion/garlic mixture. Add in the flour mixture and bring to a boil until it starts to thicken. Reduce heat and add the chopped potatoes, the cheddar cheese, and bacon. Cook over low heat until hot.
    Sprinkle a bit of cheddar cheese over each individual bowl after serving. You can also reserve some bacon to sprinkle on top.


  • 8
    Lauren @ hey, who cut the cheese? - November 10, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    This soup looks very comforting and delicious! Thanks for sharing it!


  • 9
    Kristen M. - November 11, 2011 @ 9:21 am

    My go-to potato soup is as follows:
    3-4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
    1/3 cup finely chopped onion
    3 1/4 cups water
    2 tablespoons chicken (or vegetable) bouillon granules
    salt and pepper, to taste
    5 tablespoons butter
    5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 cups milk

    Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
    In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
    Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.


  • 10
    Alex - November 14, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    Here’s my personal chicken soup recipe, adapted from what my grandfather taught me :)
    1 lb fresh pasta cut into spaghetti or fettucine
    1 large pot water
    4-5 chicken breasts
    2 carrots, shredded
    1 onion, chopped
    4 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
    Boil the water with chicken breasts for a few hours to create a sort of chicken bouillon. In the meantime, make the fresh pasta using flour, egg and water. When chicken has finished cooking, remove from bouillon and cut into pieces. Put some oil into a saucepan, then add onions and fry until golden. Then add carrots and chicken as well, fry until the mixture looks roasted and is fragrant. Add chicken mixture, potato chunks, and pasta as well as seasonings to pot and cook until pasta and potatoes are tender. Enjoy!


  • 11
    Donna B. - November 15, 2011 @ 5:56 am

    I’ll be making this soup over the weekend!

    Corn and Potato Chowder

    2 lb. russet potatoes, cut into small dice
    4 cans chicken stock, plus additional water (enough to cover the potatoes)
    leftover ham bone (if you have one – I put mine in the freezer and save it for this soup!!)
    1 lb. ham, cut into small chunks if you don’t have a ham bone with leftover meat on it
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 medium red onion, finely chopped
    1 medium red pepper, finely chopped (optional)
    12 oz. package bacon (I generally use thick cut), diced
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
    2 cans of corn (whole kernel or creamed), or 1 16 oz package frozen corn
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 cup half-and-half (could use milk but it won’t be as creamy)

    sour cream
    shredded cheese (I use a sharp cheddar)
    finely chopped green onion (can use red onion but it will have a sharper bite to it)

    Put the potatoes in a large dutch oven, add chicken stock, water, ham bone, bay leaves and cayenne and put them on simmer until the potatoes are just shy of being done. Remove the bay leaves and the ham bone. Allow the ham bone to cool, then remove and reserve any meat. DO NOT DISCARD THE LIQUID. That will be the base of your soup.

    In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat (slowly, you want to render the fat and totally crisp up the bacon). Remove the bacon and drain on paper towel, discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat (and don’t lose the brown bits on the bottom of the pan!!). In the reserved bacon fat, saute the onions, red pepper and garlic until softened.

    Add the sauteed veggies to the potatoes, then add the corn, ham, thyme, parsley, sour cream and half-and-half and stir. Heat on a very low simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with the garnishes listed, plus the reserved cooked bacon.


  • 12
    Tickled Red - November 15, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    I love soup even when it’s still warm out…thanks for the great giveaway :D


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