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

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

Winter Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Sausage

Yield: serves 6 - 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

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.


  • 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


  1. Prepare the pasta to al dente according to package instructions.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 575Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 119mgSodium 707mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 8gSugar 9gProtein 42g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

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.

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This Week’s Prize:

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

Prizes provided by Pacific Natural Foods

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Tickled Red

Tuesday 15th of November 2011

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

Donna B.

Tuesday 15th of November 2011

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)

Garnishes 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.


Monday 14th of November 2011

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 oil salt/pepper 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!

Kristen M.

Friday 11th of November 2011

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.

Lauren @ hey, who cut the cheese?

Thursday 10th of November 2011

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

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