Kalyn's Kitchen

White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard

Soak beans overnight to make this delicious White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard; I promise you’re going to love this combination! See options for making this a lower-carb soup.

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Bean Soup with Ham and Chard finished soup in two serving bowls

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 is a recipe I have loved for years. Of course there are plenty of recipes for white bean soup with ham, but adding some Swiss Chard adds flavor, texture, and more nutrition to this classic soup. 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 soup.

And even though I love Instant Pot Soups and Slow Cooker Soups, I still have a weakness for soup simmering on the stove, making your house smell great. And in this soup, soaking the beans and then cooking them with vegetables, seasonings, and stock or broth adds amazing flavor to the finished soup.  

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • dry white beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight
  • olive oil (optional)
  • onion
  • celery
  • carrots
  • Minced Garlic (affiliate link)
  • Dried Sage (affiliate link)
  • ground fennel (affiliate link), optional but recommended
  • chicken broth
  • bay leaves
  • diced ham plus ham rind if available
  • red chard
  • Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate (affiliate link) if needed (depends on how flavorful your ham is)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

What is Chard?

Chard is a shortened name for Swiss chard (also called  silverbeet and perpetual spinach). It’s an easy-to-grow type of greens that are highly nutritious. Both the stems and leaves are good to eat. You can check out my Healthy Swiss Chard Recipes for more ideas for using Chard!

What does Chard taste like?

Chard has a pleasant flavor that’s a little stronger than spinach, but not as strong as kale or mustard greens. The texture is softer than kale but firmer than spinach, making it versatile to use in recipes.

How can you make this soup lower in carbs?

You could make this a lower-carb soup by using more ham, chard, onions, and celery and less carrots and beans.

Bean Soup with Ham and Chard process shots collage

How to make White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. 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.
  2. Chop up the carrots, celery, and onions. Chop up the ham, saving the rind if you have one.
  3. I cooked the vegetables with the Minced Garlic (affiliate link), Dried Sage (affiliate link), and ground fennel (affiliate link) in the bottom of the soup pot for a few minutes before I put the in the other ingredients.
  4. Put the chicken stock or broth, water, dried bay leaves, soaked beans, and ham rind (if available) into the pot and cook about an hour at a low simmer (or until beans are starting to soften.)
  5. Then add the diced ham and cook about 30 minutes more, until the beans are very soft and starting to split apart.
  6. Taste the soup at this point and if it doesn’t have enough ham flavor, add a small amount of ham flavor base. Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate (affiliate link) is my favorite, but I’ve used Penzeys, Better Than Bouillon, or Knorr ham flavor base. (Edit: Shirley from Gluten Free Easily tells me Better than Bouillon is not guaranteed to be gluten-free.)
  7. All the ham flavor bases are relatively high in sodium so use sparingly or avoid if you’re limiting your sodium intake.
  8. Trim the chard and slice into strips and add to the soup, with a little more water if needed.
  9. Cook about 20-30 minutes more.
  10. Soup is done when the chard is very soft and starting to almost dissolve into the soup.
  11. Serve hot, with plenty of fresh-ground black pepper! 

Bean Soup with Ham and Chard thumbnail image of finished soup in bowls

More Bean Soups You Might Like:

Slow Cooker Sausage and White Bean Stew ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
CrockPot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Tomato, Zucchini, White Bean, and Basil Soup ~ The Perfect Pantry
White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Bean Soup with Ham and Chard finished soup in two serving bowls

White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 20 minutes

Soak beans overnight to make this delicious White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard, and your house will smell great while this is cooking!


  • 3 cups dry white beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight
  • 2 tsp. olive oil (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 chicken broth (see notes)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 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


  1. Soak dried beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and pick out any broken ones and discard.
  3. Chop up the ham, saving the rind if there is one.
  4. Chops carrots, celery, and onion.
  5. Heat the olive oil in the bottom of the soup pot, add vegetables, garlic, dried sage, and ground fennel (affiliate link) and saute 3-5 minutes.  (This is completely optional, but it gets the flavors of the sage and fennel into the vegetables.)
  6. Add the soaked beans, chicken stock, water, bay leaves, and ham rind if available.
  7. Simmer on low heat for one hour.
  8. Add diced ham and cook 30 minutes more, or longer if needed, until beans are quite soft.
  9. 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.)
  10. Add chard to soup with one cup additional water.
  11. Taste for flavor and add ham base (affiliate link) if desired. (I nearly always add a small amount.)
  12. Cook about 20-30 minutes more, until chard and beans are starting to break apart.
  13. Season with fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.


If you have homemade chicken stock that is perfect for this soup, or just use 6 cans chicken broth (1 can is just over 1 1/2 cups).

Recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 1845mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard 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 original South Beach Diet. I think the soup would also be delicious without carrots if you wanted to make it for Phase One. Soup with beans is too high in carbs for a strict low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to 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.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2007. It was updated with better photos in 2014 and was last updated with more information in 2021.

Pinterest image of White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard

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    15 Comments on “White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard”

  1. So….how much ham? (I don’t see it in the ingredients list, am I totally missing it?)

    • I JUST found it!!! (please hit return afterbay leaves 🙂 )

      • There are formatting errors like that all over the blog (caused when I switched to a more sophisticated blogging platform last summer. I’m fixing them as quickly as I can. Glad you found it, and I’ll fix this now!

  2. Amy, so glad you liked it!

  3. Just finished a delicious bowl – I loved the flavor combination of the sage and fennel. I didn't have any ham bouillon so I used chicken. I also didn't see the add extra cup of water with the chard, so my broth was pretty full flavored but I loved it. Thanks as always for your great recipes!

  4. Thanks Amy! Some bloggers think I'm nuts for including those old photos, but I love seeing the progress. It really helps me to not get frustrated on those days (which still happen) when i can't get a photo to turn out the way I want it!

  5. Just wrote all the ingredients on my grocery list! This will be dinner for tomorrow so I can soak those beans. I'm betting I will love it. And ps – the original picture is pretty funny :). Your skills have really improved 🙂

  6. Thanks Katie; so glad you liked it!

  7. I just love soups just like this! Flavor from the ham, and then tons of healthy high-fiber ingredients to make it satisfying. Love this Kalyn!

  8. Lydia, sounds like a good idea. My stepmother doesn’t eat pork so she would love this idea.

    Tanna, where you are you might have an easier time finding the Goya brand. It’s by far the best in my opinion.

    Ruth, thanks, and Kale would be great.

    Toni, you can probably get Goya brand there too, and do try the ham rind.

    Alanna, thanks, and I have heard about the parmesan rind too but haven’t done it. This is #3 soup for me, and one more coming next week. (Then what will I cook for March? Green food?

  9. Glorious, for sure! I always save the rinds of Parmesan wedges, too, that’s another way to add flavor. But I’ll definitely try the ham rind, especially since I’ve gotten so keen on smoked ham since Christmas.

    Thanks for the contribution to Soup’s On, #2, yes?!

  10. Love white bean soup, but never knew about the rind trick – Thanks! And I’ve never looked for ham bouillion, but I’m sure it’s available here in San Diego. Great ideas, and a great looking soup!

  11. Sounds wonderful, and perfect for the kale I just bought! Thanks for sharing.

  12. I’ve done the ham rind trick but haven’t discovered the “ham bouillon” and will seek it out.
    Yes this really is a beautiful color for the soup.

  13. White bean soup is one that lends itself well to my trick of substituting barbecue sauce for the ham, to get the smoky flavor into the beans without the meat. Yes, it adds a tiny bit of sugar, but usually a tablespoon or so of BBQ sauce is all that’s needed.