White Bean Soup With Ham, Pumpkin, and Chard

Hearty fall and winter soup with pumpkin, white beans, a ham hock, tomato, and chard.

White Bean Soup with Ham, Pumpkin, Chard
Elise Bauer

Years ago my doctor advised me to "eat colorful foods". "When you look at the foods on your plate, there should be lots of color and variety," he explained.

Great advice, and easy to remember. Colorful fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients.

Here's a warming fall and winter stew that is so alive with color, it makes me smile just to look at it. Just take your basic white bean and ham soup, and rev it up with tomatoes, fresh pumpkin, and chard.

White Bean Soup with Ham, Pumpkin, Chard
Elise Bauer

My father came over to try some for lunch and went home with half the batch (I wouldn't let him take it all). Enjoy!

White Bean Soup With Ham, Pumpkin, and Chard

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings 5 to 6 servings

This recipe calls for a sugar pumpkin (the kind you use to make pies). You can easily substitute the same quantity of butternut squash or almost any winter squash.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 cups yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 (2-pound) whole sugar pumpkin, halved, seeds scooped out, flesh peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks (resulting in 3 1/2 cups or 1 pound of chunks)

  • 1/2 pound ham hock

  • 8 cups chicken stock

  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained OR 1 large fresh, ripe tomato, peeled and chopped

  • 6 sprigs thyme, tied with string (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini white beans, rinsed and drained, or homemade

  • 4 large Swiss chard leaves (can substitute kale), center rib removed, leaves roughly chopped

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Sauté onions, bay leaves, celery, garlic:

    Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large, thick-bottomed pot (5 to 6 quart). Add the onion and the bay leaves and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the chopped celery, cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  2. Add pumpkin, ham hock, stock, tomatoes, and thyme:

    Add the chopped pumpkin and the ham hock to the pot. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and thyme. Increase heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, uncovered. Let simmer for an hour and a half.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  3. Remove ham hock, add white beans, and chard:

    Remove the ham hock from the soup pot, to a plate to let cool enough to handle. Add the white beans and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chopped chard, simmer until chard is wilted, a few minutes more.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  4. Strip ham from bone, chop, and return to soup:

    Strip the meat from the ham hock, chop it, and return to the pot. Add 1 to 2 cups of water to the soup to thin it to your preference. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

    Add freshly ground black pepper and adjust seasonings to taste.

White Bean Soup with Ham, Pumpkin, Chard
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
527 Calories
14g Fat
67g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 527
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 568mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 67g 24%
Dietary Fiber 13g 48%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 28mg 138%
Calcium 218mg 17%
Iron 8mg 47%
Potassium 2094mg 45%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.