When my boys were younger, I was a bit of a covert operator in the kitchen. Like many moms I would hide veggies in nearly every food item that I could. Even though my undercover ways in the kitchen are a thing of the past, I still make a habit of stirring in chopped leafy greens into nearly every pot of soup that I make. Not only does it add some great color, but the addition of nutritious veggies like kale, spinach, and swiss chard boost the nutritional value as well.
One food item that my kids can detect from a mile away is swiss chard. Our family has a love-hate relationship with chard. My husband and I love it, while all of my children detest it! They see a fresh bundle of chard leaves as an invading enemy, and they, the defenders of all things anti-chard, try their very best to avoid eating it. While I can find the beauty in the colorful stems and veins of a bunch of rainbow chard, my kids cringe and run in the opposite direction.
What’s a mom to do?
I’ve tried to explain how healthy swiss chard is. Like many of its other leafy green friends, chard is chock full of antioxidants, is low in calories, and high in an assortment of vitamins and minerals, especially the little-talked-about vitamin K. Not surprisingly, this is not an argument that impressed my kiddos one bit.
I’ve tried to have a fun garden experience with my boys. We’ve planted chard seeds and watched them grow. The only problem was the harvesting and subsequent eating part that was inevitable.
The solution? Create a recipe that some how makes the chard appear a bit “friendlier”. Oh, and make sure it’s delicious.
This recipe for Sausage, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Soup is a thick, hearty, almost stew like bowl of soup. It is chock full of vegetables, including a large amount of chard. It is a meal in a bowl that will leave you feeling satisfied. Oh, and it is the one and only way that I can get all three of my children to eat swiss chard. That is always a true marker of success!
Sausage, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Soup
8 cups of homemade stock
2 cups good quality, jarred tomato sauce
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casing removed (you can opt for a hot sausage variety if you prefer a little kick)
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups sliced carrots
3 cups diced potatoes, peeled
1 cup green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 1/4 lengths
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1 pound (roughly one standard bunch) rainbow chard, leaves & stems separated
1/2 tablespoon sea salt (if using boxed stock, you will need to reduce the salt amount)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Begin by prepping the swiss chard. Separate the leaves from the center rib. This is easily done by running a sharp knife along the outer edge of the rib. Slice the ribs into 1/4″ pieces. Set aside.
Take the remaining leaves and chop into small pieces. Rolling several leaves together, slicing, then chopping is the easiest way to prep the leaves. Set the chopped leaves aside.
Place the turkey sausage into a large stock pot. Cook the sausage for 4-6 minutes, being sure to break the sausage apart into small crumbles during cooking. Add in all of the remaining ingredients with the exception of the chopped swiss chard leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
During the last ten minutes of cooking, stir in the chopped swiss chard leaves.