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Sep 19, 2021

Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup with Basil Pesto

This Swiss chard and white bean soup with basil pesto is a quick and easy dish you can put together for a delicious lunch or light and nutritious dinner. 

Swiss chard soup with pesto on top.


This soup on it's own is very flavorful, but topping it with a basil and Parmesan pesto takes it to another level. The pesto is a take on French pistou, which does not contain pine nuts (or nuts of any kind), just olive oil, basil, Parmesan, and garlic. 

By the way, if you have any leftover pesto, save it to spread on crackers, crostini, or fresh sliced French bread.... or even bake it into bread! Save it in the refrigerator and bring it back to room temperature before enjoying. 

We had this soup with French bread slices brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with Parmesan, and toasted. We couldn't get enough. Dip the cheese toast in the broth and enjoy. You'll thank me later. 

Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup with Basil Pesto on the side.

The soup on it's own is very tasty and will make you feel very virtuous. besides the chard and white beans, there are also fresh tomatoes. 

For the broth, you can either use a vegetable broth or beef broth. To whip up this soup in less than a half an hour, I used canned low sodium beef broth. 

How to Serve this Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup:

Divide the hot soup among four bowls and serve the pesto on on the side along with the toasted cheese bread. 

You probably should divide the cheese bread among your guests so that no one will take more than their fair share. Because they will once they taste it after dipping it in this soup. 

Swish chard soup in bowls.

Be sure to use the freshest and most flavorful tomatoes you can find. My cousin gave me a couple of gorgeous freshly grown heirloom tomatoes from her garden, which I used in this soup.

For grocery store tomatoes, I really like Campari tomatoes. If you can't find good fresh tomatoes, good canned whole tomatoes will work. You'll just have lots of leftover canned tomatoes you'll need to use in other recipes. 

More Karen's Kitchen Stories recipes with pesto: 

Cilantro Pesto (on pasta with salmon)

Celery Leaf Pesto

Pesto and Mozzarella Buns

Pesto Bread

Scallop and Pesto Purses

Kale and Feta Pesto Stuffed Cod

Provençal Vegetable Soup with Pistou

Pesto soup with bread.

The major ingredient in this soup is Swiss chard. It's an ingredient that I haven't cooked with much, and am excited about trying. There is so much nutrition in Swiss chard. It's packed with vitamins and is considered anti-inflamatory. 

Think of it as somewhere in between spinach and kale. 

For this soup, I bought chard that was labeled "rainbow," so the stems were all different colors. Some were red, some were pink, some were yellow, and some were green. In looking over the available chard in the store, they all looked alike except the stems, so I decided to go with what was pretty. 

Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup with Basil Pesto in a bowl.

This week the Sunday Funday group has created recipes featuring pesto. Be sure to check out everyone's recipes. 

Sunday Funday Pesto Recipes: 

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Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup with Basil Pesto in a bowl.

Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup with Basil Pesto

Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup with Basil Pesto
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 30 Min
This Swiss chard and white bean soup with basil pesto is a quick and easy dish you can put together for a delicious lunch or light and nutritious dinner.


For The Soup
  • 1 pound Swiss chard
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 - 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Pesto
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Parmesan Bread
  • 4 slices French or Italian Bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


To Make the Soup
  1. Separate the stems and leaves of the chard and chop each separately. 
  2. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the broth, 2 cups of water, the chopped chard stems, the beans, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. 
  3. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. 
  4. Add the chard leaves and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes, stirring once or twice. 
To Make the Pesto
  1. In a small food processor or mini blender, combine the basil leaves, the olive oil, the Parmesan, and the garlic. Add the pepper, and process. 
To Make the Parmesan Bread
  1. Brush both sides of the bread slices with the olive oil and toast the bread in a toaster oven or grill both sides on a grill pan. 
  2. Sprinkle one side with the Parmesan and broil the top until the cheese has melted. 

Nutrition Facts



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Soup, Pesto, Pistou, Basil
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This recipe was adapted from the August/September, 2021 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine, my favorite magazine for recipes. If you only subscribe to one cooking magazine, this should be the one. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Pesto is the perfect garnish for soups. It adds so much flavor. I love the cheese bread idea too. I know my family will go nuts over it.

    1. The bread dipped in the soup was even better than expected

  2. I love the combo of basil pesto soup and cheese bread!

  3. Wow, takes the enjoyment of a soup to the next level. Such a wonderful idea to serve it with pesto. I don't think I want to wait for winter to enjoy such a tempting bowl of soup.


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