January is a tricky month, at least for those of us living in colder climates.  Most people are trying to eat healthier, but when you come in from the frigid cold after a busy day, you want something warm comforting.  Unfortunately so many of our fall back comfort foods are not the healthiest options.  Mac and cheese?  Pizza?  Mashed potatoes?  I could go on and on (and make myself quite hungry in the process), but instead I’ll offer you this soup.  For me, a major soup lover, soup is one of the greatest comfort foods.  While there are certainly some less-than-healthy soups that I enjoy, there are also many varieties with decent nutritional value.

This tortellini soup with beans and chard is on the “good for you” side of the soup spectrum.  It starts with a flavorful broth base enhanced with some .  Mix in white beans for added protein, chard for a nice dose of green veggies, and whole wheat tortellini to give it some substance, and you’ve got a lovely meal that is both comforting and nourishing.

I’ll add that this recipe makes quite a bit of soup and you’ll likely have leftovers.  If you are concerned about the pasta or beans becoming mushy, use less initially and add in separately cooked portions to the leftovers if you wish.  I personally don’t mind the texture of this dish left over so I don’t bother with the extra step.  We have enjoyed it from the freezer as well.

  • Yield about 8-10 servings


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 quarts low-sodium broth (veggie or chicken)
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, or 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 (15 oz.) can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups cooked white beans)
2 tsp. herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
Salt and pepper
9 oz. fresh whole wheat cheese tortellini (or 6 oz. dried)
1 bunch Swiss chard (or other leafy green)
Freshly grated Parmesan, to finish


  • 01

    In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion to the pan and sauté until just tender, 5-6 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes, and sauté 1 minute more until fragrant.  Stir in the broth, tomatoes, beans, herbs and Parmesan rind.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and let simmer 30 minutes.

  • 02

    Stir in the tortellini and chard.  Continue to simmer until the tortellini is cooked through, according to the package directions.  (If using a firm green such as kale, add it a few minutes prior to the tortellini to be sure it is completely cooked.)  Ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan.