Soup Swap Party; White Bean Soup with Greens and Homemade Italian Sausage

by formerchef on February 1, 2011

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Soup Swap Party? What’s that? Do I have to cook? Does everyone bring soup to eat? That’s gonna be a lot of soup!

Whoa, slow down people.

A Soup Swap is where everyone makes six quarts of soup at home, puts it in 1 quart containers and freezes it. Everyone brings their frozen soup to the party, chats for a while while having drinks and snacks, and hears the “story of the soup.”  People then take turns picking different soups to bring home.  It’s a fun and easy way to get to try some new things and not get tired of your own cooking.

The Soup Swap party was conceived over a decade ago by Knox Gardner, who while living in Seattle, made big pots of soup but got tired of eating leftovers and decided to share with friends. Since then it has grown into a national movement and this year was the 5th Annual National Soup Swap event. You can read more about it at the

Take your pick of soup!

I first heard about the Soup Swap last year but could not get it together to have my own. This year I was reminded in this post by the Soup Chick where she explains how it works, offers some great ideas, and even recommends my Fresh Tomato Soup recipe

A few weeks ago, I sent an email out to my nearest and dearest, and while all were included in the invitation, it turned into a Girl’s Night event with just the ladies attending. We held the party on a Sunday evening after dinner, so I served dessert; lemon pudding cakes, ginger-chocolate chunk ice cream (recipes coming soon), mini cheesecakes and butterscotch tapioca (made by my mom), and some savory scones which were a big hit (more on those in a later post too). 

Besides my white bean soup, there were two different lentil soups, Italian wedding soup, butternut squash soup, chicken and dumplings, and a “friendly” chili. Since it was a small group, everyone went home with one of each of everyone else’s soup, so there was no fighting over favorites. Next year I plan to have more people attend.

Clockwise from top left; lemon pudding cakes, ginger-chocolate ice cream, mini cheesecakes, savory scones, having a ball, butterscotch tapioca

If you’re interested in holding your own Soup Swap or participating in one, here are some tips:  

  • Get some quart sized (32 oz) disposable Tupperware; Glad and Ziplock brands are most common and can be found at places like Target and Big Lots ($2 for 4 containers).
  • Make a BIG pot of soup
  • Some recipes will need to be doubled
  • Avoid making soups with a cream base; these don’t freeze as well. Soups with cream to be added on reheat are fine.
  • If anyone needs ideas for soups, start by looking here.
  • Allow the soup to get cold in the containers in the refrigerator before freezing.
  • Label the soup and freeze (I find the labels stick better before freezing).
  • If you’d like, write up the recipe and print out copies to share at the party.
  • Bring the soup, frozen, to the party and be ready to describe it to everyone.

The soup I made to give away is one of my all time favorites. It’s typically made with escarole but I could not find it this week anywhere. Instead, I bought a bag of “Mixed Southern Greens” at Trader Joe’s which is a blend of mustard, turnip, spinach and collard greens and used those. You can use any greens you like.
I highly encourage you to try and make your own sausage with this dish; it’s simply ground pork with seasonings. You don’t even have to stuff the sausage mix it into casings. It’s as easy to make as it is to buy and take out of the casings.
If you want to make this soup vegan/vegetarian/low fat, simply leave out the sausage, sauté the vegetables in olive oil and cook the beans in vegetable stock.
Double the recipe below and you’ll have enough to give away at a Soup Swap and 2 quarts to keep for yourself.

White Bean Soup with Greens and Homemade Italian Sausage 
Printable Recipe in PDF

1 lb. great northern beans, soaked overnight
1 lb. Italian sausage (removed from casing or made fresh)
2 cups diced onion ( 1 onions= 3/4 lb.)
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks= 4 oz.)
3/4 cup diced carrot (2 carrots = 4 oz.)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (3 small cloves)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
3.5-4 quarts total liquid (I used a mix of homemade chicken stock, vegetable stock and water)
salt and pepper to taste.
8 oz. greens (mustard, turnip, collards, spinach or escarole)

Yield is approx. 1 gallon (4 quarts or about 10- 1.5 cup portions)

Cooking the sausage, vegetables and beans.

  1. Soak the beans overnight, covered in enough water to allow them to expand.
  2. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, add the sausage and break apart with a spoon into small pieces. Cook until done and browned and then remove from the pot with a slotted spoon. At this point, you can cook the vegetables in the fat from the sausage (I did, more flavor!) or clean it out and start fresh using a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Into the soup pot with the hot fat or oil, add the onions and sauté over medium heat until they start to get soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook another 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook another two minutes. Add the sausage back into the pot along with the drained soaked white beans and stir to combine everything together.
  4. Add enough stock or water to the beans to cover them by a couple of inches and bring to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender, about 1.5 hours. Add more stock or water as needed to keep the texture “soupy.”
  5.  Before serving, add your chopped greens and stir them in until they wilt. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

White Bean Soup with Greens and Sausage

1 Lydia (Soup Chick) February 1, 2011 at 7:58 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed your Soup Swap! I hosted mine just this past weekend. It, too, turned into a girls’ night, as only one male soup swapper attended along with 15 women. For most, it was their first swap, and I can honestly say that a good time was had by all. And with the snow storm today, I’m glad I have such great soups in my freezer!

2 formerchef February 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Thanks Lydia! I was fun and I hope next time to have more people like you did.

3 Noelle February 1, 2011 at 8:35 am

Okay, mine looks similar, but a little different. Now I want to make yours!

4 mvor February 1, 2011 at 10:00 am

This is such a cool idea – you should post it on the “What’s for Dinner” thread in the Fodor’s Lounge. (Thanks for the vegetarian option!) Off to look at Soup Chick’s site.

5 formerchef February 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm

mvor-Thanks, I always try to include a vegetarian option whenever it makes sense. That’s why I’ve started using the tag on some recipes called “vegetarian-friendly.”

6 Charles G Thompson February 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm

A soup swap. What a great idea. I printed out your recipe as I have some Rancho Gordo beans that I received as a gift that I need to cook — sounds like a perfect recipe for them.

7 formerchef February 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

You should do the soup swap Charles! It’s really fun and not too late to do it for this winter. I have a feeling we’ll still have some cold weather coming.

8 Therese - Artistta February 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm

This looks very good and I’ll have to try it soon. I was just trying to decide what I wanted to do with some homemade italian sausage. This looks tasty and affordable! Thank you for sharing.

9 Jenn @LeftoverQueen February 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Very cool idea!

10 Tiffany March 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Awesome! My family is so in to beans right now and this would be a great dinner. Glad to hear your soup swap was a success. 🙂

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