Use holiday leftovers to make homemade soup in minutes – umm good!

By: Jodie Shield, RD

All that leftover New Year’s Day ham – how many sandwiches can you eat?  I always save a few slices and make this super easy Tuscan-inspired soup.  Simply sauté the onions in good olive oil, then toss everything into a large pot and simmer for a half hour.  Homemade stock tastes the best, but in a pinch I use Emeril’s All Natural Chicken Flavored stock.  Sweet vadelia onions balance the saltiness of the ham, but the star ingredient is canned white cannellini beans.  (Sorry the bacon is just a garnish I used for the photo!)  Rinse the beans under running water and wash away about 40-percent of the sodium.  Serve this hearty soup with my classic spinach salad and for dessert chocolate pudding cake. 

Tuscan White Bean and Plum Tomato Soup

8 servings

Prep Time = 15 minutes

Cooking Time = 30 minutes


  • 2 cups diced sweet onions (2 medium – large onions)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (48 ounce) container reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (28 ounce) can plum tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional


  1. In large pot, over medium-high heat, sauté onions in olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes (squish them in your hand first), beans, and ham; heat to boil.
  2. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in Parmesan cheese if using.

Nutritional Information per 1 cup serving: 197 calories, 13 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrate, 5.5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 6.5 grams fiber, 925 milligrams sodium



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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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