Navy Bean and Ham Soup Recipe: Cooking with Dried Beans

Dried beans. 

I can’t say enough good things about them.

You can stretch a dollar and your food budget with dried beans and peas.

A pound bag cost around $1.00 around here. More or less.

Dried beans are also an excellent source of protein and fiber, low in fat and sodium and contain no cholesterol or sugar. Most beans, especially blackeyes, contain high levels of folate, the B vitamin that can help prevent certain birth defects and heart diseases.

Over the years I have stretched a many a meal with dried beans. I usually cook the dried beans one day to have with a meal.

And then I use the left over beans for soup the next day or so. These are navy beans.

Pinto and kidney beans I use for chili. I have used the northern or navy beans also in chili.

Always check the beans for any small stones that may be in with the beans. I have found stones in with dried beans before.  Always rinse the beans good before cooking.

To cook dried beans: I put half a regular size bag of beans (if your family is large use a whole bag) in a saucepan.  Fill above the beans 3 or 4 inches with water and bring to a boil.  Boil for a minute or 2 and turn the heat off. Let the beans soak for an hour or 2. You can even soak overnight without boiling.

Pour that water off they are soaking in. That water has the gas power in it. (You know, bean gas.)

Refill the pan with water covering 3 or 4 inches because the beans will swell when cooking.

I season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.

You can also use bouillon cubes or meat to season the beans.

When I boil a chicken or cook a beef roast I save the broth and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then I use the cubes for seasoning beans and soups.

Bring the beans to a boil then turn the burner down to low or warm and simmer.

Black eyed peas you will only need to cook 30-45 minutes. Pinto, Great Northern, Kidney, Navy beans will need to simmer 1-2 hours until tender.

Refrigerate the leftover beans. I think the beans are always better the 2nd day. The seasonings and flavor mingle over night.

The you can get creative and make soups.

One soup we like is Navy bean and ham. Over the years I have adjusted what we like in it, and you can do the same. Just add or substitute vegetables and ingredients your family likes.

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked navy beans
5 cups of water
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 cup of diced tomatoes (or 1 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes with or without the liquid)
chicken bouillon cube
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tsp thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic minced
6 ounces of cooked ham, about 1 cup (I use left over ham from the night before)
1 and 1/2 cup shredded fresh spinach or cabbage
(I also add some sliced bell pepper.)
On the seasonings, just add what you have or like. Sometimes I just add a dash of Italian seasoning instead of the other spices. The idea is to save money and use what you have.
Add beans, water, carrots, onions, celery, bouillon cube,basil, thyme, pepper, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer covered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Stir in ham, tomatoes, spinach or cabbage. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more.
Discard bay leaves.

If you don’t eat meat or care for ham you can just leave it out. It is still a good vegetable soup without the meat. With the dried beans it will still has a lot of protein. Or you can add other meat like chicken if that is your left overs on hand.

This is great with fresh baked corn bread!

Does your family eat dried beans? What is your favorite recipes using them?

Have a great day!

  • Published on Apr 14, 2010
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