Navy Bean Soup

On a cold December night, what could be more comforting than a hearty soup that can be made with ingredients you already have. This soup is a cinch to prepare, it’s nutritious, and it can be stretched to feed the masses. Plus, it’s even better on the second day.

Stock your pantry with cans of broth and navy beans this season, and don’t feel guilty about the shortcuts. Use this recipe as a guide, then add what’s on hand. Soup recipes don’t have to be followed precisely. You’re bound only by the ingredients in your kitchen and by your imagination. This soup is hearty enough to be a meal in itself, but add a loaf of crusty bread and a green salad, and you’ll have a meal fit for company.

– Judy Feagin

The Recipe:


1 large onion, chopped medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 15-ounce cans navy beans, drained and rinsed


In a large Dutch oven over moderately high heat, saute onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in hot oil about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add parsley and the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.




This small, white, oval-shaped bean gets its name from the fact that the United States Navy has served it in its mess halls since the mid-1800s. Navy beans are often used in canned pork and beans. They can be substituted for white kidney, cannellini, or great northern beans.



Have It Your Way: Soup Variations
  • White Bean Chili
    Make the Navy Bean Soup recipe, then add 1 9-ounce package Southwestern-style grilled chicken, 1 7-ounce can chopped green chiles, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Serve with chopped green onion, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, salsa, and tortilla chips.
  • Easy Senate Bean Soup
    Cook 3 strips of bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside, reserving bacon drippings. Proceed with Navy Bean Soup recipe, but saute onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in bacon drippings. To the original ingredients list add 1-½ cups diced ham, 2 bay leaves, and a pinch of sage. Just before serving, remove bay leaves and sprinkle soup with crumbled bacon.
  • Mediterranean Bean Soup
    Cut 1 yellow bell pepper into ¼-inch strips and slice 2 zucchini squash into half moons. Saute these vegetables in olive oil in a Dutch oven, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Proceed with Navy Bean Soup recipe, but omit 1 can of navy beans and add 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice, cut into quarters. Also add 1 9-ounce package of Italian-flavored grilled chicken breast strips, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and ½ teaspoon dried thyme. Simmer 15 minutes, then add reserved pepper and zucchini and 2 cups fresh baby spinach. Return to a boil and cook 2 minutes longer. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
  • Roasted Vegetable Soup
    Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over ½ pound baby carrots, ½ pound quartered new potatoes, and 1 large onion, cut into wedges. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake 30 minutes at 450° or until vegetables are tender, stirring after 15 minutes. Then, prepare Navy Bean Soup, omitting 1 can of beans. Add roasted vegetables 5 minutes before serving


Cooking & Recipes


8 cups

Preparation Time: 

10 minutes

Start to Finish Time: 

30 minutes

Preparation Method

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