Navy Bean Soup with Bacon & Ham

Navy Bean Soup with Bacon

For as long as I can remember, the hallmark of Navy Bean soup has been the old standby, Senate Navy Bean soup – wonderful as it is, I’ve found that even those who don’t care for it like this highly flavorful Navy Bean Soup with Bacon. I’ve been making this soup for close to 40 years, now, and it is, hands down, my family’s all time favorite.

Navy Bean Soup with Bacon & Ham

Navy Bean Soup with Bacon & Ham

I know there’s a few “strange” ingredients in this soup that aren’t often found in your basic bean soups. Trust me on this one, none of the flavors stand out on their own – the soy, thyme and oregano blend beautifully; the potato with the milk lends just enough body to make the broth wonderfully satisfying, and the bacon – what can I say?

This soup is the perfect candidate for your leftover ham bone. Try it – you’ll thank me, and so will your wallet! 12 servings of this soup run $2.95, so there is plenty of room in your budget for a marvelous corn bread and/or salad.

Navy Bean Soup with Bacon

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 1 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 ham bone
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 12 cups chicken stock or water or a combination
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and diced (one very large or two medium)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped celery (around 3 good-sized stalks)
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion (3 medium)
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped carrot (3 large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley, chives or sliced green onion for garnish, as desired.

Drain beans, rinse if desired. Place in a large pot and add 12 cups of stock, bay leaf, tamari and thyme, along with the ham bone. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 – 40 minutes, till beans are just tender.

Meanwhile, in another pan, cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash potatoes with 1/2 cup milk and set aside.

Fry bacon, remove and set aside, then saute vegetables, garlic and parsley in three tablespoons of drippings. (Note: if you’re watching your cholesterol, use oil.) If there are not enough drippings, add a bit of oil or butter. After the vegetables have softened, add to beans along with the oregano, and simmer, one hour or so.

Remove about one cup of beans and the bone, along with any chunks of meat. (Note: although I’m not overly picky about this, I do try to avoid the carrots as I remove the beans – most of the carrots will be floating on the top. They can make the soup look orange when mashed.)

Mash the beans and return to the pot along with the mashed potato mixture. Shred the chunks of ham and any ham remaining on the bone. Discard bone and return meat to the pot.

Simmer gently about 10 more minutes to thicken the soup. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper as desired. Crumble the reserved bacon and sprinkle over the individual servings. Garnish with reserved bacon, parsley, chives or sliced green onion, as desired.

Note: The bacon may be mixed in with the soup instead of being used as a garnish, although I prefer it crisp on the top; it will lose it’s crispness if mixed in with the soup as a whole.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving money/time, buying at the best prices and managing this recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! Every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings!

Kitchen & Cooking Hacks:

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Per Serving (about 2 cups): 196 Calories; 2g Fat (11.9% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 10g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 230mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat.

Put Your Own Spin on it:

  • Consider serving this with biscuits, maybe leftover from ham dinner, or vary it up and serve with corn muffins, Spider Cake, or Parmesan toasts.  (Spread thick slices of bread with a mixture of butter and garlic salt, sprinkle with Parmesan and broil.)
  • Garnish as you wish, with parsley, chives or green onion.
  • A drizzle of vinegar gives this soup a little zip, and I know people (but I’ll never tell who they are, but NOT me!) who actually like a little ketchup mixed in this soup.

My PayOff: 

  • A dirt cheap, hearty soup that so flavorful and filling, you’d never guess it was a budget meal.
  • It has a good amount of fiber, is low in fat, fairly low in carbs (and they’re the good kind) and full of vegetables.
  • This one soup will make several meals for my family

Recipe made and priced in 2012 as $2.00 – I repriced in February 2014 as $2.95.

The Best Navy Bean Soup with Bacon. The picture's not much but the soup is great!

Helpful Links:

If you came to this recipe looking for a way to use your leftover holiday ham, be sure to check out the link below for 12 Days of Ham. You might want to see the sister post for 12 Days of Turkey, too.


One thought on “Navy Bean Soup with Bacon

  1. Pingback: Navy Bean & Bacon Soup (Canning) | Ms. Skinny Bitch

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