A Deliciously Tasty Navy Bean Soup Recipe

Also known as Boston Beans, Navy beans are called such because they’ve been a staple on US Naval ships since the 1800s. The military found that they kept well, were economical, easy to prepare, and nutritious.

The origin of Navy bean soup is not a hundred percent clear, but what is known, is that an early 20th century senator wanted it served in the dining hall of the prestigious Washington DC building. It’s said that Frank DuBois, the gentleman from Idaho, managed to get a resolution passed, and the soup has been served in the senate every day since then.

It must still be beloved, because the chefs in the senate kitchen make at least 5 gallons of it each morning. For our recipe, we’ve taken bits of the senate navy bean recipe, and added delicious ingredients and flavors we are sure you’ll love.

A Deliciously Tasty Navy Bean Soup Recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Total: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Servings: 8


  • 1 pound of dried Navy beans
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1–2 cups of chopped ham (optional)
  • 4 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • juice of half a lemon


1. Rinse the beans thoroughly and check for foreign objects like stones and twigs.

2. Soak beans overnight or do a quick soak (directions are in bean package).

3. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.

4. Add the onion, carrots, and celery along with the black pepper, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes.

5. Add the bay leaf, ham bone, chopped ham (if applicable), add the stock and 2 cups of the water, and add the beans. Cover the pot and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Stir occasionally, and add the rest of the water if needed.

6. When beans and vegetables are tender, taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary.

7. Remove the ham bone and pick any remaining meat and add it to the soup. Remove the bay leaf.

8. Turn heat off and add the lemon and parsley. Mix well.

9. Serve and enjoy


  • If you prefer a creamier soup, run a few cups of beans through a blender or food processor.
  • If beans are pre-soaked, you can take about 10 to 15 minutes off the cooking time.

Nutritional Information

  • calories: 709
  • carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • protein: 6 grams
  • fat: 5 grams
  • cholesterol: 15 milligrams
  • sodium: 413 milligrams
  • potassium: 132 grams
  • fiber: 1 gram
  • sugar: 2 grams
  • calcium: 24 grams
  • iron: 1 milligram

Why Should You Eat Navy Bean Soup?

Navy bean soup is not only filling and delicious, but it’s good for you too. It’s full of potassium, calcium, vitamin A, fiber, and iron. All of these ingredients help the body systems to function better. For example, the fiber helps with digestion, and potassium aids with muscle synthesis and blood pressure.

Navy bean soup is also fabulous if you’re on a budget. The ingredients are inexpensive, and a big pot will last you several lunches and dinners.

How Long Will Navy Bean Soup Last?

Navy bean soup will be fine in your fridge for about 3–5 days, in an airtight container. Should you want to save it longer, Place it in the freezer. In the proper containers, it will last about 6 months.

Did The Original Navy Bean Soup Recipe Have Potatoes?

The original Navy bean soup did in fact contain mashed potatoes. The senator that passed the soup resolution was from Idaho after all, so he required that potatoes be an ingredient.

After some time, the Senate chefs removed the potatoes from the recipe. However, it does sound delicious, you may want to give it a try.

Can You Add Or Substitute Ingredients To Your Navy Bean Soup Recipe?

You can add or substitute whatever you like to personalize your soup. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can remove the ham and the bone and substitute it with some liquid smoke for a nice hickory flavor.

If you’re short on Navy beans, or don’t care for them, you can use Great Northern beans or Cannellini beans. You might also enjoy the addition of spinach or kale to the soup. Adding some Parmesan cheese to your bowl can give your soup a tasty tang.

What Goes Well With Navy Bean Soup?

Navy bean soup is great on its own as a lunch or light dinner. However, it’s also nice to add a little side or two to go along with it. Here are a few delicious suggestions.

1. Corn Bread

Corn bread is great for dipping in this thick soup because it won’t be dripping.

2. Dinner Rolls/Biscuits

Classic and easy. Just slap on some butter and enjoy.

3. Salad

Whether it’s a simple green, or a more involved arugula or chef, salad is always a great choice.

4. Roasted Sweet Potatoes

If you’re looking for something substantial, try some wholesome and hearty roasted sweet potatoes. Add some herbs and spices for some extra zing.

5. Coleslaw

Crunchy coleslaw is always a nice contrast to the smooth soup.

6. Apple Sauce

This is a classic side with any pork dish. It helps aid digestion.

7. French Fries

Whether they are the sweet potato, russet, or zucchini fries, they’re guaranteed to dress up you soup.

8. Brussels Sprouts With Bacon

Brussels sprouts have become an iconic side in recent years. Sprinkling them with some crispy bacon will have everybody squealing with joy.

What Other Types Of Food Is Served In The Senate Dining Room?

All this talk about The Senate dining room, the old curiosity up as to what else they serve there. If you’re wondering too, here’s the scoop. In addition to Navy bean soup, the dining hall serves chicken, tomato Basil, vegetable, and roasted corn chowder soups as well.

During summer, Monday is Italian day, Tuesday is tacos, Wednesday is Cuban food, Thursday is Summer picnic, and Friday is Creole/Cajun day. The themes change every few months. There is also a grill and sandwich station.

You can also read:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *