This hearty ham and white bean soup recipe is loaded with vegetables, beans, and delicious flavors! Navy beans, carrots, parsnips, herbs, and ham are cooked together for a savory soup that's great for leftovers as well. This soup is high in fiber and protein as well as being gluten-free!
The Best Navy Bean and Ham Soup!
Loaded With Flavor. I love using pork hocks or a leftover meaty ham bone in this recipe because the bone adds so much flavor to the stock of this soup! (p.s. Cubed leftover ham may be used as well.) Add in carrots, onion, celery, parsnips, beans, and herbs for an easy but super delicious soup.
Great Leftovers! This is one of those soups that just keeps on getting better. It keeps, freezes, and reheats really well so it's perfect for meal prepping as well! I love eating the leftovers for lunches during the week.
Healthy. This bean soup recipe that is packed full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and is gluten-free! Pair it with a side salad to keep it light and healthy!
Ham and White Beans Soup Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you will need to make ham and navy bean soup:
- Dry Navy Beans: use dried navy beans, great northern beans, or cannellini beans in this recipe. You can also use a combination of all three.
- Pork Hock or Ham Bone: a ham bone soup will give so much flavor to the broth when cooked, so using pork ham hocks of a meaty ham bone is best.
- Olive Oil: you can use any cooking oil of your choice if you prefer.
- Onion: I suggest white, yellow, or sweet onion in this recipe, and you can use any variety you like.
- Carrots: I used whole carrots, but you can also toss in the prepared baby cut for ease.
- Chicken Broth: use regular broth or low sodium broth if you're concerned about over salting. When I did the photos for this soup I remade it and realized I was out of broth. I substituted chicken bouillon granules and dissolved them in water according to the instructions. It had more flavor than broth so I would suggest trying it sometime!
- White Wine Vinegar: use to add brightness and acidity.
- Dried Thyme
- Dried Marjoram
- Bay Leaf: leave it whole so you can easily remove it when you're done.
- Ground Black Pepper: freshly ground black pepper gives extra flavor to the broth.
- Parsnips: wash and peel prior to slicing. Parsnips are a root vegetable that looks similar to carrots but has a bit of a sweet and spicier licorice flavor.
For exact ingredient quantities, please see the recipe card below!
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Variations and Substitutions
- Use leftover cooked ham may be used in place of ham hocks or a ham bone.
- Use fresh herbs in place of dried herbs if desired-use equal measurements for the recipe.
- Use chicken bouillon granules or cubes to make the equivalent of 4 cups of chicken broth.
- Use vegetable stock in place of chicken broth if desired.
- Omit the ham and use vegetable stock to make this recipe vegetarian. Add extra beans to add in protein.
- Add red pepper flakes or chipotle powder to add a little heat.
- Add half of a lemon to add fresh lemon juice into your soup for acidity and flavor.
- Add egg noodles to your soup if desired; allow time to let the noodles get tender, and serve when ready.
- You can add small diced russet potato to the soup to add extra volume.
How To Make Bean and Ham Soup
This is intended as an overview only. For detailed instructions, please see the recipe card below. Enjoy!
1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven and sauté the vegetables until tender.
2. Stir in prepared dried beans, ham hocks or bone, seasonings, vinegar, and broth.
3. Cover and simmer until beans are tender and the ham pulls easily from the bone.
4. Remove ham bone. Pull any meat off the bone then add back to the soup. Discard the bone and remove the bay leaf.
How To Serve White Bean and Ham Soup
Adjust seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or chives.
Serve with some crusty bread, crackers or garlic bread.
Pair with a small side salad to keep it light and mix in vegetables and use your favorite salad dressing.
- To save time, skip sauteeing the vegetables - just add all the ingredients(except the carrots and parsnips) and bring to a boil. You may lose some depth of flavor, but it will save some time.
- You can use leftover cubed ham in this recipe, but I highly recommend using a ham bone or ham hocks to infuse the extra flavor from the bones into your broth for the best flavor!
A bland soup can happen when you don't add enough seasoning and herbs. Carrots, parsnips, and celery hold a lot of water, so when cooked, they release water, which can bland out a soup. Add seasonings and herbs to taste and boost the flavor.
Ham and bean soup can get salty because, depending upon they type of ham used, can be very salty. If you are unsure, reduce the amount of salt added. You can also use a low sodium broth and add salt to taste after cooking.
Allow your soup to cool, then transfer to an air-tight container. Store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
From the fridge: transfer the amount you would like to reheat to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and warm in 30-second increments until the desired temperature is reached. You can also reheat in a saucepan on the stove.
From frozen: pull it from the freezer 24 hours prior to serving, and thaw it in the fridge. Once thawed, follow the above directions from the fridge to reheat.
Transfer to an air-tight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Ham and White Bean Soup
- 1 cup dry navy, great Northern, or cannellini beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (butter can also be used)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 4 stalks celery (sliced)
- 3 medium carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 3 medium parsnips (peeled and sliced ½" thick)
- 4 cups chicken broth (4 cups of water and the equivalent of bouillon granules may be used)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1½ pounds meaty pork hocks or ham bone
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt (plus extra to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (plus extra to taste)
To Prepare Beans
- Bring 4 cups of water and dried beans to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Alternatively, you can cover the beans with 4 cups of water and let them soak overnight. Drain, rinse, and set aside until ready to use.
To Make The Soup
- Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and turnips. Saute until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in beans, ham hocks or bone, thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaf, white wine vinegar, and chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until the beans are tender.
- Remove hocks or bone. Pull any meat off the bone, then add it back to the soup. Discard the remaining bone and remove the bay leaf. Adjust seasoning to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- VARIATIONS: Leftover cooked cubed ham may be used in place of ham bone; use fresh herbs in place of dried (about 1 tablespoon of fresh to each teaspoon of dried); I ran out of broth when making this recipe and used 8 teaspoons of granulated chicken bouillon mixed with 4 cups of water. You can do the same, just follow the instructions on the package to make the equivalent amount of broth.
- TIPS: There are a variety of salt levels between types of ham. It is best to adjust the salt after cooking to avoid oversalting; To save some time, you can skip sauteeing the vegetables - just add all the ingredients (except carrots and turnips) and bring to a boil. You will lose some flavor but gain some time.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Adjust seasoning to taste and garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or chives.
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