This Navy Beans Recipe is pure comfort food. Tender white beans simmer with ham, aromatic veggies, cherry tomatoes and plenty of herbs for the most flavorful bowl of beans ever.
Make them quick and easy with canned beans, or go with dried, either way our simple recipe is going to give you new appreciation for the humble legume.
Legumes and beans stand out as some of the most nutritious yet wallet-friendly ingredients available. And there’s so many different ways to cook them.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Bold, Rich Flavors: The medley of ham, aromatic herbs, and fresh vegetables creates a bold and comforting flavor that the whole family will love.
- Nutrient-Packed: Navy beans are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, protein, and nutrients. Plus, a variety of veggies helps boost the vitamin factor.
- Easy Preparation: With simple ingredients and straightforward steps, this white bean recipe is easy to follow, making it ideal for both weeknight dinners and special occasions.
- Budget Friendly: Beans are one of the most inexpensive ingredients out there. This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover holiday ham. It’s one of our favorite Cheap Dinner Ideas.
- Adjustable Consistency: The ability to adjust the stew’s consistency by adding water allows you to achieve your preferred texture.
- One-Pot Wonder: All the ingredients come together in one skillet, making cleanup a breeze and ensuring flavors meld beautifully.
You can find exact measurements in the recipe card at the end of the post. Here is what you will need:
- Navy Beans – Navy beans, also known as Boston beans or pea beans, are creamy and have a mild flavor, making them a perfect canvas for the other flavors in the dish. Cannellini or Great Northern beans could be used as substitutes.
- Olive Oil – A fat that forms the base for sautéing. You might also use butter or bacon grease for a varied flavor profile.
- Ham – The secret ingredient. It adds a rich, savory flavor to the dish. You can also use bacon, sausage, or omit it entirely for a meatless dinner.
- Carrot, Celery, and Onion – These classic aromatics lay a flavorful foundation for the dish, and are crucial for building depth of flavor.
- Garlic – Fresh is best, but garlic powder could work in a pinch.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Adds a sweet, tangy, and fresh element to the dish. Grape tomatoes or diced regular tomatoes can be used as alternatives.
- Chicken Stock or Broth – Contributes to the savory aspect of the dish and helps in achieving the desired consistency. Vegetable broth or water with a bouillon cube can be used instead.
- Bay Leaf, Thyme, and Rosemary – These herbs add a lot to the dish. If you happen to have fresh rosemary or thyme available, use triple the amount you would with dried.
- Salt – To taste towards the end. You may not need any, as both the ham and broth contribute to the saltiness.
- Black Pepper – Also to taste.
- Fresh Parsley – For garnish.
Easy Navy Beans Recipe
1. Brown ham: Sauté diced ham over medium-high heat until it begins to brown up and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
2. Sauté aromatics: Add a little more oil, then sauté carrot, celery and onion until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
3. Blister tomatoes: Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they begin to blister, about another 5 minutes.
4. Finish the dish: Add in chicken broth and stir the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add in beans, herbs and browned ham.
Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 15 minutes, adding in some additional water if you prefer a soupier consistency. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper towards the end of cooking time.
How to Prepare Dried Beans
If using dry beans, they must first be soaked and cooked. For this recipe, use about 1.5 cups of dried beans.
For an overnight soak, place beans in a large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours.
Alternately, you can use the quick soak method. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring the water to a rapid boil and let the beans boil for about 2-3 minutes. After boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a lid, and let the beans soak for about 1 hour.
Drain, then refill the pot with water. Salt generously. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the soaked beans for about 1.5-2 hours, or until they are soft to your liking.
How you serve the beans depend on your preferred consistency. If you add more water to make them soupier, a side of crusty bread is perfect for dipping.
We often cook ours a little drier. In that case, ladle some beans atop a bed of rice for a hearty meal. You can also try other grains like farro or quinoa, or small pasta shapes like orzo.
If you want a side dish to go with your beans, think a fresh salad or green vegetable.
Storage and Reheating
These navy beans make great leftovers, and are perfect for meal prep. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on stove top over medium heat, or in the microwave, with a splash of additional water.
They also freeze well in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge the day before eating.
Easy, tasty, nutritious, and satisfying. That’s our navy bean recipe for you. Make a big batch, and see just how good a simple pot of beans can be.
Make sure to save or pin this recipe, it will be a great addition to your cooking repertoire. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new easy recipes for you!
Navy Beans, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 8oz ham, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- ½ small onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 15oz cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley, for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add diced ham and sauté until it begins to brown up and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Add remining tablespoon of olive oil. Add diced carrot, celery and onion. Sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they begin to blister, about another 5 minutes.
- Add in chicken broth and stir the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add in beans, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and browned ham. Mix well. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 15 minutes, adding in some water if you prefer a soupier consistency. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve navy beans immediately on their own, or atop rice. Garnish with fresh parsley.
- 1.5 cups of dried beans can be used in place of canned. Refer to the body of the post for soaking and cooking instructions.
- Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or on stovetop over medium heat, adding additional water if desired.
- This recipe can be scaled using the same ratios.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 465Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 38mgSodium 1570mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 24gSugar 4gProtein 31g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
Never miss a recipe!
Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.