Vegetarian Navy Bean Soup
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Navy Bean Soup Recipe: Want to make a vegetarian version of our classic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup? This Vegan Navy Bean Soup is loaded with vegetables and packed with flavor.
Navy Bean Soup History
Ahoy matey! All aboard the history ship, while you cook this incredibly tasty Vegetarian Navy Bean Soup Recipe.
Why such a strange introduction to a soup recipe?
Bet you didn’t know that Navy Bean Soup is a staple dish in Naval history.
According to the 1902 General Mess Manual and Cook Book, Navy Bean Soup is essentially large amounts of water used to dilute salt pork and boiling beans to create bean, ham, and water soup.
I bet you also didn’t know that Navy Bean Soup has been a staple in the Senate cafeteria since the early twentieth century. Because of this, the ever-popular White Bean Soup Recipe earned the additional name of Senate Bean Soup.
This classic dish, served in the cafeteria of the Senate and on United States Naval Ships, has evolved over time, incorporating a few more ingredients for the best possible flavor. Navy Bean Soup is an American staple in homes today.
Vegetarian Navy Bean Soup Recipe (+ Vegan)
We’ve already posted the best Navy Bean and Ham Bone Soup you will ever taste… Ahem, my mom’s recipe.
However, we felt we should also offer you a vegetarian and vegan version for non-meat eaters.
Today’s recipe is our Vegetarian twist on the traditional Navy Bean Soup that you’ve indulged in at your grandma’s house on Easter, or maybe the Senate cafeteria if you’re lucky enough.
It offers the comforting appeal of traditional Senate Bean Soup, while relying on extra herbs, spices, and veggies for the rustic flavor.
Vegetarian Bean Soup Recipe Ingredients
- Dried navy beans – A great source of fiber.
- Olive oil – To saute the vegetables.
- Onion and garlic – Adds so much zesty flavor.
- Carrots – To bring in color and sweetness.
- Celery – To create deep herby flavor.
- Red bell pepper – For additional color and tangy essence.
- Thyme – To provide a bold fresh herby essence.
- Cumin – To add a little smoky flavor.
- Crushed red pepper – Add a little or a lot.
- Bay leaves – To bring in a deep herbal note.
- Vegetable broth – The soup base.
- Italian parsley – Added at the end for freshness.
- Salt and black pepper – Always.
How To Make Navy Bean Soup
- Prep the beans. The Night Before: Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover it with three inches of water (this is just enough water to coat the beans). Soak the beans overnight (up to 24 hours) to soften and then drain.
- Saute the vegetables. Place a large pot over medium heat to medium-high heat. Add the oil, onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
- Add the beans. Then add in the drained beans, thyme, ground cumin, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and vegetable broth.
- Simmer. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the beans are very soft.
- Freshen up! Once the beans are soft. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve.
Get The Full (Printable) White Bean Soup Recipe Below!
Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup
Want to make a Crockpot Navy Bean Soup Recipe variation?
- Saute on the stovetop. Set a large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
- Dump in the crockpot. Pour the sautéed vegetables into a large slow cooker. Then add in the drained beans, thyme, ground cumin, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and vegetable broth.
- Slow cook. Cover and slow cooker, and set on high for 5-6 hours, or on low for 10-12 hours.
Vegetarian Bean Soup FAQ
How Long Do Dried Beans Need To Soak?
You should soak the dried navy beans in water for at least eight hours, but overnight is best. This recipe will not work well if you just rinse the beans before making this soup.
How Long Does Vegetarian Navy Bean Soup Last?
You can bag the soup and freeze it for up to a few months, or it will last about one week in the refrigerator in an airtight container. That makes this a great MEAL PREP recipe!
Can I Use Canned Navy Beans?
Yes, yet you will need to reduce the salt, because canned beans contain a lot of sodium. It takes about 4 – 15 ounce cans of beans to take the place of one pound of dried beans.
Can I Substitute A Different Bean For Navy Beans?
Yes. Consider, cannellini beans, pinto beans, or red kidney beans.
How Can I Thicken My Vegetarian Bean Soup?
Bean soup thickens on its own the longer it cooks. If you want to thicken it more, you can stir in 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch until you reach your desired consistency.
Can I Cook This Vegan Bean Soup In The Crockpot?
Yes! Set on high for 5-6 hours, or on low for 10-12 hours
More Amazing Vegetarian Soup Recipes
- Creamy Poblano Pepper Soup
- Buffalo Cauliflower Soup
- Tomatoes & Potato White Bean Soup
- Spicy Southwest Pumpkin Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup
- Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup with Great Northern Beans
Check out the printable recipe card below for the nutrition information including calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, protein, potassium, fiber, vitamin c, and calcium percentages.
Vegetarian Navy Bean Soup Recipe
- 1 pound dried navy beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- Salt and pepper
- The Night Before: Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with three inches of water. Soak the dried beans overnight (up to 24 hours) to soften. Drain when ready to use.
- Place a large 6 quart pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
- Then add in the drained beans, thyme, ground cumin, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and vegetable broth. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes, covered, until the beans are very soft. Uncover and stir occasionally, then place the lid back on top.
- Once the beans are soft and silky, remove the bay leaves. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve.
- Slow Cooker Instructions:
Set a large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
- Pour the sautéed vegetables in a large slow cooker. Then add in the drained beans, thyme, ground cumin, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and vegetable broth. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Cover and slow cooker, and set on high for 5-6 hours, or on low for 10-12 hours.
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I really, really, really like bean soup of most any kind. I served it with cornbread, fried potatoes and sliced tomatoes.
Thank you, Sommer! I made this soup in the slow cooker, my house smelled so good! The soup is awesome! The doubled the carrots, and celery. Plenty of leftovers going to be enjoyed.
This soup was absolutely delicious! It’s going to be regular in my my house.
This soup was absolutely delicious!
This was delicious!
Took quite a bit longer to the beans soft that I was expecting but the result was delicious! Even my picky 9 year old ate it. It went perfectly with my homemade sourdough.
(Used combo of better than boullion “not beef” and “vegetable“)
Wonderful height and excellent taste. So easy, too!
I just made this for the first time and loved, loved, loved it!! I hope enjoyed using the different spices for seasonings and didn’t miss the salt at all. I’ll make this a regular go to. Thanks.
How long would you cook this for if you are using canned beans (drained)?
If you want to use canned beans, simmer the soup for about 25-30 minutes.
was searching for a recipe for navy beans — delicious! slowly sauteed veggies until sofrito-texture, added carrots during the last half hour. family enjoyed with garlic bread. thanks for a great recipe!
It did not disappoint!!!
I forgot to add that one time I added fresh spinach straight into the mix as it was cooking and that is a great addition! Adds color and taste. Will always be adding that in the future!
Both my wife and I love this recipe. It embodies great taste and is great either alone or as a part of a larger meal. We have now eaten it three times and are making another batch tomorrow. Thanks for a wonderful experience!
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I REALLY like that it includes lots of garlic. I’m just trying to figure out where to find organic navy beans that will actually cook. Also, as another reviewer commented, I noticed the sodium content is nearly a day’s worth. Because I aim to follow a heart healthy regimen, I’ll have to reduce it considerably probably by simply eliminating the veg broth or using a salt free version or maybe none at all. Will get back once I’ve tried it. Thanks for posting. Great blog!
I used the spice mixture in an instant pot with better than bullion vegetable base for a group dinner and it was wonderful! Keep it up!!!
Help! Please help me save my soup. I had old beans. I soaked them in room temperature, changed the water every day, for at least 4 days. The water was barely absorbed and the beans didn’t even sprout! I put them in my crock pot to cook for 12 hours. They never softened. Then I put everything, the sauteed veggies, chicken broth for vegetable broth, and more water, in a stock pot, on the stove, with a little bit of baking soda, on medium boil for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour, and the beans finally softened. But I want to gag….there is no taste. Can this be rescued? Can I add basil, add meat, add more veggies, to the now thick soup? M
I hope you were able to save your beans! Did you happen to purchase them at Whole Foods? I ask because I’ve had the same bad experience with their (so called organic) black beans and split peas. For some odd reason, they never soften during the cooking process. Yet, if I go to the store today, I’ll find the same (strange) beans in the bulk foods section. I’ve never had this happen with any other beans — old or new. And, I’ve been cooking beans for decades.
I wanted to make this soup, but then I saw the amount of sodium and had to change my mind. Is there any way to reduce the sodium in the recipe? I have heart problems and have to limit my salt intake.
Most of the sodium comes from the vegetable broth. You can certainly buy low sodium broth and that would make a big difference.
Wow.! Excellent vegeterian soup recipe. Will try this tomorrow for sure.
Thanks for sharing!
Y U M !!
Everyone im my family loved this comforting meal! Can’t wait to make it again!
This looks amazing! I want to add some spinach too!
I love a warm, hearty soup in the fall! Thanks for a good one!
This sounds delicious! For the vegetable broth, is it 10 cups? The recipe just has “10”.