This quick and delicious bean soup recipe is a favorite of mine. I make this all the time when I want something warm and comforting. It’s also really easy to adjust to your tastes, so you can tweak it based on what ingredients you have on hand or what flavors you’re craving that day.
4 cups water
2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
1/2 cup diced ham steak, chopped into bite-size pieces (about 1/2 inch thick) or 2 ounces sliced deli ham, cut into small squares or thin strips
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
1 tablespoon seasoned salt (see note)
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 pound smoked ham hock
is a great addition to this soup. You can also use ham bone or pork shoulder, but you’ll want to make sure it’s fully cooked before adding it to your pot. Ham hocks are inexpensive and often sold in the same section as bacon at your local grocery store!
2 small onions, diced
To dice an onion, first cut off the ends of the onion. Place your knife at a 45 degree angle and make vertical cuts from top to bottom, slicing through the skin but not going all the way through it. Then rotate your knife 90 degrees and make horizontal cuts through each layer until you reach where you started.
Now you should have what looks like little cubes of onion (you can also use this method to chop or slice). If you want smaller pieces, cut each cube in half again before dicing those halves into quarters or eighths.
To chop an onion: Cut off both ends so that only about 1 inch remains on each side; then stand up one end and hold it with one hand while slicing horizontally with a chef’s knife held in your other hand; continue cutting until all of your onion is chopped into small pieces (about 1/4 inch wide), discarding any pieces larger than this size as needed so they don’t get mixed into whatever dish you’re preparing later on down its preparation line!
1 tablespoon salt
You may not know this, but salt is a preservative. It helps keep food from spoiling, which means it can be kept longer without going bad. Salt also helps preserve the flavor of your soup–and we all know how much better salty foods taste than unsalted ones!
Salt is also a tenderizer that breaks down proteins in meat and makes them easier to chew (and digest), so don’t be afraid to add some extra salt when you’re cooking up ham hocks or other types of meaty cuts like chicken thighs or beef brisket.
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish.
Add the parsley to your soup and serve it immediately.
4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
Garlic is a very healthy food. It’s used in many recipes and it’s loaded with vitamin B6, manganese, selenium and vitamin C. Garlic also provides dietary fiber which helps to keep your digestive system moving along smoothly.
6 cups water
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
The main ingredient in this bean soup recipe is water, so use filtered water if you can. The amount of liquid will vary depending on the type of bean you use and whether or not you plan to add ham hocks or bacon later on in the cooking process. If using dried beans, make sure there’s enough liquid to cover them by at least 2 inches–you don’t want your soup too thin! On the other hand, if using canned beans with no added liquid at all (like kidney beans), add enough water so that everything is submerged by about an inch when fully cooked; otherwise it’ll end up being too thick.*
3 cups dried navy beans or other small white beans, rinsed and picked over
You’ll need 3 cups dried navy beans or other small white beans, rinsed and picked over. Navy beans are small, white beans that have a creamy texture when cooked. Other good options include cannellini (a white kidney bean) and great northern.
To soak your dried navy beans overnight: Add salt to the water before cooking (1 teaspoon per quart of water). Place rinsed and picked over dried navy beans in a large pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter added to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot as they cook over medium heat until soft enough for your liking — about 30 minutes for me!
1 bay leaf
Bay leaves are a common ingredient in soups and stews, but they’re also used to flavor other dishes like beans, potatoes and rice.
Bay leaves come from the bay laurel tree that grows in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). The leaves are dried, ground into powder and sold as whole or ground bay leaf.
The taste of bay leaf is similar to that of cinnamon or nutmeg with a hint of eucalyptus. It has a bitter flavor so it isn’t used very often in sweet dishes like cookies or cakes; however, it does pair well with tomatoes and onions!
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Add pepper to taste. How much pepper you add to soup depends on the type of pepper and how spicy you want your soup to be. For this recipe, we’re using freshly ground black pepper because it has a stronger flavor than store-bought black pepper.
Add your favorite beans to this soup recipe.
For this bean soup recipe, you can use any type of white beans. I like to use Great Northern or navy beans because they have a nice creamy texture when they’re cooked.
If you want to make this soup vegetarian, just replace the ham with tofu and add some extra spices such as chili powder and cumin! If you want more protein in your meal then just add another cup or two of water along with some chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegans).
I hope you enjoy this quick and delicious ham and bean soup recipe. If you have any suggestions for adding more flavor, please leave them in the comments below!