Easy Ham and Navy Bean Soup

This was so easy and had an awesome touch of sweetness to it that I’m not used to in bean soup. I think it was choosing a honey ham and using baby carrots that made the difference. The liquid smoke was also a nice touch.  Throwing something in the slow cooker and forgetting about it until the wonderful smells waft into the living room is always a pleasure.  Can you tell yet that I love slow cookers?

This recipe might be a little higher in sodium than desired, if you’re watching sodium intake.  I was very pleased with the low sugar count, considering I used honey ham.

1 lb. cooked boneless honey ham (not the brown sugar encrusted kind!)
2 c chicken broth, 33% less sodium brand
1 c navy beans, dried
1 c chopped celery
1 small white onion, chopped
1 c chopped baby carrots
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp liquid smoke


  • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Mix well.
  • Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours.
  • Enjoy!

Nutritional Info
Makes 8 half-cup servings. Calories 108.2, Total Fat 1.7g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 688.3mg, Carbs 10.1g, Fiber 2.3g, Sugars 2.1g, Protein 13g

This time, I wanted something hearty but not necessarily so creamy. I like a good red beans and rice mash, but I wasn’t in the mood for that this time. Soft beans, yes. Bean mash, no.

WTH?! That looks like a kidney stone, but these aren't kidney beans!

WTH?! That looks like a kidney stone, but these aren't kidney beans!

The first question most people have, when it comes to slow cooking beans, is whether or not to first soak them. The answer will differ, depending upon who you ask, because it really comes down to personal preference.

Some folks experience more stomach distress… otherwise known as “the toots”… if they don’t soak their beans overnight. While this might be entertaining among the Sunday football crowd, it’s probably not an ideal situation just before a romantic evening or a big business presentation!

Others simply rinse & pick their beans then toss them right into the slow cooker. I have done this myself in desperate times, and I had no problem with it. However, I do prefer to soak if only for general “sterilization” purposes. Having said that… If I’m in the mood for beans, I typically want them THAT DAY. I also think an overnight soak would have given me the mashy effect I was trying to avoid. So, I compromised with a quick soak method.

  • Rinse and pick through the beans for pebbles and other field debris.  As you can see, I found a pebble.  This is not uncommon.
  • Place the beans in a pan and add water to about twice the height of the beans.
  • Bring beans just to a boil over medium to high heat
  • Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 1 hour, then drain.
Photo op!  You don't need to place your ingredients in the pot so neatly.  I just thought it'd be purty.  :)

Photo op! You don't need to place your ingredients in the pot so neatly. I just thought it'd be purty. :)

I picked a nice Smithfield boneless honey ham with the intention of making a nice ham roast dinner, using the leftovers for the soup. As I had a real craving for bean soup, I decided to blow off the intended order of events. I diced the pound I needed and threw it in a pan with a sandwich-sized slice that made a nice lunch for my husband. I sauteed it in some non-stick olive oil spray until it was cooked through. I think it was about 15 minutes. Shame on me, I forgot to time it. I’m so used to eyeballing everything.

Finally, I prepped my veggies and tossed it all in the pan with the broth, thyme, and liquid smoke.  I set the slow cooker for 12 hours on low, but I wound up shutting it off around the 10 hour mark.   My slow cooker typically takes a little less than the specified time for most recipes, but I recommend you check it around 10 hours.  If you want a more creamy soup… soak your beans overnight, add a touch more broth, and leave it for the full 12 hours.  That might do it.

I am very satisfied with a 1/2 c serving.  Since my husband does not like beans, and it’s just the two of us here, this will probably feed me for several days.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had bean soup, and I’m glad I made this.  I am about to enjoy a cup while we watch football!

Strongbad thinks 1/2 c is more than enough for him!

Strongbad thinks 1/2 c is more than enough for him!

Find this recipe in my SparkRecipes recipe box.


  1. If it’s good enough for StrongBad, it’s good enough for me! Looks so tasty!

  2. gharkness says:

    It’s about time for another blog post! This looks YUMMY! (Back in my younger days, I had no idea you were supposed to pick through beans for rocks….I learned quickly after my first mouthful of dirt….)

  3. Sharon Skoczynski says:

    Yum! That looks great. Very professional looking! I am going to try this recipe real soon. If I only had the ingredients now, what a great day it would have been to make soup on this snowy day!

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