Southwestern Navy Bean Soup

One of my favorite “go-to” recipes in the Fall is Southwestern Navy Bean Soup, simply because of the zesty, rich flavors and the creamy texture. The inclusion of Rotel™ Stewed Tomatoes and Green Chiles is what makes this soup more flavorful than the traditional “navy beans with ham”- you can make this as mild or spicy as you like!

Made from all-natural ingredients with no additives, preservatives or fillers, this low-calorie bean soup is perfect for a hearty, filling lunch or dinner.

Use dried or canned Navy Beans and make it on the stovetop or slow-cooker! Both methods included.

You’ll need a side of homemade cornbread to go on the side! 

Here’s what you’ll need

A few simple ingredients:

  • One pound of dried navy beans (or 6 cans of canned; rinsed and drained)
  • 2 boxes of chicken or vegetable broth (64 oz.)
  • One can of Original Rotel™ brand stewed tomatoes and green chiles to this recipe; it adds just enough zest for a flavorful broth and nice texture without adding a ton of sodium (see Notes in Recipe Card below for substitutions)
  • 3 bay leaves, sweet yellow or white onion, celery, minced garlic, ground cumin, salt and black pepper
  • If you want to include meat in the soup, you can either put a smoked ham hock in the soup while it’s cooking, or add cooked sausage or cooked ham (this is a great way to use leftover ham)
  • Another option is to add sliced Polish sausage, or Kielbasa to this dish! This makes a hearty bowl of soup and a complete meal on a busy weeknight!

This is an overview; please see recipe card below for details.

  • I think the best way to make soup is with dried and soaked beans. However, If you don’t have time to overnight soak dried beans, use canned navy beans – just rinse and drain them first. Use a high-quality brand like Bush’s™ Navy Beans or S&W™ brand. 
  • In a Dutch oven, saute onion and celery in a little oil; add Rotel tomatoes (with the juice), dried and soaked navy beans or canned navy beans, broth, garlic, seasonings and bay leaf
  • If you want a creamier version, transfer 1/4 – 1/2 of the soup to a food processor, pulse a few times, then transfer the pulsed mixture back to the stockpot.
  • Allow to simmer till tender; season to taste with kosher salt and ground black pepper
Navy Bean Soup on a spoon.

Crock pot or slow cooker instructions

If you make this recipe in a crock pot or slow cooker, soak the dried beans first, either overnight or the “quick-soak” method.

Note: The slow cooker/crockpot method is not recommended for canned beans. They turn to mush.

Place soaked beans and remaining ingredients into slow cooker and add plenty of water or broth (8-10 cups).

The dried beans will absorb the liquid, so if you leave the slow cooker unattended you’ll want to ensure there’s plenty of liquid. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. Add more liquid if necessary.

Want a smooth texture? Working in batches, pour the soup into a food processor or, use an immersion blender. The result is creamy and delicious!

Yield

Like most bean recipes, this makes a big pot of zesty flavored Southwestern Navy Bean soup about 8 cups, so if you don’t need so much, you can half the recipe or freeze it for later. 

Do Navy beans need soak overnight?

Generally speaking, dried navy (and pinto beans) need to soak overnight in 8 cups of water (or enough water to cover the beans.) But, there’s a quicker way to “soak” the beans called a “Quick-Soak.”

How to quick-soak navy beans

A quick soak is ideal when you forgot to soak dry navy beans or pinto beans overnight.

  • Place the rinsed beans and 8 cups of unsalted water in a big pot and bring it to a boil (uncovered) for 5 minutes
  • Turn off the heat and cover
  • Allow to stand for 1 hour, covered
  • Pour off the water, add the drained beans to the stock pot along with the chicken/vegetable broth and resume the recipe

Storage and Reheating

You can store Navy Bean soup in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-days or freeze up to 6-months. Reheat thawed soup on the stovetop; you may have to add a little water or broth, as it thickens upon freezing.

Navy bean soup in black bowl.

Serve this Southwestern Navy bean soup with a slice of homemade cornbread or some warm flour tortillas!

More recipes

If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating. I love to hear from you!

Navy bean soup in black bowl.

Southwestern Navy Bean Soup

Dress-up ordinary navy bean soup into a zesty, mouth-watering, heart-healthy bowl of goodness!
5 from 23 votes
Print Rate
Course: Entree, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 8 cups
Author: Anecia Hero

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. navy beans , dried (see recipe notes); or 6 cans of canned navy beans
  • 2 tablespoons oil , olive, canola or vegetable
  • 64 oz. chicken or vegetable broth , low-sodium
  • 10 oz. can Stewed Tomatoes with Green Chiles (see recipe notes) ,Rotel brand preferred; include juice
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 small ham hock
  • ½ lb. smoked beef sausage (optional); slice to bite size
  • parsley, scallions or cilantro chopped, for garnish

Instructions 

Prep

  • Rinse navy beans and soak either overnight or use the Quick Soak method (see notes); if using canned beans, rinse and drain; set aside
    1 lb. navy beans
  • Chop onions and celery
    1 cup onion, chopped, 1 stalk celery, chopped

Make the Soup

  • In a big soup pot on medium heat, add oil, onions and celery; cook until onions are softened, about 4 – 6 minutes; add minced garlic
    2 tablespoons oil, 1 cup onion, chopped, 1 stalk celery, chopped, 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Add entire can of stewed tomatoes and liquid, beans, broth, bay leaves and ground cumin to the onion mixture; (add hamhock : optional); stir well
    64 oz. chicken or vegetable broth, 10 oz. can Stewed Tomatoes with Green Chiles (see recipe notes), 3 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 small ham hock
  • Allow to cook for 35-45 minutes covered; check occasionally for liquid level. If liquid level gets below the bean level, add water or broth to cover the beans by 3-4 inches; cover and continue to cook until beans are tender (Note: dried beans will take much longer to soften)
  • To add smoked beef sausage, cut it into bite-sized pieces and saute in a separate pan; (You can add the sausage to the whole soup, or add it to individual servings)
    ½ lb. smoked beef sausage
  • Once beans are tender, remove bay leaves; remove ham hock (if added); at this point, if you want a creamier version, transfer ¼ – ½ of the soup to a food processor, pulse a few times, then return the pulsed mixture to the stockpot.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with parsley, cilantro or scallions and serve
    parsley, scallions or cilantro

Notes

About the beans: if you use dried beans, soak them first. Dried beans (soaked or unsoaked) will take much longer to cook than canned beans.
How to Quick Soak Beans
A quick soak is ideal when you forgot to soak navy or pintos overnight.
  1. Place the beans and 8 cups of water in a large pot and bring it to a boil (uncovered) for 5 minutes
  2. Turn off the heat and cover
  3. Allow to stand for 1 hour, covered
  4. Pour off the water, add in chicken/vegetable broth and resume the recipe
Canned beans
If you want to use canned instead of dried, you’ll need about 6 cups of beans, drained and rinsed.
Vegan version: use vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth; omit ham hock and sausage
Stove Top Method Notes:
After the beans have cooked for about 30 minutes, check the water/broth liquid. Chances are, you’ll need to add additional liquid. Add enough to cover the beans by 3-4 inches.
Slow Cooker Directions (Not recommended for canned beans)
If you make navy bean soup in a crock pot or slow cooker, soak dried beans first, either overnight or the “quick soak” method.
  • Place beans and remaining ingredients into slow cooker and add plenty of water or broth (8-10 cups). The beans will absorb the liquid, so if you leave the slow cooker unattended you’ll want to ensure there’s plenty of water or broth.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
Rotel tomatoes or Tomatoes with Green Chiles 
I used a 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes, however, if you can only find a 14 ounce can, you can use all of that. If you want the soup thinner, add 28 ounces of Rotel.
If you can’t find “Rotel” brand, substitute with any canned diced tomatoes with green chiles.
If you can’t find a canned mixture of tomatoes and green chiles, use 10 ounces of petite diced tomatoes and 4 ounces of diced green chiles.
Want a creamier version?
Once the beans are tender in the broth, transfer up to half of the soup mixture to a food processor. Pulse until semi-smooth, then return to stockpot.

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 1cupCalories: 302kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 16gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1243mgPotassium: 697mgFiber: 7gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 4mg
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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    OMGoodness. I just noticed I left a comment almost a year ago. I screwed the recipe up last time by adding ingredients to it. This time it was perfect… Because I actually followed the directions. 😂

  2. 5 stars
    I followed the directions exactly. I used canned beans instead of dried. The soup turned out really good. My boyfriend even liked it! … & he doesn’t like it when I try new recipes. I’ll definitely make this again.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!! It it So easy to put together with minimal ingredients, and taste Wonderful!!
    Definitely a keeper!

  4. Hi, what size can of the stewed tomatoes with chili as there is the regular 14 1/2 can or the 28 oz I don’t see any mention of that one item, please and thank you.

    1. Good Catch, Jana! My bad. I used one 10 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes in the Southwestern Navy Bean soup; however, if you only have a 14 ounce can, you can use the whole can. If you want it thinner, add a full 28 ounce can of rotel.

  5. Do dried navy beans really cook in half an hour? The package says 1.5 hours. Do I need to plan to cook the soup that long until they are tender? Just checking. Looks like a great recipe…

    1. Dried navy beans will take longer than canned. Cook the soup until the beans are tender. That time can vary depending upon if they’re canned, or if they’re dried. The cook time will also depend upon whether or not you soaked the beans. Soaked beans cook faster.

      1. Thanks! It took me two hours to cook the soup with dried beans that had been soaked. Tastes great.

  6. I LOVE the way you have written out the measurements in the recipe direction section. THANK YOU for simplifying my life by doing this. 🙌🏻Can’t wait to try this recipe! 🤤

  7. 5 stars
    I’m not a fan of soups, but I tried it anyway. Love love loved this dish. I threw in some tomato paste. Wish I hadn’t. It would’ve been better without it. I’ll definitely be making this again…as directed.

  8. I was looking for a simple bean soup and this is it!! Great flavor!!
    I only had 4 cans of navy beans so I tossed in 2 cans of pinto beans.
    This will be by go to recipe from now on for bean soup!!

  9. Made this tonight and it’s amazing!! Added the smoked sausage even better! So much flavor it’s mouth watering!