Navy Bean Soup*

I'm head over heels for the Navy Bean Soup at the great One World Cafe in Baltimore.  I congratulated the chef-owner, Sue Novak, who is passionate about serving healthy food.  For example, if oil is used in her dishes, it's in minimal amounts.  For the navy bean soup, she divulged only that she uses onions, celery, possibly other veggies, and spices which may vary from batch to batch.  Below is my attempt to recreate her version of this classic soup, which I can't recommend highly enough. 

NOTES:  It's always easier (of course) to cook beans in advance, especially if you freeze them pre-measured (1.5 cans of cooked beans, the equivalent of one 15-oz can, fits into a standard 2-cup Pyrex container).  If you don't already have pre-cooked beans, it's easier to use canned.  


  • 1.5 cups dry white beans (navy, great northern or cannellini).   After soaking for 4 - 10 hours this becomes 4 cups of soaked beans.   This is about the same as four 15-oz cans of canned beans, (which is about 4.5 cups).  (Canned beans should work also)
  • 6 cups of water  
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped = one TBSP.
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium - large zucchini, chopped (2 cups or more).
  • 1 teaspoons salt  (optional)
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 TBSP of fresh thyme stripped from the stems
  • 1/4 - 3/8ths teaspoon fresh ground pepper


  • If starting with dried beans, soak for 6 - 10 hours, discard the soaking water.

  • In a large pot, boil (simmer) the soaked beans in 6 cups of water, covered, for 1 to 1.5 hours, until soft. 

  • Separate about a third of the cooked beans into a separate container, allow them to cool somewhat, and blenderize them completely in a blender of food processor.  (Partially blenderized beans and/or veggies are not visually appealing.  You can do the blenderizing step before or after adding the veggies as long as you blenderize completely.   i.e., sticking an immersion blender into the whole pot doesn't work as well).  Recombine the blended beans with the intact ones.      

  • Then add all the other ingredients (except that you can reserve the salt until just before serving, if using).  

  • Simmer for at least an additional 30 – 40 minutes. 

  • Correct the seasonings, and serve

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responded with submitted 2016-04-18 13:39:39 -0400
responded 2013-09-25 09:48:27 -0400
tagged this with Excellent 2013-03-01 14:40:12 -0500
published this page in Soup 2013-03-01 14:30:08 -0500