Today I wanted to share my recipe for Ham Bean Vegetable Soup. I like making my soups from scratch. I feel like they are healthier and so much heartier! It’s also a good way to use garden vegetables as well as food storage dry beans. I used to be afraid of using dry beans, but it is SO simple and saves a ton of money. It is also a good way to use up your food storage. I like serving Sweet Golden Cornbread with my soup. (You can find the recipe here. It tastes almost like corn cake!). You can also serve the Ham Bean Vegetable Soup with fresh homemade rolls or biscuits. Yum!
To use dry beans, there are several methods. One is to soak the beans over night. This decreases cooking time and, if rinsed, it can also decrease the gastrointestinal distress that is sometimes associated with eating beans. Another method I like to use is a crock pot. I cover my rinsed beans with water and then cook them on high or low (depending upon when I want dinner) until tender. You can also do a quick soak method by boiling them for one minute on the stove (covered in water) and then letting them sit for one hour before cooking. If your beans are a little bit older, you can add 1 tsp. of baking soda to the soaking/cooking water to help soften them up. You will want to rinse them before using to remove the baking soda flavor.
The Ham Bean Vegetable Soup recipe is really simple. It is a great way to use up leftover ham from Easter dinner or to get the most out of a ham bone. The first thing I do is rinse the beans (soaking them ahead of time will decrease cook time, but I seldom remember to do that). I then place 2 c of dry beans into a large stock pot. For this recipe I used dry Navy Beans, however, in the past I have used a 9 bean soup mixture that I LOVE. It’s really beautiful and has a great flavor. I then cover the rinsed beans with 10 cups of water. I chop an onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic using a garlic press and put them in with the beans. I also add the ham or ham bone at this time. I then bring the mixture to a boil and turn it down to a slow simmer. I allow the beans to cook for about 2 hours (or until done). Time varies depending upon whether or not I soak the beans and how old the beans are. You could also do the same thing but put everything into a crock pot and cook on high for about 2-3 hours or on low for about 4-5 hours (you will need to check the beans periodically to ensure doneness).
When the beans are almost done, I add the rest of the chopped vegetables and cook for 30 min-1 hr more until everything is cooked through. On a side note, if I am using a ham bone instead of diced ham, I put the bone in with the dry beans and cook it at the same time. This adds an intense flavor. I then remove the bone, remove any bits of meat off of it and place the meat back into the bean mixture, discarding the bone. It takes a little bit longer, but is worth it if you happen to have a ham bone on hand. When the vegetables and beans are fully cooked, I add any additional salt and pepper, to taste. I then serve the soup warm with rolls or bread on the side. It is a complete meal and has plenty of protein and vegetables.
Here is the recipe for Ham Bean Vegetable Soup:
- 2 c assorted beans of choice, washed
- 10 c water
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c diced ham (or one ham bone - see note)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1-2 tsp. salt (to taste, depending upon saltiness of ham)
- pepper, to taste
- Place washed beans and 10 c of water into a large stock pot.
- Add diced onion and minced garlic.
- Add ham and bay leaf.
- Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, or until beans are almost done (soaking the beans over night decreases cooking time).
- Add potatoes, celery, carrots, and salt to the cooked beans.
- Cook an additional 30 min-1 hour until beans and vegetables are cooked.
- Add more salt and pepper, to taste, if needed.
- Remove bay leaf and serve warm.
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