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Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Spinach

Sometimes a hearty soup is all you need to feel happy on a cold winter’s night. This no-fuss navy bean soup with ham and spinach will warm the members of your family from the inside out and is perfect for either lunch or dinner. 

This cozy-feeling soup is perfect for this time of year because it’s easy on the wallet AND on the waistline. So go ahead, buy the presents and eat the party foods. This is one meal that won’t count as a strike against you in either area.

Ingredients:

1 lb. bag dried navy beans

2 c. ham, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 c. baby spinach

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 c. chicken broth

2 c. water

2 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. paprika

3 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

The night before cooking, sort through the beans to make sure there are no rocks Discard any cracked beans or rocks. Add the beans to a large bowl and cover completely with water and soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and rinse thoroughly with cold water. 

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery and onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, paprika and oregano and stir for 1 minute. Next, add the ham, beans, broth, water and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for an hour, stirring periodically. 

Check to see if the beans are cooked through and creamy in consistency. Continue cooking until the beans are cooked to your liking, checking every 15-20 minutes. My total cooking time is usually around two hours. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach and stir in until it wilts. Remove the bay leaves and serve immediately.

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