Navy Bean Soup (aka Senate Bean Soup)

There are multiple stories as to where Senate Bean Soup got it’s name. Some say the tradition began early in the 20th-century at the request of Idahoan Senator Fred Dubois. Others argue it originated with Senator Knute Nelson (MN), who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903. Either way, the soup has and always will be a daily fixture on the Senate Restaurant menu.

This recipe follows the traditional way to cook ham with beans and therefore has become a staple at post-Easter dinner tables.

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

2 hours 30 minutes



32 Senate Bean Small


  • 1 package HamBeens® Navy Bean Soup

  • 1 lbs. diced ham

  • 1 cup diced onion

  • 1 cup diced celery

  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1-2 bay leaves

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • *Optional (but highly recommended)

  • Jalapeño corn bread

Cooking Directions

  1. Rinse the dried Navy beans under cold water. Check for any debris or stones that may be present and discard.

  2. Prepare the vegetables. Cut the onion and celery into 1/4” pieces and give the parsley a rough chop. Crush the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and discard the peel.

  3. Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil. Over med-high heat, sauté the onion and celery until they become slightly translucent. Add the diced ham and sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic during the last 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add 8 cups of water, rinsed beans, and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 2 hours.

  5. After 2 hours, the beans should be almost cooked through (if not, continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes). Remove the lid and stir in Hurst’s bean soup seasoning packet and the fresh parsley. Simmer for an additional 1/2 hour and add salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Serve hot, garnished with a sprig of parsley and some warm corn bread (go ahead and dunk!).