Classic Bean and Ham Soup is a fall tradition in our household. It is gluten free, dairy free, and has no added sugars. Classic Bean and Ham Soup is also high in protein.
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I love that this soup can easily be prepared in the morning and left to cook all day in the slow cooker. It is a wonderful comfort food at the end of a hard working day or when colder weather hits.
One of Michigan’s cash crops is navy beans. New crop navy beans are beans that have been recently harvested. They require no soaking and can easily be frozen to preserve the freshness. These beans are sold at Farmers Market in the month of October.
Why Eat Navy Beans?
- Rich in soluble and insoluble fiber; making your body feel full
- Low on the glycemic index
- Contain B vitamins – thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate
- Source of potassium and magnesium
- High in protein (sustainable energy and curbs the appetite)
- Antioxidant rich food
Be Smart About Consuming Legumes
Beans are legumes, which are the seeds of a plant that is consumed by humans. In more recent years, health enthusiasts have had a few concerns about the frequent consumption of beans. The biggest concern is legumes contain compounds called anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients interfere with nutrient absorption.
Take heart, there are methods that minimize the effect of anti-nutrients. Proper preparation of beans is key to taking advantage of their health benefits. Soaking beans for 8-24 hours, and then rinsing them to use in your soup, releases the acid and removes hard to digest sugars. Sprouting the beans after soaking them also makes the bean more digestible. The healthiest way to prepare beans is slowly cook your beans at a lower heat.
If you would like more information, I found this site to be most helpful.
Printable Classic Bean & Ham Soup Recipe
Classic Bean & Ham Soup
- 2 c. navy beans new crop
- 2 qts. chicken broth or water
- 1/2 lb. uncured smoked ham organic
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves garlic organic
- 1 T. Bragg's Organic Seasoning
- 1 tsp. Sea Salt Real Salt brand
- Freshly ground pepper
USING NEW CROP NAVY BEANS:
Plug in a large crock pot. Place 2 cups of navy beans in the crock pot. Add 2 quarts of chicken broth or water.
Cut up the smoked ham into medium-small pieces. Add them to the soup. Chop the onion and add that to the crock pot. Use a garlic press to add the 4 cloves of garlic. Lastly, add the seasoning and sea salt.
USING TRADITIONALLY NAVY BEANS:
The night before making the recipe, soak 2 cups of navy beans in a large bowl of water. In the morning, rinse and add them to the crock pot. Add 2 quarts of chicken broth of water. Follow step #2 & #4.
Set the crock pot on low and cook for 4-6 hours. Stir a couple of times throughout the day. Serve warm.
Finding the Ingredients
One option for purchasing navy beans, onions and garlic is shop locally at your farmers market, while in season. The bulk section of a health food store would also carry non-GMO navy beans, onions and organic garlic. Graham’s Organics is a local meat market that sells ethically grown and prepared meats. I purchase their uncured, smoked ham slices to use in this recipe.
Making your own chicken broth is easy and can be done while you are sleeping. Check out this Homemade Chicken Broth recipe.
This soup can be eaten alone or with a delicious grain free roll. My family enjoys Grain Free Herbed Cheese Rolls. Grain Free Herbed Cheese Rolls really make a tasty side to Classic Bean and Ham Soup.
What kind of slow cooker do I use? Crock Pot brand, oval, 7 quart size. It’s inexpensive and the crock is easy to clean. You can find good prices here.
Navy beans are high in protein! That is one of the main reasons why I like to occasionally include them in my daughters diet. (Besides the fact that they both love to eat beans.) Protein is critical to cellular function and muscle growth. Including many different types of protein in our diet is a health-full decision.
Interesting Fact: Navy beans were aptly named because they were the bean that were served to sailors at sea.
Enjoy this Classic Bean and Ham Soup this season. I welcome your comments. Do you associate certain meals with the fall season?