Slow cooker navy bean soup is a hearty, vegetarian crockpot soup made with dried navy beans, carrots, celery and fennel. This post was originally posted on November 18, 2013.
I love using my slow cooker for making long-cooking recipes that use pantry staples; staples like dried white navy beans. I always have bags of dried beans and lentils on hand because I love making slow cooker lentil soups, or traditional sweet and smoky baked beans.
Dried beans and legumes are humble ingredients, but they can make so many delicious meals and are probably one of the most budget-friendly ingredients in the grocery store. They may not seem exciting, but if I have one piece of advice for new cooks it’s to get familiar with these pantry staples.
This slow cooker soup has French and Italian flavours. It starts with a simple mirepoix (a combination of carrots, celery and onion), as do most soups. I’ve added fennel and tomato paste for a hint of sweetness.
Do I need to soak the beans before adding them to the slow cooker?
Because the beans are being slow cooked, they don’t require the pre-soaking that dried beans typically need. If you were making this on the stovetop, you would want to soak the beans in water for about eight hours.
I’ve been making this soup pretty frequently since 2013, and one of my favourite tricks that I learned from my mom has to do with the olive oil (of course it does, she’s Greek!).
Drizzle the soup with olive oil before serving; it creates a velvety and luxurious mouthfeel. This is similar to the way you’d swirl in butter to a pan sauce before serving.
While I’m using water in this soup, you could definitely use vegetable broth if you have some on hand. Just be sure to adjust the amount of extra salt you’re adding to the soup.
I don’t have navy beans, what else can I use?
Dried great northern beans are a great alternative to navy beans.
While this soup is a vegetarian recipe, you could definitely add some ham in here as well if you wanted to make a navy bean and ham soup.
Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups dried navy beans
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 bulb fennel, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Stir water, navy beans, carrots, celery, onion, fennel, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves, salt, thyme and chili flakes in the slow cooker insert. Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Stir olive oil into soup before serving.