The Washington Post

Navy Bean Soup With Kale and Ham

Navy Bean Soup With Kale and Ham 8.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Nourish Dec 10, 2020

This nourishing meal-in-a-bowl of hearty white beans simmered with herbs, studded with ham and flecked with kale leaves is the very definition of healthful comfort food. If you happen to have a leftover ham bone with some meat on it, take advantage of that treasure by using it here instead of the ham steak. Just cut the meat off the bone, add the bone to the pot to simmer with the beans, and then remove the bone before adding the meat to the pot along with the kale.

Make Ahead: The beans need to be soaked at least 8 hours in advance.

Storage Notes: Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 2 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (10 ounces), diced
  • 1 large carrot (5 ounces), diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 ounces ham steak, diced
  • 3 cups (1 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped kale


Pick over the beans and discard any stones. Transfer the beans to a large bowl and add enough water to cover the beans by 2 to 3 inches. Soak the beans for at least 8 hours and up to overnight; drain.

Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaf into a bundle with kitchen twine.

In a stockpot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds more.

Add the beans, broth, water, the herb bundle, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Remove the lid, discard the herb bundle, and add the ham and kale. Cover the pot and continue to cook until the kale has softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Using a large wooden spoon, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot (it will add body to the broth). Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve right away.

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Recipe Source

From cookbook author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 308

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 8g 12%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 535mg 22%

Total Carbohydrates: 43g 14%

Dietary Fiber: 15g 60%

Sugar: 5g

Protein: 19g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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