Senate Bean Soup With Ham

Navy Bean Soup And Corn Bread

DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
307 Calories
3g Fat
55g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 307
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 125mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 14g 50%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 15mg 73%
Calcium 135mg 10%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 1337mg 28%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Use a meaty ham bone or ham hocks for this hearty Senate bean soup. Senate bean soup is served in the Senate restaurant every day. Idaho Senator Fred Dubois purportedly requested the soup originally, which explains why his version includes mashed potatoes. These days, the soup is made with fewer ingredients. Included in the modern Senate bean soup are some lightly sauteed onions and no potatoes, garlic, or celery. It's a very simple, stick-to-your-ribs soup.

Prepared with celery, onions, parsley, garlic, potatoes and some spices, this bean soup delivers an extra delicious taste. Enjoy this warming soup on a chilly fall or winter day. The soup starts with a pound of dried beans. Navy beans are called for in the recipe, but great northern beans or a bean soup mixture are excellent substitutes. 

The potatoes are cooked and mashed, providing thickening and texture. Use leftover mashed potatoes if you have them. There are many other vegetables that can be added to the soup for flavor and color: diced carrots, red or green bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, turnips or rutabagas, and green beans or lima beans are just a few of the many possibilities. If you have leftover baked ham, dice it and add it to the soup along with the potatoes and vegetables.

Serve the soup with hot baked cornbread or biscuits and a tossed green salad for a fabulous everyday meal. If you have leftovers, it's even better the next day. Or freeze the soup for a future lunch or dinner.


  • 1 poundnavy beans, or Great Northern beans, dried, washed, and drained

  • 1 meaty ham bone, or 2 ham hocks, smoked

  • 3 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion 

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Cover beans with water and bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 to 2 hours.

  2. Place a colander over a bowl and drain bean liquid into it; measure and add enough water or unsalted vegetable broth to make 2 quarts; pour the liquid back into the beans and add the ham bone or ham hocks, onions, celery, and garlic.

  3. Bring the beans to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until beans are very tender.

  4. Add the mashed potatoes, and parsley, and continue to simmer for another hour. Remove ham bone or hocks and remove the meat from the bones. Chop the meat and return it to the soup.

  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


  • Take the soup along to a potluck or party. Transfer the hot cooked soup to a slow cooker and set it on low for serving.