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Country Ham and Bean Soup

Versions of ham and bean soup have been around for decades! You might even remember your mom or grandma making something similiar and for good reason!

Country ham and bean soup is comforting and big in flavor. Chopped ham, navy beans, cabbage and a few simple ingredients are simmered together to create this delicious healthy soup.

Two bowls of ham and bean soup with pot and crackers beside them.

This soup is an easy way to use up leftover ham. I love ham because it is relatively inexpensive and you can stretch it through a variety of meals.

Why We Love This Ham and Bean Soup

  • It uses simple inexpensive ingredients – anything that can help cut down on the grocery bill is a good thing in our books!
  • It’s one of the best ways to use up any leftover ham. You only need 1 cup of ham, so save the leftovers after the holidays for this easy light recipe. Another great way to use up leftover ham is in our quinoa broccoli egg muffins.
  • Ham can easily be substituted for shredded chicken for another light and comforting soup.
  • This is the perfect light lunch recipe that be served with a sandwich.

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Ingredients to make soup on counter in bowls including white navy beans, chopped onion, sliced cabbage and carton of broth.

Soup Ingredients

HAM: It’s the star of the show for this soup. You’ll need 1 cup of chopped ham. I like to save this soup for the leftovers after I make our mustard thyme ham recipe. This soup is very forgiving, so any style of chopped ham will work.

BEANS: To keep things quick, a can of navy beans is drained and rinsed, then added straight to the pot.

CABBAGE: This veggie is an inexpensive and easy ingredient for soups (you can save any leftover cabbage for a simple fried cabbage side dish). I like to slice the cabbage into thin strips for this recipe, but you can chop thicker if you prefer. You could even substitute for a bag of coleslaw if you want to save time.

SPICES: A combination of oregano, parsley, sage and ground pepper adds flavor to the soup. Some people aren’t sage fans, so feel free to substitute with garlic powder for an easy alternative.

BROTH: You can use vegetable, beef or chicken broth for the recipe. Or you can make your own homemade broth which is an added source of nutrition and protein!

Variations

Ham and bean soup is easy to change up and add variety to.

Here’s another simple variation: Follow the full recipe below, but with these exceptions. Add only 1 cup of cabbage, 2 chopped celery stalks, and 2 chopped carrots. For spices try 1 tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Leftovers

This comforting soup will last up to a week in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. It’s perfect to eat at lunchtime and dinner.

Three images in a blue dutch oven pot. First with ingredients separated. Second with ingredients mixed together uncooked, third with cooked soup and spatula.

How To Make Country Ham and Bean Soup

I love this soup because it’s loaded with vegetables and it quickly comes together. Chopping the veggies will take about 5 minutes, and the soup simmered on the stove for only 20 minutes.

  1. Add all ingredients to a large pot according to the recipe below.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce to let simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove bay leaf and discard.

Try serving with warm crusty bread, a sandwich or grilled cheese!

Close up of black ladle scooping up soup in the pot.

FAQs

What beans do you use for ham bean and cabbage soup?

Traditionally, many people use white navy beans. But I really think you could use any beans you have on hand in your cupboard. Chickpeas, kidney beans, adzuki beans, and lentils would all taste great.

Can you use canned beans in this soup?

Yes. Canned beans are inexpensive and work well when you’re short on time. Just make sure you drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the soup.

Can you freeze ham and bean soup?

Most non-dairy soups can be easily frozen, including this one! Once the soup is completely cooled, pour it into an airtight freezer container. You can also freeze individual portion sizes. Label each one as this soup tastes best when used within two months (for best flavor). To serve, let thaw while sitting in an empty bowl overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave.

Close up of two white bowls with ham and bean soup with crackers and spoon surrounding it.

More Soup Recipes

Did you love this ham and cabbage soup recipe? Be sure to leave a rating below!

Country Ham and Bean Soup

Country ham and bean soup is comforting and flavorful. Chopped ham, navy beans, cabbage and a few simple ingredients are simmered together to create this delicious healthy soup.
Print Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occassionally.
  • Use a fork to mash some of the beans slightly. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:

  • Leftovers: This comforting soup will last up to a week in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. It’s perfect to eat at lunchtime and dinner.
  • Freezing: Once the soup is completely cooled, pour it into an airtight freezer container. You can also freeze individual portion sizes. Label each one as this soup tastes best when used within two months (for best flavor). To serve, let freezer bag thaw in a bowl overnight in the fridge. Add soup to a bowl to reheat in the microwave.
  • Here’s another simple variation: Follow the full recipe above, but with these exceptions. Add only 1 cup of cabbage, 2 chopped celery stalks, 2 chopped carrots. For spices try 1 tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Nutrition
Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 904mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3758IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Please note these nutritional values provided above are just an estimate. Actual numbers will vary based on brands and ingredients you choose, and your preferred portion sizes.

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