French Navy Bean Recipes

french_navySlightly smaller than a Small White Bean, also called White Pea Bean.  The French Navy Bean is one of the most widely know beans in the white bean family.   The name comes from its use as a food staple in the US Navy all the way back in the 1800s to the present day.  The beans have a milkd flavor and creamy, smooth texture making them ideal for soups or baked beans.


French Navy Bean, Spinach & Sausage SoupNavy Bean Soup pot

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz. smoked sausage
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ lb. (about 3) carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 lb. (2 cups) french navy beans
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • to taste freshly cracked pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

The night before, sort through the beans to remove any stones or debris. Place the beans in a bowl and cover them with cool water. Allow the beans to soak over night.  Slice the sausage in to medallions and add them to a large soup pot along with one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the sausage over medium heat until it is nicely browned (about five minutes). Drain off the excess fat.  While the sausage is browning, dice the onion, carrot, and celery into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the soup pot after the sausage fat has been drained off. Saute for about five minutes more. The moisture released by the vegetables will dissolve any browned bits off of the bottom of the pot.  Drain the soaked beans and give them a good rinse with fresh water. Add the rinsed beans to the pot along with the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, some freshly cracked pepper, and 8 cups of water. Stir everything to combine. Turn the heat up to high and allow the soup to come up to a full boil.  Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the soup to gently boil for two- three hours. You want the beans to go past the point of tenderness to the point where they are falling apart. Stir the pot occasionally.  After gently boiling for a couple of hours, use a large wooden spoon to smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. This will help thicken the soup. Stir in the fresh spinach until wilted. Season the soup with salt. Start with just a ½ teaspoon at a time and add more until it is to your desired saltiness. Lastly, stir in the apple cider vinegar. Serve hot.


Pan Seared Lemon Basil Shrimp with French Navy Bean Saladpan seraed shrimp with white bean salad

  • 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, shells removed
  • 1/2 t kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Grated zest of 1 whole lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 c cooked french navy beans
  • 1/2 c red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 c red pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 c carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 c celery or fennel bulb, finely diced
  • Fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons, about 3 fluffy tablespoons-full (set aside a few pinches for the shrimp)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 T white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes

Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper, lemon zest and a few pinches of the basil ribbons. Heat pan to medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When oil begins sizzling, add shrimp and cook until pink and just beginning to brown slightly. When shrimp are done, remove to a bowl and set aside.  Drain and rinse beans. Combine with diced veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the remaining basil ribbons.  Whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil and the vinegar and add to veggie mixture. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper.  Spoon the bean salad onto a platter. Lay cooked shrimp over top. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Garnish with additional basil (and some snipped fennel fronds, if using.)


Greek Bean Soup Greek Bean Soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 4 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 cups french navy beans, cooked & drained
  • 2 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large sauce pan saute onions, celery and carrots in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add broth, garlic, oregano and pepper and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Add beans and cabbage, and simmer 5 minutes.  Add lemon juice and simmer 5 minutes.  Ladle into individual soup bowls and top with cheese, tomato and parsley.