Navy Bean Soup with Sausage & Spinach

$7.11 recipe / $0.89 serving

I think we’re experiencing one of the last cold spells of the year here in Louisiana, so I wanted to make one last hearty, soul-warming soup. This soup was incredibly easy, but boasts huge flavor and major filling power. In short, it’s AWESOME.

Lately I’ve been trying to ween myself off of my bouillon crutch. I usually use chicken bouillon (Better Than Bouillon brand) to add oomph to my soups and just make the whole process super easy and flavorful. What I’ve found recently, though, is that I really enjoy the subtly of broths made simply by the vegetables and herbs that I use in the soup. This soup is a perfect example. Plus, this way you can be in complete control over the sodium.

I used smoked sausage in this soup, but there are a couple of options if you don’t want to use sausage. You can substitute the sausage with bacon (about 6 ounces should do), or you can use a smoked ham hock. The ham hock doesn’t need to be sauteed, just add it in when with the beans, herbs, and water. If you want to do a vegetarian version, just add a little liquid smoke to give the broth that nice smokey depth. The vegetables and herbs should add all of the flavor that you need!

This recipe makes a huge batch, but it can be easily halved… which I totally should have done! Oh well, guess I’ll have some stocked in my freezer for a while. No complaints here. It’s delish!

Oh, P.S. Both my sausage and spinach were on sale. One hint for spinach… avoid the small, salad sized bags of spinach and look for the large bags of “cooking spinach”. They’re about three times the size of bagged salad spinach and contain the exact same thing. Mine was on sale for $2.50, which is less than the small bags of “salad” spinach!!

Navy Bean Soup with Sausage & Spinach

Navy Bean Soup with Sausage and Spinach

4.8 from 12 reviews
navy bean soup with sausage & spinach
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $7.11
Cost Per Serving: $0.89
Serves: 8
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 14 oz. smoked sausage $2.79
  • 1 medium onion $0.36
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • ½ lb. (about 3) carrots $0.50
  • 3 stalks celery $0.60
  • 1 lb. (2 cups) dry navy beans $1.69
  • 1 whole bay leaf $0.15
  • 1 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary $0.03
  • to taste freshly cracked pepper $0.03
  • 8 cups water $0.00
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach $0.50
  • ½ Tbsp salt $0.07
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar $0.02
  1. 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 in the refrigerator over night.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the soup to gently boil for two hours. You want the beans to go past the point of tenderness to the point where they are falling apart. Stir the pot occasionally.
  6. 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 (I used ½ tablespoon total). Lastly, stir in the apple cider vinegar. Serve hot.

Navy Bean Soup with Sausage and Spinach

Step By Step Photos

soup starterThe soup starts with these ingredients. They all come together with a few herbs to make a wonderfully flavorful broth without any bouillon. Oh yeah, start soaking the beans the night before.

brown sausageCut the sausage into medallions and brown it with a little bit of olive oil over medium heat. Pour off the excess fat.

veggiesWhile the sausage is browning, dice the onion, carrot, and celery into small pieces. This soup is totally veggie-licious, but I didn’t want it to be too chunky, so I cut all of them into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Add the vegetables to the pot with the sausage and saute for about five more minutes. The moisture will help dissolve all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pot (aka “flavor”).

soaked beansNow I’m ready to use those beans that have been soaking all night. Pour off the water that they soaked in and then give them a good rinse.

beans herbsAdd the rinsed beans, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and some freshly cracked pepper to the pot.

waterAdd 8 cups of water and stir until everything is combined. Turn the heat up to high and bring the pot up to a full boil. Having a lid in place will help it come to a boil faster.

boiled soupOnce it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it gently boil for two hours. I didn’t use a lid during this step, I just let it boil away. This long boiling process will help the beans break down, but you’ll want to use your spoon to smoosh some of the beans against the wall of the pot. After you start doing that, the soup will really start to thicken up.

fresh spinachStir in the fresh spinach until it’s wilted. Lastly, season the soup with salt and about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Serve hot!

Navy Bean Soup with Sausage and SpinachYum! So hearty, so easy, SO delicious!


  1. Jennifer Wagner says:

    What is the purpose of apple cider vinegar? I made it without and am hesitent to add it next time I make it for fear of ruining the whole thing.

    • It just kind of adds a little zing and cuts through the heaviness of the soup. You can always try adding a drop or two to a bowl to see if you don’t like it. :)

  2. Cathy says:

    Ohhh Myyy Goodness! This is so good!! Making it again by request by my husband. Will have to go into my regular meal planning. : )

  3. Emily says:

    Can’t wait to try this! How do leftovers freeze?

  4. Adam S. says:

    This soup is, seriously, the best. The entire house smelled amazing the entire time it was cooking and it tastes fantastic! This is definitely going in the regular rotation.

  5. Janee says:

    Making this for the first time today. I used a smidgen less olive oil and added a pat of butter to the pot at the end of the sausage cooking time to brown. I used turkey smoked sausage so I didn’t bother to drain the fat (it was minimal). I used a bunch of baby carrots and celery flakes instead of stalks – not a big fan of celery. I rough chopped the spinach to make it fit on a spoon better and easier to eat for my 3yr. old. Added 1/2c of cream instead of 3/4c. Pretty good meal for a nite when we got 5in. of snow.

  6. Nikole D says:

    Thank you for these amazing recipes! they’ve changed the way i’ve been eating and we’ve cut our grocery bill in half! this was a wonderful meal.

    you are a star!

  7. I’ve made this about five times over the past few months and it’s delicious and filling every time! I, like other commenters, wasn’t quite able to thicken the soup to the degree that I’d like so I’ve started adding about 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream to the mix at the end of the cooking time. It gives the soup a nice creaminess.

  8. mike mccaffrey says:

    did you cook them in a cast iron pot?

  9. Jeri Ann says:

    Great soup! Not only did it smell awesome cooking for two hours, but it also added much needed moisture to my winter dry home. Oh, and it tasted delicious too! It also froze well…I’m having delicious, hearty lunches. This was my first time using dried beans and it was such a success I’m going to try black beans next. Thanks Beth!

  10. Susan C. says:

    Oops! I used 1 T vinegar instead of 1t!! It was a bit vinegary but we still ate it. I mashed about a cup of the beans but the soup did not thicken up. I followed the recipe almost exactly – I used a bit more veggies than what was called for (for instance the whole pound of carrots).

  11. Chris Hemingsworth says:

    Just made this, put a couple dallops of sour cream in this, you wont regret it

  12. Alexander C. says:

    I made this over the weekend and didn’t have time to soak the beans so I just added about 1-1.5 hours on low to the start of the cooking process(I also cut my carrots a little thicker than I wanted to account for disintegration) and it turned out great. I do feel like something is missing from this soup and I just can’t put my finger on it. Good recipe though!

  13. Crystal says:

    I also wanted to ask you how you felt the apple cider vinegar contributed to this recipe??

    • Angela says:

      Made this tonight! WOW!! Followed this exactly and it turned out just like the pictures plus it tastes great. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes, thanks for sharing!!!

  14. Crystal says:

    Can you use can beans? And if so when would put them in?

    • Yes, you can. You’ll want to use about 3 15-oz. cans and add them at the same point in the recipe as I added the dry beans. The only difference is that you’ll only need about half the amount of water (4 cups instead of 8) and you won’t need to simmer the soup for 2 hours, just long enough to heat it through.

  15. Felicia says:

    Hi Beth!
    I would love to use black eyed peas along with the navy bean; do you think it will throw off the taste? The recipe sounds so delish…..i want black eyed peas for the new year. thanks!

  16. Robin says:

    In a pinch, (I don’t have the beans to soak overnight) would it need to be modified much if I used canned? I’d love to make this tomorrow. It’s soup weather in Ohio : )

    • Yep, you’ll just want to reduce the amount of water added by at least half, since the beans won’t be absorbing any. :)

      • Robin says:

        Thank you, Beth. So glad I found your blog! Your sweet potato and kale salad hooked me.

  17. Maureen says:

    Would frozen spinach work?

  18. Stacy says:

    Thank you! We love, love, love this soup!! I adore soup, but my family gets tired of it, but not this one. I have been making it weekly since cool weather came upon us, and it is always a huge hit – with everyone asking for more. :D

    I did add green pepper to the veggie mix – for more veggie yumminess. I also used potassium chloride in place of salt, because my hubby is on a low salt diet, and it still tastes awesome!

  19. Arielle says:

    I LOVE this recipe, because you can make it with most any bean-meat-green combo. Tonight it was hot pork sausage, kidney beans, and mustard greens. Love. It.

  20. Jenna says:

    Hi there :) Could this be cooked in a crockpot?

    • Probably, yes, but you’ll want to cook the sausage in a skillet or something first to get that nice browning action.

    • Caity says:

      I made this in a crock pot today! I browned the sausage and veggies, then put them in a bowl in the fridge before I went to bed. I already had six cups of soaked navy beans in the freezer, so those thawed over night. Then in the morning before work, I added the beans, veggies, sausage, and spices along with five cups of water and a bit of veggie bouillon to the crock pot, set it in low, and left for work. It was ready to eat when I got home.

  21. Michael Allman says:

    Hi Beth,

    This soup looks delicious. I’m going to try it with some black-eyed peas and garlic-basil pork sausage. How much does your recipe make? And what size pot did you cook it in?



    • That’s about a 6 qt cast iron dutch oven that I used, so most large stock pots will do just fine. I think it made around 10-12 cups.

Speak Your Mind


Rate this recipe: