A quick and easy Leftover Ham and Bean Soup that is healthy and filling, just perfect for a chilly day. The soup takes about 25 minutes to cook, and it's a great way of using up any ham leftovers you have after a big celebration or a good Sunday Roast. A hearty midweek meal for the whole family.
Whether you make your own ham or get a ready-cooked one for family feasts like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter dinners, leftovers can always be put to great use. I'd rather cook a bigger meal and have leftovers, than not cook enough. Especially if you have guests over.
Soups are the perfect way of using up any leftovers you have, not just meat leftovers, but also veggies. I cooked this ham and bean soup with fresh vegetables, but if you have any roasted veggie leftovers, by all means, throw them in, the more veggies, the better.
I would not say that ham is a hard-to-digest-meat, but it's pretty filling, so using lots of vegetables in this soup restores the balance, so you get a healthy and nutritious dish that screams perfection.
Little seasoning is needed here, the ham is already flavourful, but there is one herb that makes the perfect match with beans and ham: thyme. If you have fresh thyme, that's perfect, otherwise the dried thyme works just as well. Plus fresh parsley, which it's a must for any soup.
- leftover ham - cubed
- cooked white beans - or any other beans
- celery stalks
- red pepper
- stock/broth - either vegetable, chicken or beef
- tomato puree
- salt & ground black pepper
- dried thyme
- chopped fresh parsley
Step-by-step photos and instructions
I never buy dried beans, I don't have an instant pot, and I can't possibly be bothered with soaking and cooking them for hours and hours. I guess if you have a large family, dried beans work out cheaper, otherwise, a good old tin of cooked beans is all you need. And that tin is really cheap too.
- start by peeling and chopping the onion and carrots, and peeling the red pepper and celery stalks.
- add them to a pot together with the stock (broth) which can be anything you have: vegetable, chicken or beef stock. Or just water, and add a small stock cube to it.
- cover the pot with a lid and leave to boil for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender - having the lid on speeds up the process
- add the ham cut into cubes, beans, tomato puree, salt, pepper and dried thyme, and cook for a further 5 minutes
- turn the heat off, and garnish with fresh parsley
That's it! It can't possibly get any easier than that, it's a super speedy soup that can be made before dinner time, so you can enjoy it nice and hot.
How to cook the soup in a slowcooker
Now, this soup is really easy to cook on the stove top, but if you'd rather set up your slow cooker in the morning and come back home to a cooked meal, nothing easier.
Just add all the veggies, beans and leftover ham to the crockpot together with 3 cups of broth, and set if either on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. The seasoning, thyme, parsley and tomato puree can be added at the end, no need to add them from the start.
Carrots and celery take their sweet time to become tender in the slow cooker, that's why we have it set up for so many hours, otherwise the beans and ham are already cooked.
The reason we won't need to use all the 5 cups of broth used for cooking the soup on the stove top is that very little liquid is lost in the crockpot, where on the stovetop more than a quarter of it is absorbed during cooking. So start by pouring 2 cups of broth first, and if it's not enough after adding the other ingredients, add the 3rd cup.
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Easy Leftover Ham and Bean Soup
- 1 ½ cup leftover ham, cubed
- 1 tin cooked white beans (400 g, 13oz)
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 red pepper
- 5 cups stock/broth either vegetable, chicken or beef
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Peel and chop the onion and carrots, and chop the red pepper and celery stalks.
- Add the stock to a pot together with the vegetables, and cover the pot with a lid.
- Leave to cook for about 15 minutes or until the the veggies are tender.
- Add the beans (drained and rinsed) and cooked ham, tomato puree, salt, pepper and thyme, and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and garnish with chopped parsley.