Easy & Hearty Navy Bean Recipe with 5 Ingredients (GAPS, SCD)

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Last Updated on April 19, 2023

This easy navy beans recipe works as a delicious side dish. It takes 5 simple ingredients and you can make these creamy navy beans to go with just about anything.

navy beans recipe

Navy Beans

Navy beans are also known as pea beans (because they are small) or sometimes Boston beans and are a type of legume. There are other white beans such as cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, lima beans, and fagioli beans. These legumes are considered a superfood because of their nutrition profile.

You can typically use navy beans or some of the other beans in any white bean recipe because they are all white and creamy.

Navy beans are small white beans so they cook rather quickly. They have a mild flavor and get creamy as they cook. The longer you simmer them, the creamier they get!

For my white bean recipe I use navy beans. But, if you have any type of white bean on hand instead, go ahead and use it.

cooked navy beans
white beans

Navy Beans Recipe

White navy beans are easy for my daughter and me to digest if soaked and prepared according to the SCD diet.  I make this recipe to eat alongside my Carolina pulled pork. I also serve it with carnitas and guacamole, salsa, extra cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

White navy beans are so versatile. The specific recipe below is how I would prepare them for the Carnitas. If you are making something like White Bean Hummus or White Bean Mango Salad with Honey Lime Dressing, just omit the garlic, pancetta (or bacon), and onion, and proceed with the recipe.

Ingredients for White Navy Beans Recipe

This navy bean recipe uses simple ingredients. It’s not a soup, rather a side dish you can serve up with shredded pork or add to your tacos.

  • dry navy beans (not canned beans)
  • fresh garlic (or you can substitute with granulated garlic)
  • pancetta or bacon
  • onion
  • sea salt (or another type of salt that’s unrefined, such as kosher salt) & black pepper

Note: If you like spicy beans, consider adding some fresh or dehydrated jalapenos for some added spiciness.

Do navy beans need to be soaked?

Yes! You must use soaked beans for navy bean recipes. I always do an overnight soak, but if you forget to soak your beans the night before, you can do a quick soak.

Soaking navy beans can help to reduce lectins so that they are easier to digest.

How to Soak Dry Beans

Soaking your navy beans in the fridge overnight will give the best end results. It also reduces cooking time and helps keep the beans from splitting open.

Start by sorting your dried beans. Check for debris or small pieces of stones that sometimes get mixed up with your dry beans and discard them. Next, rinse your beans in cold water and then place in a large pot or airtight container.

Fill your container with plenty of water and allow at least 3 inches of water over the top of the beans to allow space for them to expand. Some people like to add salt to their soak, and I always add a little baking soda to help reduce gas produced by the legumes.

Soak in the refirgerator overnight.

dry white navy beans

How to Quick Soak Navy Beans

Did you forget to soak your white beans? Follow the same sorting and rinsing steps above and place your pot filled with water on the stovetop. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Remove your pot from heat, cover and soak for a minimum of 1 hour.

How to Make Navy Beans

This simple recipe makes a great side dish of cooked navy beans.

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1.) Start by soaking your beans as instructed above.

2.) Saute the pancetta or bacon on stove top until all fat is rendered.

3.) Add chopped onion to your bacon grease and cook until soft. Use a little olive oil if necessary.

4.) Add drained, soaked beans and smashed garlic.

5.) Add enough water or chicken stock/chicken broth to cover beans by 2 inches.

6.) Bring beans to a boil and turn to a medium heat (enough to allow it a low boil). You may need to lower the heat if it’s boiling to rapidly.

7.) Cook for about 2 hours or until beans are tender. Be sure to watch the liquid and add more as needed.

You can top your beans with crushed red pepper flakes if you like to add a little kick. Ther are so many ways to delicious ways to serve white beans.

What pairs well with navy beans?

Navy beans work as a great side dish for pulled pork like my carnitas recipe, but did you know you can also use white navy beans for white bean hummus? I also love the creamy texture and rich flavors of an old fashioned navy bean soup. Tender, seasoned white beans and veggies also are delicious served with roasted chicken or with your favorite shredded chicken recipes.

I also like to add some tubers and other root vegetables with navy beans when I make soup.

carnitas with navy beans

Can I use the Instant Pot instead?

Using the Instant Pot is a great way to cook beans. The pressure cooker can cook your beans in about 20 minutes, plus the time it takes to build pressure.

When making navy bean soup I always use the Instant Pot, but for a navy bean side dish, I use the stove top because the liquid reduces much better, and the result is more of a ​creamy texture instead of having thinner liquid.

cooked navy beans recipe

More Ways to use Navy Beans

You might not realize this, but navy beans are a very versatile ingredient! They are used in my Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache recipe and my gluten free dairy free chocolate cake. I know, it sounds weird, but I have gotten rave reviews from everyone who’s eaten them.

You might also like to read: Pinto Beans vs Black BeansKale and White Bean Soup Recipe

Be sure to download our free recipe card templates to store all your favorite recipes!


Hearty Navy Bean Recipe with 5 Ingredients (GAPS, SCD)

cooked navy beans recipe

  • Author: Jen / My BIG FAT Grain Free Life


Units Scale
  • 3 cups dried white navy beans (rinsed, picked over and soaked 24 hours)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2” slice of pancetta, diced (or 1/2 pkg uncured bacon)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • salt & pepper


  1. Drain beans.
  2. In large pot, saute diced pancetta until crispy and fat is rendering.
  3. Add onion and saute until soft.
  4. Add drained, soaked beans and smashed garlic. Add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches.
  5. Bring to a boil then turn heat down, but make sure it’s still simmering at a low boil.
  6. Cook for about two hours, adding water if necessary, until beans are tender.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.

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