Navy Beans Recipe & Nutrition | Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food

Navy Beans

Navy Beans

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At a Glance

The navy bean is a pearly white pea-shaped bean. It got its name because it was a staple food of the US Navy in the early 20th century. Navy beans are part of the Phaseolus vulgaris family, also known as the “common bean” family. Due to their creamy white color, navy beans are sometimes confused with other white beans such as great northern beans, cannellini beans, or white kidney beans. A quick tip to differentiate them: Navy beans are smaller and rounder than all of them. Navy beans have a soft, velvety texture and a slightly nutty taste, and like other legumes, are a fantastic source of fiber. They are also a good source of folate, manganese, and copper. Due to their relatively neutral taste, navy beans are adaptable to a variety of recipes - they can even hide quite deliciously in a cake!

Overview

The navy bean is a pearly white oval-shaped bean. It got its name because it was a staple food of the US Navy in the early 20th century.

Navy beans are part of the Phaseolus vulgaris family, also known as the “common bean” family, which includes kidney beans, pinto beans, and cannellini beans. It is assumed that all of the cultivars from this family originate from one ancestor originally native to South America. Spanish explorers eventually brought them from the Americas to Europe, and then to Asia and Africa.

Due to their creamy white color, navy beans are sometimes confused with other white beans such as great northern beans, cannellini beans, or white kidney beans. Although their taste is similar, navy beans are smaller and rounder than these other varieties.

Identification

Navy beans are small, oval-shaped and creamy white in color. When cooked, navy beans are creamy and starchy, with a soft, velvety texture.

Due to their neutral, slightly nutty taste, navy beans are adaptable to a variety of recipes, even desserts!

Nutrition Info

One cup of navy beans (about 182g) has 255 calories, 15.0g of protein, 1.1g of fat, 47.4g of carbohydrates, 19.0g of fiber, and 0.7g of sugar. Navy beans are a good source of folate, manganese, and copper.

Selection

Both dried and canned navy beans are widely available at most grocery stores and bulk food stores.

If buying dried beans, look for beans that look dry, evenly colored, and are free of cracks. When shopping in bulk, choose stores that have covered bins.

If buying canned beans, read the ingredients. The healthiest choices will have a short ingredient list and contain little more than beans, water, and perhaps salt.

Storage

Dried beans should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, where they can stay fresh for up to 12 months.

Canned beans should have an expiration date on the package, so follow that to inform you of freshness.

Cooked navy beans should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Stored thusly, they will stay fresh for three to four days.

Beans can also be frozen. Stored in an airtight container, they will freeze well for four to six months.

Preparation

Canned navy beans are cooked and ready to eat after a quick drain and rinse. This removes the starchy canned bean water, as well as any excess salt.

Dried navy beans must be cooked and require a little more effort. We recommend cooking in large batches and freezing the excess in portioned containers for later use.

How to cook dried beans:

  • First, soak the beans. Soaking can help reduce anti-nutrients (present in many plant foods) and render beans more digestible. Place the desired amount of dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water, making sure water is higher than the beans by a couple of inches. Medium-sized beans like navy beans should be soaked for about six hours, or overnight.
  • When the beans are finished soaking, drain the soaking water and give the beans a good rinse under running water.
  • Then, place your beans in a large pot with enough water to cover them by a couple of inches. At this point, you can add any spices or dried herbs you’d like to flavor your beans. Save the salt for the end though.
  • Put the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, give the beans a stir, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low, enough to keep a low simmer going. Cook beans like this for about 60-90 minutes, or longer if needed. Beans should mash easily on the side of the pot with the back of a spoon when they are ready.
  • Once your beans are cooked, add the desired amount of salt, and your choice of butter or olive oil, if desired. Give them a stir, and serve.

Recipe: NAVY BEAN PATÉ WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES AND HERBS

Navy Beans

This plant-based navy bean paté is highly flavourful and versatile - it can be eaten as a dip with raw veggies, spread on a sandwich or wrap, or even added to tacos.

Ingredients

extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp
garlic, minced
3 cloves
sweet onion, minced
1
navy beans, drained and rinsed
1-14oz can
sea salt
1 tsp
sun dried tomatoes, minced
5 slices
parsley leaves, finely minced
2 tbsp
Assortment of raw veggie slices
for dipping

Directions

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 20 minutes   Yield: 4-6 servings

First, caramelize the onions and garlic: In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add onions and garlic, and stir. Over the next 20 minutes or so, allow the onions and garlic to cook gently, largely untouched except for the occasional stir to prevent burning or sticking. Adjust the heat if the onions are burning too quickly, or do not seem to be browning. The mixture will be done when golden brown and sweet smelling.

To make the paté, add caramelized onions and garlic, as well as navy beans, salt, and sun dried tomatoes to a food processor. Process until mostly smooth. You can leave a little bit of texture if you want.

Scoop out navy bean puré and fold in minced parsley, then place in a bowl. Serve with your choice of veggies or add to sandwiches, wraps, or tacos. Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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At a Glance

The navy bean is a pearly white pea-shaped bean. It got its name because it was a staple food of the US Navy in the early 20th century. Navy beans are part of the Phaseolus vulgaris family, also known as the “common bean” family. Due to their creamy white color, navy beans are sometimes confused with other white beans such as great northern beans, cannellini beans, or white kidney beans. A quick tip to differentiate them: Navy beans are smaller and rounder than all of them. Navy beans have a soft, velvety texture and a slightly nutty taste, and like other legumes, are a fantastic source of fiber. They are also a good source of folate, manganese, and copper. Due to their relatively neutral taste, navy beans are adaptable to a variety of recipes - they can even hide quite deliciously in a cake!