Quick Navy-Bean Stew

This navy-bean, potato, and mushroom stew is quick–it’s ready in less than an hour–but has all the flavor of a dish that took twice as long. Cross our hearts.

A white bowl filled with quick navy-bean stew.
Quick Navy Bean Stew

This flavorful potato, bean, and mushroom stew is ready in less than an hour. You can use other beans, such as black-eyed peas, in place of the navy beans; kale or Swiss chard would be nice substitutions for the spinach leaves.–Editors of Everyday Food

LC Note

This versatile recipe, much like a proper minestrone, is more a general formula than an actual equation. In addition to trying the substitutions mentioned above, you can turn to other creative alterations. Vary the herbs, using a generous pinch of fresh thyme if you happen to have it on hand or omitting it entirely if you have none on hand. Toss in a little leftover plain pasta at the end. Or go through that vegetable bin and see if there are leeks languishing, cabbage collapsing, or green beans going limp.

☞ Table of Contents

Quick Navy-Bean Stew

A white bowl filled with quick navy-bean stew.
This navy-bean, potato, and mushroom stew is quick–it’s ready in less than an hour–but has all the flavor of a dish that took twice as long. Cross our hearts.

Prep 25 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 30 mins
4 servings
186 kcal
4.67 / 3 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast cookbook

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 small red potatoes scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound white mushrooms trimmed and quartered
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • One package baby spinach
  • One can navy beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar optional


  • Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and thyme and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and the water. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add half of the spinach to the skillet, cover, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining spinach and the beans. Cook, covered, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, if desired. Season with the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Print RecipeBuy the Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast cookbook

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Using Dried Beans

If you have a little more time, you could soak and cook dried beans, which would make the soup even more economical and a bit richer in flavor and texture.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 186kcal (9%)Carbohydrates: 33g (11%)Protein: 7g (14%)Fat: 4g (6%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 75mg (3%)Potassium: 1202mg (34%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 6g (7%)Vitamin A: 76IU (2%)Vitamin C: 19mg (23%)Calcium: 31mg (3%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This flavorful stew of navy beans, potatoes, and mushrooms is great. I’d make the recipe again. I had leftovers the next day that were very tasty. You could easily pair this stew with a nice green salad and have a quick meal.

Originally published March 02, 2010



  1. 5 stars
    Wow, this was amazing! Just made it for dinner and it was fantastic! It had such a lovely flavor and it was very filling. I plan on making this again, great recipe! 🙂

  2. 4 stars
    Turned out tasty, but mushy–I think I overcooked the potatoes, and it thickened the liquid too much. I also didn’t have navy beans, but great northern beans, which may have been softer and may have broken down and contributed to the mushiness overall. But the flavor was very good. I added garlic, and red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.

    Will pick up some navy beans or black-eyed peas and try again.

    1. As you observed, Catherine, when the potatoes break down their starch thickens the cooking liquid into a more porridge-like consistency. Perhaps a tamer simmer will help you negotiate a more stew-like soupiness next time. Navy and Great Northern beans are largely interchangeable, so I don’t think that contributed much to the texture, but one never knows. I look forward to hearing your thoughts next time you make it…

  3. 5 stars
    Last night was the second time in two weeks that I made the Navy Bean Stew. I really love it, but this time I added 1/4 tsp. of hot pepper flakes and the little kick was a wonderful addition, at least for our family.

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