Senate Bean Soup

Do you want to eat like a senator? This is the traditional bean soup of the senate. This soup is on the menu everyday in the congressional dining areas. This tradition has been in place since a senator, which senator is debatable, insisted on this soup being on the menu everyday sometime in the early 1900’s. I grew up eating this soup very often. It is a great economical comfort food. My father use to always just call it navy bean soup though. This was one of the very few dishes he ever made. He was a very traditional, strong man who seldom entered the kitchen except to look for what my mother or I had been cooking. After his death, I did not make this soup for quite a while. My first attempt to make it turned into a disaster. It was tasteless, and just tasted like beans in broth. I was so disappointed, I just put the thought of ever having that delicious comforting bean soup out of my head. Then one day I came across Senate Bean Soup on the web. I had never heard the name before because my dad always said this was navy bean soup. I quickly realized in reading the recipe, that my father’s navy bean soup was actually a variation of Senate Bean Soup. My mistake had been not adding potatoes to the soup. I tried the recipe again, and it was even better than I remember. Perfectly comforting, and full of flavor. I added my father’s traditional garnish of freshly chopped onions and Tabasco and served it with cornbread. Even my son, who didn’t care for my black bean soup, ate a big bowl all by himself.

This is my father’s recipe for Senate Bean Soup, with a few modifications. His recipe varies from the original in that it does not have celery, but has additional flavor from tomatoes. He use to add ketchup, (not part of the traditional recipe) but I am adding a little tomato paste in my recipe. He also added dried potato flakes, but I added the real thing instead. I also made this soup in the crock pot, instead of the stove top.  I try to take every chance I get to use my crock pot. Use which ever is more convenient for you.

recipe photo

Senate Bean Soup

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
loading gifLoading...


1 lb navy beans, soaked overnight
2 medium Idaho potatoes
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 large smoke bone
6 cups water

Freshly chopped onions


Add soaked beans and their water to a large soup pot or crock pot. Add additional water till you get 6 cups of water. Add onions, garlic, smoke bone and tomato paste.

Peel and cut up potatoes. In a separate saucepan add the potatoes and enough water to cover them. Boil until very tender. Drain the potatoes and then mash them with a little water. Add mashed potatoes to beans.

Cook beans until very tender. On the stove top for 2-3 hours. In the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours, or in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. You may have to add additional water if the soup gets too thick.

Serve with freshly chopped onions and Tabasco.

All text and images © / Eclectic Recipes
*Nutritional Information is not guaranteed for 100% accuracy.

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure to share on Instagram with the hashtag #EclecticRecipes and tag me, @EclecticRecipes!

Share the Love

facebook logo twitter logo Pinterest Logomail icon

  14 Responses to “Senate Bean Soup”

  1. Food o' del Mundo — February 24, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your father – and a great memory for you to share with your son! ~Mary

  2. MyMansBelly — February 24, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

    My mom used to make this all the time in the winter. I haven’t had this in years. But seeing your post I remember how much I liked this soup. I’m thinking this might be dinner tonight.

  3. redkathy — February 24, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    Oh wow Angie, I had no idea it was senators soup!! My dad loves this soup; Mom used to make it on those cold winter Saturdays. He’ll be moving in with us so, I’m going to make some for him.

  4. Kat — February 24, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

    I’m a political science student, so I feel like I’m obligated to make this soup. 🙂 It looks delicious!

  5. Alta — February 24, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    Sounds simple and delicious! I love this kind of soup – humble, but comforting.

  6. pegasuslegend — February 24, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

    my kind of soup sounds easy and wonderful!

  7. Drick — February 24, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

    like your additions, love your photo – makes me want a bowl right now…

  8. 5 Star Foodie — February 24, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    How neat to find out that there is a special senate soup! It sounds super comforting and delicious!

  9. Erica — February 25, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    That looks so rich and comforting! Absolutely delicious!

  10. Promotional Printing — February 25, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

    Besides the fact that this recipe seems so delicious, I really think that this is a very touching post. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  11. CouponWebz | UPrinting Coupons — February 26, 2010 @ 11:39 pm

    The soup looks delicious and thank you for sharing us this trivia. I did not know that there is such thing as a senate soup. Well, I guess it really does taste great for them to have it on the menu everyday.

  12. Robin — March 2, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    Bean soup makes for a wonderful lunch. High in protein and fiber, and it’s filling. I might try this soup next time instead of Pasta e Fagoli, which is so popular in my area.

  13. shoestringfoodie — May 12, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

    a wonderful anecdote and the soup.. it sounds so good! i am imagining serving it with some rosemary tea sandwiches for dinner. yum…
    .-= shoestringfoodie´s last blog ..Roast Corn Quiche =-.

  14. philippine literature — August 25, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

    looks delish!

Leave a Comment

Featured In

Media Banner


Insta Banner

get free weekly recipes via email: