Enjoy one of our family-favorite stove top soup recipes, Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup, easy to prepare and good enough for company!

Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup
Friends, one thing I love about last-minute entertaining is not having to worry about all the details.

One of the most stressful entertaining situations for hostesses is impromptu gatherings.

I like to think of “easy” and “quick,” but also “healthy,” and “robust.” As in, I want something really good, that my guests won’t forget about.

I’ve made this soup so many times, I can make it in my sleep. On the other hand, I keep the beans stocked in the pantry, and ham in the freezer, and the rest of the ingredients I usually have in the fridge.

Feed a large group – double the recipe

Beans are loved by all, so it’s a no-brainer to make a big pot of soup. Lots of people coming? Double the recipe!

Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup

What I like to do is make a quick game plan, once I know that the meal is on. I then work out the timing in my mind, and work backwards. I also ask the guests who are coming to dinner to bring an item or two.

For instance, with guests coming in 2 hours, I may ask one to stop for fresh bread and wine, and the other to grab a dessert.

Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup

You don’t always have to drain the beans

Thinking about a fresh pot of soup, with Bush’s Northern Beans, and snipping fresh thyme from the garden, this recipe is doable almost any time of year.

Remember, when you can make it homemade, keep it simple. Sometimes all you need is a hearty bowl of soup and hot bread out of the oven!

What I learned years ago from my friend Connie Gutterson, who wrote the Sonoma Diet cookbooks, is that you don’t always have to drain beans. For sure you want to if you’re making a salad, but for chilis and soups, like this recipe today, not draining the beans helps you retain the liquid to thicken the soup!

Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup

Great Northern Beans Ham Carrot Soup

This past month, we’ve made several pots of this soup, partly because we have so much thyme in our garden, and the flavor is so wonderful, and this recipe is so easy! My favorite way to eat it is plain, but you can also serve it with sharp cheddar cheese, a dab of sour cream, and fresh thyme on top.

Then again, I also took a couple of bowls over to our neighbors to enjoy, served plain. Delicious!

Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup

Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup
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Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup


  • 3 cans Bush’s Great Northern Beans, undrained
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound ham, chopped in small pieces or shredded
  • 1 pound carrots, cut in chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1-2 tsp. celery salt
  • Fresh thyme


  • Cut ham into bite-size pieces, set aside.
  • Melt 2 Tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onion for 3-4 minutes until browned. Add in the carrots and celery (optional), and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the ham to the mixture and heat through, for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a large pot add the stock; stir in the onion, carrots, celery, and ham mixture. Add the undrained beans. Season to taste with celery salt. Add fresh thyme.
  • Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot and garnish with fresh thyme before serving!
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

What does with this soup for a casual meal?

Great Northern Beans Ham Carrot Soup

Basic Green Salad

Crunchy hot bread

Orange Creamsicle Freezer Dessert

This post is sponsored by Bush’s Beans, but all opinions are my own. We cook with Bush’s Beans on a weekly, almost daily basis, as they are a main staple in our pantry!

Great Nothern Beans Ham Carrot Soup

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