Oh, ham and bean soup! What’s not to love about a bowl of this wholesome and comforting meal?
It’s hearty, flavorful, and filling. It’s also very cheap to make. And let’s not forget that it’s the perfect dish to bring out on a chilly winter day.
This is the perfect dish to serve on a chilly autumn or spring day. You can make it all year round — it’s a great comfort food.
Now, to be honest, there are some things you need to know before making this soup.
First of all, don’t go crazy with the amounts. The quantities I’ve listed below are just an estimate; you can easily double or triple the amounts.
And secondly, try not to make the beans too creamy. You want the beans to be firm and in place in your soup.
So what’s the best side dish to pair with this delicious ham and bean soup?
Well, here are some of the best side dishes for this hearty soup.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Ham and Bean Soup?
Ham and bean soup is one of the most classic American recipes.
It’s hearty, satisfying, and full of flavor.
Because of its simplicity, it’s also easy to make.
As such, serving side dishes with ham and bean soup is a great way to make the meal more interesting.
The best side dishes for ham and bean soup are any that complement the flavors and textures of the dish.
For instance, a simple salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers would work well.
Or, if you want to take a bolder step, try serving your soup with an unexpected vegetable like asparagus or broccoli.
For a more intense flavor, serve the soup with a spice or hot sauce.
To create a more rustic flavor, serve your ham and bean soup with a cheese plate or a bread bowl filled with fresh herbs.
The choice is all up to you, but remember that simple dishes are always the best.
6 Tips for Choosing A Side Dish To Serve With Ham and Bean Soup
If you want to make sure your soup tastes great, you’ll want to make sure you’re not shortchanging yourself on the side dishes.
But what to choose? There are so many to choose from and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
I’ve got 6 tips to help you choose a side dish to go with a ham and bean soup or any other soup.
Tip 1: Look For A Simple Recipe
A good side dish to serve with a ham and bean soup is one that can be made ahead of time and reheated. This way, it’s not a last-minute thing that needs to be assembled and then cooked. It also gives you more control over how it tastes once it’s served.
Tip 2: Consider Serving With Other Soups
Another option is to serve your ham and bean soup with another soup such as a creamy tomato soup or a hearty lentil soup. These soups will give your ham and bean soup a bit of a lift and help to balance out the flavor of the ham and beans.
Tip 3: Try to Add Something Crunchy
You can’t go wrong with crunchy vegetables like broccoli or asparagus, but you can also add something more substantial like toasted almonds or chopped walnuts.
Tip 4: Pick Something Spicy
Ham and bean soup is known to pair well with a variety of sides, but you can also try something unexpected. Serve the soup with a spicy Indian rice dish, like a pilau or pilaf, to add a little spice to your meal.
Tip 5: Choose a Colorful Vegetable
It’s a soup, so don’t be afraid to serve vegetables. It’s important to pick something that stands out against the backdrop of the ham and beans. For instance, a bright and colorful green vegetable would add vibrancy. On the other hand, a dark green potato is going to work just fine.
Tip 6: Pick Something Fresh
Serve your soup with something a little different, such as a salad or side dish. There’s nothing wrong with a regular old potato or green beans (see also these canned green beans recipes), but try to select something a little more interesting and unique. It’ll make it more fun for the guests and add some zing to the soup.
What to Serve with Ham and Bean Soup – 25 Easy Sides
I’ve been making ham and bean soup lately, and it is delicious. The ham helps the beans get extra umami, and the veggies add some heft to the soup.
But when you’re in a hurry, it can be hard to put together the perfect side dish for the soup.
Here are some of my favorite ideas.
1. Collard Greens
A side serving of collard greens is a good choice for what to serve with ham and bean soup. They’re full of vitamins and minerals, and also work really well with the strong flavours of the soup. Collard greens have a very slightly bitter flavour, so you can choose to either add your own seasoning, or serve the dish as is.
2. Roasted Vegetables
I love the idea of roasting some veggies to serve alongside a hearty, warming soup. Some vegetables I like to use here include carrots, sweet potato, parsnips, and mushrooms. If you’re serving a ham and bean soup that includes bacon, then I would recommend adding a bit of celery to the veg to round out the flavour a little more.
3. Pull Apart Garlic Bread
Ham and bean soup is great for winter when there are dark nights and chilly days ahead, and if you’re looking for a quick and easy meal, then this is it! I’m a big fan of serving my soup alongside a loaf of warm, crusty bread that I cut into thick slabs. The soup will soak right through the bread, so it really does make a delicious meal.
You can use whatever bread you have in the house here. It doesn’t matter what kind you choose as long as you don’t use one that’s too soft to slice.
4. Broccoli Salad
My favourite version of broccoli salad involves chopping up a bunch of broccoli into florets, and mixing them with some shredded chicken, mayo, and chilli flakes. For this one, you can add in any leftover ham and bean soup ingredients that you might want to include. It’s really filling and nutritious!
5. Sweet Potato Fries
When I make a ham and bean soup, I often make some sweet potato fries to accompany it. I like to make them from a slightly larger sweet potato, as they hold up better during the long cooking process. You can make them in the oven, or boil them in the water for 20 minutes before you transfer them to the oven.
Either way, they’re really easy to make, and will provide lots of deliciousness and texture alongside your meal. You can serve them hot or cold. It’s best not to cook them too much though, so don’t cook them until they’re totally crispy and golden on the outside.
6. Coconut Rice
Coconut rice is a really quick and easy option to serve alongside a hearty bean soup like ham and bean. Just boil a pot of rice according to the packet instructions, then add in a tin of coconut milk and some chopped red chilli for a little kick. You can use any bean or lentil soup as the base for this one.
7. Garlic Spaghetti
Ham and bean soup is the perfect choice for a cold winter evening, and a side serving of pasta is a great way to bring some protein and starch into the mix. You can either serve it with a plate of freshly baked garlic spaghetti or use a ready-made option from the supermarket.
Both options are delicious, and there are so many varieties to choose from that it will be hard to find one that doesn’t appeal to you!
Biscuits are a traditional side dish in the UK, but are also a popular option for what to serve with ham and bean soup in other countries, particularly Spain.
They’re really easy to prepare, and they add both texture and sweetness to the soup. If you’re using ready made biscuits, you’ll need to pop them in the oven for a few minutes to warm them through, otherwise you can just buy a packet of plain biscuits from the supermarket.
9. Roasted Squash
A side serving of roasted squash is a great choice if you’re going to be eating ham and bean soup. It’s a very versatile dish, and it’s always nice to have a change from the usual pasta or rice. I like to cut the squash into slices, drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then roast it in a hot oven. You can serve it warm or cold, depending on what you’re most likely to eat with it.
10. French Fries
French fries are pretty much an essential part of a good bowl of soup, so you might as well make them extra special and choose something tasty. A nice mix of potato, sweet potato, and butternut squash are all great options here. Just be careful not to overcook them – they can get mushy if you do!
Applesauce is the perfect accompaniment for any type of soup, as it really brings a lot of freshness to the dish. Add it to the top of a bowl of ham and bean soup for extra depth of flavour, or simply cut up some apples, drizzle with lemon juice, and add a few raisins for a sweet dessert option. This is one of my favourites!
The crunchy texture of coleslaw will add a welcome zing to any type of soup, especially ham and bean soup. If you want to get fancy, you can add lots of flavours like onion, garlic, chilli, and mustard. For a more healthy option, just add some crunchy grated carrot and cucumber.
13. Green Chile Cornbread
This is one of the best dishes you’ll ever taste. There’s something very addictive about it, and it’s so easy to prepare. You just mix up a batch of dough, cut it into little pieces, roll them into balls, and fry them in hot oil. This dish is traditionally served with ham and bean soup, but it also works really well with other soups, such as chicken noodle or pea soup.
14. Buttermilk Cornbread
You could go for traditional cornbread here, but I think this recipe is actually much tastier! It’s super quick and easy to make, and the buttermilk gives it a nice tangy flavour. It’s perfect for serving with ham and bean soup, or as a side dish alongside a beef stew.
15. Turnip Greens
I’m a big fan of ham and bean soup, and I often serve it up with a side serving of turnip greens. I find it’s really important to choose a good quality ham that you know will go well with the flavour of the soup. You can also make it vegetarian if you’d prefer, but then you have to omit the ham altogether!
16. Tomato and Lettuce Salad
This is a simple salad to make and it’s one of my go-to side dishes for this type of meal. You can use whatever vegetables you have lying around that you like to eat, or choose your favourite from the supermarket. I like to use a mixture of tomatoes, lettuce, and red onion to give it a bit more flavour.
17. Sweet Potato Casserole
I always enjoy a bowl of this wholesome and comforting side dish with a steaming cup of ham and bean soup on a cold winter’s day. This is a great option if you’re looking for a light, savoury accompaniment that goes well with a meat based meal. The sweet potato lends a natural sweetness and richness, while the crispy edges add texture. If you have some leftover potatoes in the fridge, try making mashed potato casserole instead!
18. Corn Bread
For me, there’s nothing better than freshly cooked corn bread served alongside a bowl of soup. If you want to go for a little extra luxury, serve it with a generous dollop of honey and some blueberries for a delicious dessert option.
19. Sweet and Sour Greens
I always order a side serving of sweet and sour greens at Chinese restaurants, but it’s also a really versatile side dish. You can add it to salads, sandwiches, soups, or even pasta. It’s a tasty and healthy option that will help round out the flavour of any meal.
20. Scalloped Potatoes
This classic dish is so easy to prepare that it’s a good option for when you want to have something simple on the table that’ll be ready in no time! You can serve scalloped potatoes as a side dish with a variety of different meals, including baked potatoes, ham and bean soup, and stews.
21. Creamed Spinach
Ham and bean soup is a hearty meal that will fill you up nicely. A side serving of creamed spinach makes an excellent accompaniment, as it’s chock full of protein and low in calories. You can even add some frozen peas if you’re short on time. I also like to make a double batch of this and freeze half to eat throughout the week. It tastes just as good reheated as it does straight from the freezer!
22. Dinner Rolls
Ham and bean soup comes in many flavours, so if you’re in the mood for something different, why not try some dinner rolls instead? They’re much easier to make than creamed spinach, though they do take slightly longer. Just take some flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, eggs, milk or cream, and yeast or baking soda, and combine them all together. Roll into balls and put them in the oven for around 15 minutes at 180 degrees C (360 F). Once they come out of the oven, brush with butter and sprinkle with your favourite flavourings.
23. Fried Green Tomatoes
If you’re looking for an easy, yet really tasty side dish to go alongside ham and bean soup, you should really consider this one. It doesn’t get much easier than fried green tomatoes (see also: 19 Best Sauces for Fried Green Tomatoes), so you can easily throw this into the mix, along with some boiled potatoes and some salad leaves. You can make a simple, homemade tomato sauce using some tomato paste, water, and olive oil if you like, but it’s not essential!
24. Cream Peas
Peas can be a little tricky to cook, but don’t worry. There are lots of ways in which to cook them. The simplest way is to boil them in a saucepan for around 15 minutes until tender. If you prefer, you can also use a pressure cooker, or you could always microwave them for a few minutes. Whatever method you choose, just make sure that you’re adding salt to taste.
25. Garlicky Boiled Okra
Okra is a popular vegetable throughout Europe, and it’s also really easy to grow yourself. I love it cooked in this way because it has a delicate, succulent texture that really sings alongside ham and bean soup. I’ve found that it works best when you boil the okra in a generous amount of salted water for about 20 minutes, then drain and refresh with cold water before you proceed with your cooking.
25 Ham and Bean Soup Sides
- Collard Greens
- Roasted Vegetables
- Pull Apart Garlic Bread
- Broccoli Salad
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Coconut Rice
- Garlic Spaghetti
- Roasted Squash
- French Fries
- Green Chile Cornbread
- Buttermilk Cornbread
- Turnip Greens
- Tomato and Lettuce Salad
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Corn Bread
- Sweet and Sour Greens
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Creamed Spinach
- Dinner Rolls
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Cream Peas
- Garlicky Boiled Okra
- Pick any of these tasty sides for your ham and bean soup dinner.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Enjoy your meal(s) in no time!