Don’t throw out that coveted ham bone! There is way too much deliciousness to be made as in this Gluten Free Crock-Pot Ham and Bean Soup. Canned beans and a handful of fresh veggies bring this soup together in no time!
What are your Easter traditions??? Anything fantastic, fabulous or festive that you just can’t do without?
I have a few Easter memories growing up…traditions that I expected every year…some of which I have passed down to my own children.
- Whoppers Robin Eggs – I actually don’t even like Whoppers all that much. And for you gluten free peeps out there (ummm, I think that’s pretty much everybody reading this, so sorry), but these are NOT gluten free! The reason I love this candy so much is because we used to lick the outside of the eggs to get them wet, and then we would smear the shell color all over our lips like lipstick. I had three brothers, so this was quite hilarious.
- Egg hunts – like most families, we would wake up to banisters, fireplaces, and cupboards lined with plastic Easter eggs. They were always filled with candy, candy, and MORE candy. Nowadays, I like to fill the eggs with an assortment of candy, coins, and small trinkets so we don’t get overloaded with sugar.
- Lisa Frank and Easter baskets – not only would we wake up to an egg hunt that was way below my hide and seek finding skills (I had two younger brothers so the hunt was always quite obvious), but there would always be a treat filled basket next to our beds in the morning. It was usually filled with candy, a chocolate bunny, and a few non edible items. My basket always included Lisa Frank items. Do you remember Lisa Frank???! I loved their stationary, stickers, pens, pencils, you name it. Later my Lisa Frank obsession evolved into a love for Sanrio Surprises, but regardless my basket always reflected my current craze.
- Fabulous threads – my mom made it a point to purchase me a new Easter dress each year. This was a big deal since shopping was not a regular mother daughter activity in our household. You received clothes 2 or 3 times a year depending on need, not want. My dresses may have always come from the sale section of the department store rather than the newest and coolest preteen clothing stop, but hey, she taught me the value of money. I dread my girls getting old enough to realize they are being jipped of this tradition. Taking them shopping (and spending money) stresses me out, so currently I just grab a dress already hanging in their closets that they haven’t worn for a while and talk it up with maybe a new headband or makeup to make them feel special.
- All things eggs – with four children, dying eggs was quite the feat. To make sure that we each had plenty of eggs to dye, we ended up with nearly 4 dozen hard boiled eggs each year. What do you do with 4 dozen hard boiled eggs???! Let’s see…deviled eggs, potato salad, served plain with salt and pepper, egg salad sandwiches, you name it. Between the smell of the eggs and the smell of our farts, the house had quite the aroma for a few weeks following Easter.
That number six is one of my favorites. I loved eating ham for our Easter feast and salivating over leftover ham sandwiches on my mom’s homemade crescent rolls. Seriously the best.
And not only did we eat ham sandwiches for days, but my mom always saved the ham bone so she could make 15 bean soup. She would soak the beans overnight and then let the ham bone slow cook the next day until the meat just fell off. This stuff was good. Soooooo good.
Now that we’re in Hawaii, and we spend a fair share of our holidays alone, we’ve been able to come up with our own traditions or pass down some of our family favorites. And since ham and bean soup is most definitely a family favorite, I had every intention of making it this year.
In fact, I had a ham bone from Christmas leftover in the freezer that I have been wanting to turn into soup. But guess what??? You can’t find that bag of 15 bean soup anywhere here in Hawaii. I have looked for months and it’s driving me crazy.
So, instead of giving up and crying in the corner…which I may have done slightly…I reevaluated my hopeless situation and came up with my own soup recipe. And I have to say, this Gluten Free Crock-Pot Ham and Bean Soup really delivers.
Now a quick note on the recipe: you may by all means just throw the veggies in the crock-pot without sauteing them first. You just won’t get quite the depth of flavor, and you may have to add more seasonings at the end for additional flavor. If you have the extra time, cook those veggies first!!! It makes all the difference.
I chose to add a mixture of white northern beans and butter beans. I love the velvety texture of the white northern beans and I’m crazy about the large bite sized butter beans. To me they’re the perfect combo. But by all means, go with the beans that suit your taste buds for this recipe. Ain’t nobody going to yell at you for that.
The seasoning in this soup comes largely from the ranch packet you add to the crock-pot. It’s just the perfect amount of ranch flavor without going overboard. The ranch paired with the splash of liquid smoke completely elevate the flavor of the ham and screams, “EAT ME!!!!!” I mean, who can resist talking soup???
At the tail end of cooking, I added some white rice flour dissolved in broth to thicken up the soup a bit. Make sure that your crock-pot can get hot enough to bring your mixture to a boil. Otherwise, it won’t thicken well and you would be left with watery soup. If needs be, throw the soup into a pot and boil it over your stove top. Either way, get that soup to boil!
Now this is one soup that I actually don’t feel the need to garnish. There are so many textures and flavors in this batch of soup that my taste buds are left completely satisfied. If you want to throw in some croutons, a few sprinkles of shredded cheese, and maybe a sliced avocado, and bacon bits…by all means go ahead. Or you could just smile at the perfection that is before you and chow down spoonful by spoonful until you have licked your bowl clean. Either scenario is acceptable.
So remember…SAVE THAT HAM BONE!!! You will most surely NOT regret it.
What are your favorite Easter traditions?
- 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, chopped (no need to peel)
- 2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes (2-4, depending on size)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 ham bone
- 1 quart chicken or veggie broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ⅓ cup white rice flour
- 1 package ranch seasoning mix (such as Hidden Valley brand)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can white northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot enough that drop of water sizzles, add chopped onion, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 mins. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Pour 3 cups of stock, lemon juice, and liquid smoke into crock-pot. Add ranch seasoning and whisk to combine. Place ham bone in crock-pot. Add cooked veggies and bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours until ham is tender and is easily pulled away from the bone.
- Remove bone and set on cutting board. Skim fat from top of soup with a spoon. Cut off meat from the bone and chop into bite size pieces, trimming fat away. Place pieces of ham back into crock-pot.
- In a small bowl, whisk white rice flour into remaining cup of broth. Pour mixture into crock-pot and increase heat to high. Cover and cook an additional 15-30 minutes until bubbly and thickened. Season to taste and serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in fridge for up to 5 days or in freezer for up to 4 months.