Known by different names in different parts of the world, navy beans are most commonly used on the American continent.
Over the years, navy beans have spread all over the world, so you can find them pretty much anywhere.
They are slightly different from classic beans – smaller than most other types, but also oval in shape.
They are also a bit flattened.
Now, figuring out what to serve with navy beans is complicated if you have never cooked them.
The wrong sides can ruin your meal, so here is everything you need to know before making a decision.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Navy Beans?
From many points of view, what works with most types of beans will also work with navy beans.
The same goes for the taste.
When you cook beans, you are less likely to have them alone.
You add herbs, sauces, spices, and condiments.
Even so, you still come up with a side dish – be it a pickle or a slice of bread.
Otherwise, navy beans may feel a bit too heavy and can cause nausea.
Even if you do like to eat them alone, cooking for some guests will always ask for a side.
What to Serve with Navy Beans? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some great ideas when not sure what to serve with navy beans.
1. Sauteed Korean Cucumber Salad
This dish is extremely simple to prepare and barely takes 10 minutes of your time.
Despite its simplicity, it is a winning side.
First of all, you have a refreshing flavor.
Mostly based on water, cucumber will make your beans feel lighter.
Second, even if sauteed, cucumber has a crunchy texture.
Since beans are tender, the combo will feel great in your mouth.
Finally, the refreshing flavor of cucumber is relatively mild and will easily complement the strong hearty beans.
In other words, there is nothing that could go wrong with this combo.
2. Caramelized Potatoes
Potatoes go with anything, and navy beans make no exception at all.
Both the main and the side dish will be fulfilling, so a small serving will most likely do – you need to leave some room for dessert too, right?
All in all, caramelized potatoes are slightly crispy on the outside, which adds to the texture.
The interior is soft and matches the beans.
In terms of flavors, navy beans are hearty, while potatoes have a distinct, yet mild aroma.
Therefore, your beans will still be the main players on the table.
3. Pan Fried Sweet Potatoes
How about moving this dish towards a sweeter direction? This is the beauty of hearty dishes like those based on navy beans.
While mostly used in salty combos, they can also adopt a sweet approach.
Pan fried sweet potatoes are healthier than classic potatoes.
They have a slightly sweet taste that complements the beans.
The pan frying preparation method will give them a crunchy profile on the outside, but the interior will be soft and creamy.
You should know whether your family or guests can appreciate sweet potatoes – some people dislike them, especially when mixed with salty foods.
4. Crunchy Asparagus Salad
Sometimes, keeping things simple is the way forward.
Forget about posh dishes that you are meant to get in fancy restaurants – get a salad instead.
This asparagus salad had a bit of avocado and cherry tomatoes, as well as a light dressing.
There are more crunchy veggies in there to complement the soft beans, as well as a mix of vitamins and unique flavors.
The asparagus must be roasted first – use some crushed garlic, too for even more flavor.
As for the combo, the salad makes it lighter and more refreshing, so make more than what you think you will need.
5. Mushroom Barley
This combo makes a homey meal.
There is nothing fancy about it, but it is delicious and traditional.
Navy beans should be plain – nothing but a sauce and perhaps a few other veggies.
Barley should be enhanced with mushrooms – you can also chop some veggies and throw them in.
Both parts of this dish are super fulfilling.
There are no contrasting textures in there, unless you throw some vegetables in.
Beans, for example, make a good choice – you can never go wrong with a refreshing aroma close to a fulfilling meal.
6. Garlicky Broccoli
This is another simple option to prepare when not sure what to serve with navy beans.
It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and only requires broccoli, crushed garlic, and butter.
Cook them all together.
The butter will infuse into the broccoli, while the garlic will give it a unique aroma and a bit of crispiness.
There is a mix of textures that will not disappoint you – think about broccoli.
At the same time, apart from textures and aromas, broccoli will also add a bit of color to your plate and add some protein and vitamins.
7. Orzo Pasta with Parmesan
This mix is a little unusual and may not always make sense for everyone, but it is definitely worth some consideration.
Both navy beans and pasta are heavy and fulfilling.
However, the pasta texture is distinctive, while the aromas will successfully blend together.
Now, a bit of Parmesan will make the difference – this is probably the main part of this side.
The secret is to keep it to a minimum – too much of it may completely cover the hearty aroma of your navy beans.
Preparing this dish is only a matter of 15 to 20 minutes, so it is great for emergencies too.
As a short final conclusion, deciding on what to serve with navy beans can be tricky – not necessarily because you are not experienced with these beans, but because there are plenty of options out there.
The above mentioned dishes can complement navy beans in different ways.
Some of them will also add a bit of contrast, while others will add to the overall effect.
Another good news is they take maximum 20 minutes to prepare, so they can be ready by the time your navy beans are cooked.