Navy beans are a versatile addition to any meal, whether you use them as a side on their own or mix them into a savory recipe. Although you might think it sounds a little odd at first, you can also use them to whip up a delicious dessert that’s aptly known as navy bean pie.
We stumbled upon the treat from B. Dylan Hollis, a TikTok user who’s become popular for testing out old fashioned recipes. Many of his food experiments seem like they couldn’t possibly work, but then somehow end up tasting amazing — like using beans in pie (or mayonnaise in cake!).
Hollis found his navy bean pie in a cookbook from 1922, but as is often typical with these older recipes, it was sparse on specific measurements. At one point he cracks a few eggs into the mixture and says, “How many? I don’t know, it just says, ‘eggs.’”
It includes other ingredients you’d expect from a pie: flour, sugar, milk, and cinnamon, plus the less expected beans. Again, Hollis doesn’t say exactly how many navy beans he used, but he does fill up a pretty big bowl with them.
You can see how his pie came together (and the hilarious moment the dense batter possibly broke his blender) in the video below:
Despite his shock at the results, no one should be surprised to learn beans can add rich texture and flavor to desserts. Anyone who’s taken a bite of black bean brownies can attest to that! In this pie’s case, the navy beans create a creamy, custard-y consistency and balance the sweetness of the sugar and spices with a slightly nutty taste. They also provide ample amounts of fiber, protein, and potassium, making it a healthier choice than many other pie options.
The recipe has also been a celebrated dish in the Black community for decades, often simply called “bean pie.” Muhammed Ali’s personal chef, Lana Shabazz, was famous for her recipe — Ali blamed eating too much of it for losing his fight with Joe Frazier in 1971! It calls for a cup and a half of the navy beans along with extra flavorings like nutmeg and vanilla. You can find full instructions on the Taste Magazine website.
Considering navy beans are an affordable pantry staple (Buy at Walmart, $1), there’s really nothing stopping you from whipping up the recipe, too! Just make sure your blender is in better shape than Hollis’ before you start — and try not to overindulge like Ali.
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