A slice of navy bean pie

Navy Bean Pie

I decided to finish out my 30 days of beans with another dessert recipe, the Navy Bean Pie.  This pie recipe is not something made by the Navy, at least not to my knowledge.  It is, in fact, made from navy beans which are reported to have been a staple food of the US Navy in the early 20th century. This pie has its roots in the culture of African American Muslims, and is truly an American original.   The navy bean is the only bean that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad allowed in the strict dietary code for the Nation of Islam that he described in his book “How to Eat to Live.”  Published in 1967, this book, and the nutrition advice included, has been touted as being ahead of it’s time in many ways.

The Navy Bean Pie was born out of those strict dietary guidelines and, in some ways, is reminiscent of a sweet potato pie.

A fresh Navy bean pieWhen I learned of the existence of this pie, I knew that I had to try it during my 30 days of beans.    I researched several recipes, but all of them contained vanilla extract.  I was certain that since Muslim’s eschew alcohol, vanilla extract would not be allowed.  It wasn’t until after I made my pie that I stumbled upon this article about Lana Shabazz and her original pie recipe which was part of Muhammad Ali’s training diet.   I notice that the recipe in the article, which was adapted from hers, calls for lemon extract, but I can’t believe that’s correct because lemon extract also contains alcohol.  I will, however, experiment with using lemon juice and zest in a future pie recipe.  When I get it right, I will post that recipe here.

In the meantime, this recipe, while not necessarily  authentic,  is very tasty.  It’s especially good with a dollop of whipped cream.

whipped cream is a great accompaniment to navy bean pieGive it a try and let us know what you think.  Who knew that beans could make such delicious desserts?

Here’s the printable recipe. Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Navy Bean Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Navy Bean Pie is a sweet and delicious dessert that is associated with the Nation of Islam. If you have never eaten a bean pie, you are missing out. As oven temperatures vary, this pie may require additional time in the oven. You will know that it's ready when it doesn't jiggle in the middle when you move the pan. This recipe makes 1 pie which serves 8.
  • 1 prepared deep dish 9" pie crust
  • 1½ cup cooked navy beans
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup softened or melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place beans, milk, and cornstarch into a blender.
  3. Process until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  4. Add butter, eggs, sugar, salt and spices into the blender.
  5. Blend until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  6. Pour batter into pie crust and carefully place in 350 degree oven.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 75 minutes.
  8. The pie is done when the center doesn't jiggle when it's moved.
  9. Allow pie to cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting to allow it to finish firming up.

Navy bean pie is a delicious alternative to pumpkin or sweet potatoe.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 467
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.7g
Saturated Fat 6.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 63mg
Sodium 329mg
Total Carbohydrates 69.3g
Dietary Fiber 10.1g
Sugars 38.0g
Protein 13.0g
Vitamin A 11%
Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 14%
Iron 17%

5 thoughts on “Navy Bean Pie

  1. That little bit of alcohol will not effect your thought process, which is why alcohol should not be consumed. The sugar in the pie will make you fat if eaten after a large meal. Gluttony is a sin.

    1. I agree that you can’t get drunk from a teaspoon of vanilla in a dessert, but I have friends who won’t use vanilla extract because it is made from alcohol. There is lots of sugar in this pie, but you can get fat from eating too much meat and potatoes, too. Moderation in all things is the best practice.

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