The navy bean, also known as the pea bean, originates from Italy and is prized for it's smooth texture and nutty flavor. The 'white pea bean' was such a popular food on America's early naval vessels it became known as the navy bean. It is a small white oval, mild flavored bean that when cooked has a powdery texture. They are most often used when making pork and beans or baked beans. Most always found in minestrone soup, they can also be used in other soups and stews. One cup of dry beans makes about 2-1/2 cups of cooked beans and takes about 1 to 2 hours for them to cook. The navy bean substitutes well for great northern beans or baby limas and is also good in salads.