Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Vegan Baked Beans

Vegan Baked Beans.  

When I was a kid, and oblivious to a lifestyle that didn't include dairy, eggs, and chunks of animal flesh, I absolutely loved Pork 'n' Beans from a can.  My mother was a 'modern' 50s mother-- she didn't waste time with baking bread or canning or such.  There were so many other things to do, more interesting than slaving over a hot stove.  We did have a large electric frying pan that contained some sort of 'goulash' every day at lunch time.  Usually the base item was hamburger (there really are 101 ways to serve hamburger).  

As a young adult university student, and later, as a young wife and mother in the 70s, I came across Diet for a Small Planet by Francis Moore Lappe.  I relished the lovely vegetarian recipes, mostly swimming in cheese or containing eggs-- ovo-lacto vegetarian.  But it was at that time that I let go of the old myths around needing to eat animal products to be healthy.  By and by, over the years, my husband and I committed to veganism for health and ethical reasons.  I am SO happy that I have never had to give up beans, although I guess there are a few "vegetarian"- type diets around that believe that the leptins in beans are a bad thing.  I don't belong to that group of veg-heads.  And I definitely DO NOT miss the little slimy piece of pork in my baked beans.
Bleak and dreary foggy January day-- with no view of the Comox Harbour-- when Baked Beans are really appreciated!


  • 4 C. of Cooked White Beans-- Great Northern or Navy Beans-- or 2- 15 oz. cans of Beans
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped fine
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped fine or minced
  • 3 C./711mil Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce (I use the "Simple Organic" brand from Costco)
  • 1/4 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 C. Maple Syrup
  • 2 T. Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1 T. Prepared Mustard, your choice
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 Large Bay Leaf
  • Pepper (to taste-- or about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 T. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 C. Water
I could well have done these baked beans up in my Instant Pot in less than half the time, but the truth is that I wanted to use my mother's sweet old (1960s) Ellgreave "Saxony" design bean pot.  I LOVE my Instant Pot, but there is something very soothing about a pottery baking pot.  My mom was a big fan of legume dishes-- she would have welcomed these beans!

  • Using a large wok or skillet, saute the onions until translucent and then briefly saute the garlic.
  • Add all other ingredients to the wok/skillet and bring to a boil, stirring.  
  • Turn down to low and put a lid on the wok/skillet.  
  • Let the mixture simmer for the next 3 hours, stirring and checking often so that the beans do not burn.  Add a little more water if the mixture is dry.
  • Preheat the oven to 300-350 degrees Farenheit/150-177 degrees Celsius
  • When the beans are soft and the sauce is rich and thick, transfer the pot to the oven.  I put mine in a cake pan to catch any possible overflow (and there was some).
  • Cook for 3 hours in the oven, checking occasionally to stir and see that there is no over-drying and burning.

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