Single serving of baked beans with bamboo forkI was never a huge fan of canned baked beans, so it never occurred to me to make them from scratch. This reinterpretation of the classic BBQ dish has totally changed my mind. I would make these any time of the year, and eat them over brown rice. They’re that yummy! This recipe makes enough for a BBQ crowd, so if it’s just one or two of you in the house and you don’t want to be eating beans forever, halve the recipe.

Working on this post I realized that I knew nothing about baked beans—that most homely and simple of dishes—so I boned up on them. I had no idea that navy beans are native to North America, made their way over to Europe, and then returned. Some regions make them with maple syrup, some with molasses. The Brits and the Irish eat them over toast, and Heinz is the most popular brand across the pond.

What I like about my version is that it was easy to make, low in sugar, not too sweet, and the depth of flavor from cooking the beans from scratch (via the OMG Beany-Brothy Deliciousness method) creates an end product that’s nothing like canned beans.

Baked beans with extra sauce Aren’t these individual servers cute? I got them in France last year. I had a bit of extra sauce left over, which was great on BBQ sandwiches.

Traditional recipes call for bacon, sugar, ketchup, and mustard, producing a side dish that’s high in fat, sodium, and includes high-fructose corn syrup. Since this is why I avoid HFCS, making them from scratch is the way to go. I used canned organic tomato paste (no salt added) in place of the ketchup (an iconic “American” food that originated in Indonesia), and used low-glycemic Organic Coconut Sugar instead of brown sugar. Liquid smoke and smoked paprika stand in for the bacon. Husband Tested and Approved!

Suitable for:
vegan, gluten-free, low-sodium, reduced-sugar diets

Not for:
migraine diets

All of our recipes are gluten-free, sugar-free, and made with plant-based ingredients to help you build a healthy life. We support Meatless Monday. Look for midweek posts on meditation, service, and life lessons, helping you create inner balance.

Baked beans

How to make baked beans

Easy, oven-baked classic, now with low-sugar. Can easily be low-sodium.
4 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 9 hrs 30 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound white beans dried (450 g), cooking instructions below (Method #1) OR
  • 64 ounces navy beans cooked, organic, rinsed and drained (Method #2)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste organic, no salt added
  • 1/2 cup molasses dark (omit for diabetic diet)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (organic)
  • 1 tbsp mustard (dry)
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions
 

Method #1: From scratch

  • Cook the beans using the OMG Beany Brothy Deliciousness method. Omit the salt if on low-sodium diet.
  • Remove bay leaves, celery, carrots, herb bundle, and 6 cups of the broth from the oven-safe pot.
  • Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/gas mark 2.
  • Stir in everything except the vinegar. Bring to a boil on the stove, then put in the oven and bake, uncovered. Check after 30 minutes. You might be happy with it at this point, or wish to cook it for another hour or two. The sauce will continue to thicken and sweeten. Stir in the vinegar when you remove the beans from the oven.

Method #2: Canned beans

  • If using canned beans, rinse and drain them, then add them to an oven-safe pot with 2 C. (500 ml) filtered water.
  • Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/gas mark 2.
  • Stir in everything except the vinegar. Bring to a boil on the stove, then put in the oven and bake, uncovered. Check after 30 minutes. You might be happy with it at this point, or wish to cook it for another hour or two. The sauce will continue to thicken and sweeten. Stir in the vinegar when you remove the beans from the oven.

Notes

Per serving:
  • 149 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g cholesterol
  • 20 mg sodium
  • 778 mg potassium
  • 30 g carbohydrate
  • 5 g fiber
  • 11 g sugars
  • 7 g protein
  • 3 Weight Watchers Points Plus
If you make the beans from scratch, here is how I used the leftover items. I composted the bay leaves and the herb bundle. I blended some of the broth with the cooked veggies to make a smooth pureed soup, and finally I replaced water with the last of the broth when cooking a pot of brown rice.)
Required FTC disclosure: I received a bag of organic coconut sugar from Wholesome Sweeteners at BlogHer Food, which I used in this recipe. I was not paid to write this post. I do really like this sugar, it didn't seem to cause any "sugar" symptoms in me, and I will definitely be making cookies with it in the future. I was amazed and fascinated to see how it's made. Truly hand-made, fair trade. A product I can feel good about using. And, I will never take it for granted, now that I see how much time, effort, and care goes into making it. Having been to some pretty remote regions of Java in 1990, I can see how much difference this kind of work would make to a local economy.
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