Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vegetarian Baked Beans

Baked beans are a classic dish for BBQs and they are one of my favorite summer dishes. though I only have them a few times a year because they are a bit of work.They serve a crowd and are fairly inexpensive to make- perfect for a pot luck if your food budget is tight. Canned baked beans are no comparison to the real deal.

Most baked beans are flavored with bacon, ham, or salt pork which gives them a savory flavor. I was going to a BBQ with quite a few vegetarians so I decided to forego the meat so more people could enjoy them. Leaving out the meat makes it a lower fat and calorie choice.

These baked beans are fairly sweet (thanks to real VT maple syrup and some brown sugar) with a tiny bit of spice at the end. Using Splenda brown sugar works well if you are mindful of the sugar content in foods. For the meat lovers out there, using a tsp of Liquid Smoke (sold in grocery stores) would give you the hickory flavor that you might expect in baked beans.

Cooking dry beans is a great way to save money, but does require a little bit more planning. Cooking time of beans varies but the concept is the same whether you are preparing chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, or pintos. Soak beans overnight in plenty of water (I usually put in enough to cover the beans and have 4-5 inches over the top). Adding salt may interfere with the cooking process so is generally recommended to season after the beans are tender. When you simmer beans they produce a foam on top (a by-product of the protein), this is not harmful, but can make your pot overflow so be careful! Adding a bit of oil can help prevent this.

Vegetarian Baked Beans
Serves 12

1 pound Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight
1 sweet onion, diced
2 tsp canola oil
3/4 cup ketchup
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup real maple syrup
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp dry mustard
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 tsp favorite hot sauce, to taste (optional)

1. Place beans in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 60-90 minutes or until beans are tender.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook 5-10 minutes until caramelized. Set aside.
4. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.
5. Pour beans into a Dutch oven or baking dish. Pour ketchup mixture over the top of the beans and mix well. Add onions and mix together. Cover with lid or aluminum foil.
6. Bake in the oven for about 2 hours (uncover beans after 1 hour), adding some water if beans look like they are getting too dry.

Nutrition Facts: ½ cup
170 calories, 1 g fat, 35 g carbohydrates (15 g sugar), 6 g fiber, 8 g protein, 200 mg sodium

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