Yesterday, out of nowhere in particular, I acquired a hankering for some smokey, molasses-y baked beans. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m not the type to grab a can of sugary, processed “baked” beans off a grocery store shelf, even if the odd variety is vegan. But I also didn’t have the time to soak and cook beans from scratch like I normally would, so I did the next best. I grabbed a big can of organic navy beans, and a wee can of organic tomato paste at the store and got to work in the kitchen.
Upon having made up my own recipe, baked it, and eaten it, I remembered there is a “Cheater Baked Beans” recipe in Veganomicon, so I had a little peak to see exactly what they considered “cheater,” because I was pretty sure I’d done some cheating too. And lo, the Isa and the Terry Hope consider using canned beans over cooked-from-scratch beans “cheating,” and so do I, so there you go. But it’s perfectly acceptable if you haven’t planned a whole day in advance. If you’re planning on doing some planning, however, whatchu waitin’ for? Go soak your beans, brah. And then when I say “one can of navy beans,” you can feel vastly superior and substitute 21/2 cups of your home-cooked navy beans. Oh snap!
Unlike sugary, store-bought baked beans that may or may not have grody pork products in them, these home-baked beans are packed with iron-rich unsulphured molasses, along with the usual fiberrific and proteiny navy beans. I served ’em up as my dinner star, with some cumin-steamed sweet potato rounds and a raw collard and cabbage salad, but they’d make a great side to any comfort food-y meal.
There’s nothing quite as rewarding as from-scratch cooking, knowing that you know exactly what’s in your dinner. In terms of taking control of our own health through our diet, preparing from-scratch, with whole ingredients in for sure my number one nutrition tip. So. Get to it!
Smokey Molasses Baked Beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 medjool date, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp unsulphured organic molasses
1/4-1/2 cup water
dash liquid smoke
1 19oz can or 2.5 cups cooked navy beans
Preheat oven to 350F (or for super cheater version, skip this and do it all stovetop). Heat small saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion in coconut oil, 5 minutes, until beginning to brown. Add garlic and medjool date and saute 5 more minutes. Add a few drops of water if needed so nothing burns. Add tomato paste, 1/4 cup water, molasses & liquid smoke.
There’s an optional step at this point. I decided I wanted a smooth sauce, so I tossed it into the food processor at this point to blend everything together. This is not strictly necessary if you don’t mind some onion and garlicky chunks, which will mostly cook down anyway. So, optionally – blend sauce in food processor or with immersion blender until smooth. Return to pot.
Add cooked navy beans. At this point, you again have two options. Continue to cook on the stovetop for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, for the fastest and cheateriest option. Then you’re done. Or, transfer to oven in (obviously) oven-proff dish, and bake for 1 hr, stirring once at half-way point. Serve with meal of choice. Delicious.
|with sweet pot friends|
Continuing on the end-of-winter comfort food theme, tomorrow I’ve got some kick-ass raw brownies with almost-raw peanut butter chocolate frosting. Sugar free and stuff, no biggie.