Betty Goes Vegan Vegetarian Baked Beans

Listen to the interview.

In their new cookbook, BETTY GOES VEGAN: 500 Classic Recipes For The Modern Family, authors and food lovers Annie and Dan Shannon have created a user-friendly guide to making delicious comfort food meals for the whole family. With hundreds of amazing recipes, many inspired by The Betty Crocker Cookbook, the Shannon’s helpful style and advice make this a must-have for any kitchen. Above all, the Shannon’s decided to take the challenge of turning classic Betty Crocker recipes into vegan meals, so we can learn to enjoy tasty food without the processed bits.

Betty Goes Vegan is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by General Mills or the Betty Crocker Brand. 

Directions

Soak the beans overnight, discard the water. Add fresh water and simmer them briefly (maybe 30 mins.) to just barely tender while preheating oven to 350ish. The “right” temperature really varies with the size of pot you are using; you want the beans to bubble.

Put water on to boil.

Coat an oven-proof covered pot, such as a Dutch oven or large Pyrex casserole or ceramic bean pot, with a splash of olive oil. Lay the quartered onions in the bottom. (Note on selecting a pot: There must be enough headroom to put in all ingredients above, plus at least 1 inch above that of boiling water plus clearance to prevent overflows.)

Drain beans; dress them with the other ingredients above (sweeteners and mustard and tomatoes). Pour over the onions.

Pour boiling water over the mixture until it’s an inch or so above the solids.

Cover and bake until done, between two hours and forever. Many recipes say to leave baked beans uncovered while cooking; doing so, with certain large beans, I have had it take six hours or more. I cover the casserole, and periodically check to see if water is receding…if so, I taste a bean…if not nearly ready, I add more boiling water, often a couple of times.

Once the beans reach an almost-ready tenderness, uncover and turn up heat to 375 the last hour (give or take) to reduce the liquid to a thick, dark brown syrup, turning the ingredients a couple of times to mix everything up.

If the flavor isn’t sweet enough, or tomato-ey enough, or wants salt, add it during this last phase. Or balance the maple-to-molasses ratio to suit your taste. This is a flexible process, not delicate chemistry. You can even make the beans soupier, with more sauce than I like, by not cooking down so long.

Again: The beans you start with, how well you soak/cook them first, and the vessel you cook in really make the timing and temperature combination vary. Experiment.


Yield: 6-8 portions

What's Needed:

 

1 pound dry beans (I like a Cranberry type, but a creamier-textured Navy-style small white bean is the traditional choice and cooks faster; in this batch I used ‘Yellow Eye’)

2 quartered medium onions

1/4 cup+ molasses (I use Wholesome Sweeteners organic style, very rich)

1/4 cup+ maple syrup — I like Dark Amber for robust flavor

4 Tbsp. grainy mustard

4-6 Italian-style paste tomatoes, roughly cut up—alternatively use other tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or even some red sauce

boiling water, enough to cover an inch or so above solids in pot

small amount of olive oil

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