There is nothing quite as comforting as a piping hot plate of homemade baked beans. These vegetarian baked beans are packed with rich, smoky flavor – and incredibly simple to prepare. Plus, they’re completely vegan and gluten-free.
Do the words “baked beans” illicit memories of that horribly watery and synthetic, tinned variety?
It’s time to cast those memories aside because my homemade vegetarian baked beans are worlds apart from the tinned imitation.
Putting the “Beans” in Vegetarian Baked Beans
Okay, so this recipe still uses canned beans, but not like you might think. Buy canned cannellini beans, which are the white beans often used to make baked beans.
If you really want to start from scratch, you can buy the dried cannellini beans and let them soak for five hours, but trust me, the tinned cannellini beans will work great too, and save you a lot of time.
What makes these vegetarian baked beans sublime is the smokiness of the paprika, complemented by the sweetness of the onion. It’s divine!
Making the Sauce
Start by heating your stovetop to medium heat and cooking some onions in a bit of olive oil. You can try adding some shallots as well, if you want to mix things up a bit.
The shallots will give a slightly sweeter flavor. Then, add a bit of salt and cook the onions until they are just soft. Then add some fresh garlic and cook a little longer.
Next, you’ll add the rest of the ingredients. For the tomatoes, you have a couple of options. I prefer to used crushed tomatoes, which you can buy canned at the store. You could also make your own from fresh tomatoes – here’s a tutorial, in case you want to give it a try.
If you prefer much chunkier tomatoes, you can use cans of chopped tomatoes for your vegetarian baked beans instead.
Now, when it comes time to add the rest of the ingredients, do not skip the smoked paprika – it’s the secret ingredient that gives the baked beans its’ smoky flavor!
The paprika can also be used to make a side of delicious chili, lime, and smoked paprika pita chips.
You’ll let the baked beans cook on the stove top for 45 minutes to one hour. Around 45 minutes, just check on the beans to see how much longer they need to cook.
Sweetening Your Vegetarian Baked Beans
And even though your beans will be cooking with brown sugar, if you want a slightly sweeter flavor, add a touch of maple syrup. It really adds another layer of flavor to the dish.
They may be healthy vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free beans, but I never said they’d be sugar-free. I have to feed the sweet tooth!
Other Tips for Vegetarian Baked Beans
It’s important to choose good, quality crushed tomatoes, which provide the base for the rich tomato sauce. This is how we get incredible flavor without hours of cooking. I am personally in love with these crushed San Marzano tomatoes, and have been using them in all my recipes lately. I swear they are more flavorful than any others I’ve tried!
Left-over tomatoes (this recipe only requires 2 cups) can be used to make my Vegan Margarita Pizzas.
My favorite way to eat these vegan baked beans is for lunch with a side of kale chips in place of bread. But, they’re also delicious on hot buttery toast, or a piece of grilled sourdough rubbed with garlic. If you want to make your own bread, try my dill soda bread recipe. The mix of flavors will be surprising and delicious!
Vegetarian Baked Beans Recipe
- Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and onion. Add a pinch of salt and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Adjust the seasonings as necessary.
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