There is something about the shorter days that make this one pot meal veeeery appealing. It’s pretty magical that you can put a pot of ingredients into the oven, looking and tasting one way, and pull it out HOURS later totally transformed. Like all of the best fall/winter food, you put it in the oven before the sun goes down, and enjoy it in the chilly, premature darkness.
Baked beans are a favourite of mine. They were always a made from scratch, once in a while, special occasion food in my family. It wasn’t until I did some traveling through the UK (and other places where British people travel) that I realized that some people ate baked beans…..every day. And often for breakfast.
Beans on toast?! A totally brilliant textural contrast, I totally get it. Although, an even better combo, especially if you’re into feeding your body blood-cleaning chlorophyll and antioxidants: beans with greens. Still texturally contrasting, but you also get the deeply cooked beans heat and flavour with the fresh, enzyme-rich, lemony-ness of the greens. Any fresh green will do, simply toss with some lemon juice.
The beans themselves are baked without a hint of ketchup. We have used tomato puree, raw apple cider vinegar and some dates to mimic the ketchup (that we are strangely, but undeniably drawn to). Smoked paprika gives us that bacon-free smokiness, and turmeric….is just there to lower inflammation, you won’t notice it (unless you spill some on your white shirt) (sorry turmeric).
A bit of molasses helps us reach the depth of flavour that we want, while offering up some serious iron (among other minerals). Add mustard if you have any –oh wait, we have all of some homemade mustard in our fridge looking for the perfect opportunity to be used (any of the 3 recipes will work in this one).
I appreciate that beans on toast for breakfast everyday is made possible by the fact that they come in a can that you can buy pretty much anywhere, including the gas station. But besides the soaking and cooking time, these beans do not take long to prep, they are so full of ACTUAL vegetables (leeks! garlic! sweet potatoes! etc!), and once made, they freeze extremely well. Freeze them in appropriately sized jars (as many as you will eat in 2-3 days). It is almost as easy as opening a can, and so much more satisfying.
Heat up and serve with some greens tossed in lemon juice, a fresh salad like this or this, or simply pour the hot beans over a bowl of fresh kale, partially wilting it. Breakfast (or lunch or dinner) of champions.
- 1 lb Dried Navy Beans (soaked 12+ hours, drained, rinsed and cooked in water with kombu)
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 Red Onion, diced
- 1 Leek, diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 3 c Tomato Passata/Purée (from a jar not a can) or 10-15 fresh tomatoes (if in season)
- 2 c Water
- ⅓ c Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ Sweet Potato Purée (cut up, steamed, puréed or mashed -skin left on)
- ¼ c Molasses (unsulphered)
- 2 Tbsp Mustard
- 5 Dates, finely chopped (or blend with sweet potato)
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Several grinds of Black Pepper (to improve turmeric absorption)
- Preheat oven to 250*F
- On medium heat, In a dutch oven (or pot that can and will go in your oven) sweat the onion, leek and garlic in the coconut oil and a splash of water (no colour), until the onions go translucent.
- Add the turmeric, smoked paprika and pepper, and sauté for another few minutes.
- Add the cooked beans, including the kombu used to cook the beans (and/or add fresh)
- Add everything else
- Mix well, slowly bring to a simmer, but the lid on it (or cover in foil if you have no lid -just be sure that is far from touching the actual food)
- Bake in the middle rack for 2 hours, or until it has reduced to a rich and creamy consistency. If it is still a bit runny, take the lid off and leave it in for another 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with some fresh and lemony winter green salad
- This tastes better on day 2 - make it ahead! It also freezes quite well.
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