Slow Cooker Everyday Challenge: Days 5 and 7, post 6, Vegetarian Baked Beans

It was inevitable, really. I had to beg a sick day from the slow cooker challenge. Not a break from slow cooking, mind you, just from posting about it. This “bug” (which is really too diminutive a word for the repulsive, green slimey, lung-flapping viral/bacterial ball it is) has been a real b***. Because misery loves company,  it’s tempting now to go into extreme detail about the progression of chest congestion, the viscosity of mucous, and the rest, but I won’t go any further, I promise. I’m not sure there’s really any time and place appropriate for that kind of description outside of a medical building, but if there is, it’s definitely not a food blog.

So, if you’re really reading this, I wonder, can you recognize the picture? It’s probably not all that appetizing, but is nevertheless a major player in the big picture pie of what Dave and I subsisted on for a year in the Lake District on a shoestring budget: beans on toast! I’d forgotten just how good that is. Plus, there’s something very admirable about how filling the basic, budget “dish” really is.

Beans really are great for any budget. I once heard beans described as ” poor and healthy people’s meat”.  I love that. Paired correctly, beans are great sources of protein, rich in fiber, and said to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, among other things. I’ve been searching for years for the perfect recipe for Boston-style baked beans, stand alone tasty beans to pour over baked potatoes and spoon alongside omelets. Only without being loaded with sugars and salt. Day 5, I used this recipe from Simply Recipes, minus the pork salt cubes, only I cut the sugar back to 1 tablespoon each of molasses and brown sugar. The beans were OK. Not bad, even. Definitely alright. But not enough to make a post. That’s why this same recipe became day 7, still without the pork, but with the full amounts of sugar, and the addition of tomato puree. Much, much better. Delicious, in fact, although truth be told, beans in plain old tomato sauce are really my favorite. But these are tops, too. I think it would have been worth adding some salt and extra seasonings to compensate from the exclusion of pork, but that’s all. Worth the wait, and the second trial. Cool beans.

Slow Cooked Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1 pound (2 to 2 1/4 cups) dry white beans such as Navy beans or Great Northern beans
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1 medium onion, (1 1/2 cups) chopped

1 Place beans in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Soak overnight and drain. Alternatively, bring a pot with the beans covered with 2 inches of water to a boil, remove from heat and let soak for a hour, then drain.

2 Mix the molasses, brown sugar, mustard, and ground cloves with 3 cups of hot water.

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