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March 13, 2012

Recipe for slow cooker vegetarian chipotle baked beans

Slow-cooker-vegetarian-baked-beans

In the house where I grew up, my mother treated my brother and me (and my dad, too) to franks and beans for dinner every now and then. The franks came from the kosher butcher who delivered a freezer full of packaged meats to our house a few times a year, and I remember them as the best all-beef franks I've ever eaten. The vegetarian baked beans, on the other hand, came from the grocery store, in the red-and-white can, and I don't remember much about them except that I liked them enough to eat them cold, right from the can, when my mother wasn't looking. This recipe for vegetarian (and vegan) chipotle baked beans comes close to the taste I remember, except that they're a bit more grown up, not burn-your-mouth spicy, with a deeper smoky flavor that replaces the ham bone added to traditional bean pots. Let the slow cooker do the work, and start with fresh dry beans. No cans needed. When my husband Ted added a couple of turkey franks to a bowl of these beans for dinner, it made me feel like a kid again.

Slow-cooker-vegetarian-baked-beans-detail

Slow cooker vegetarian chipotle baked beans

From the pantry, you'll need: dried white beans (navy or cannellini or Great Northern beans), molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste, chipotle peppers in adobo, onion, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce.

Serves 8.

Ingredients

1 lb dry small white beans
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce or mushroom soy sauce
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions

Pick over the beans, removing any stones or shriveled beans, and place them in a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the molasses, sugar, tomato paste, chipotles, onion, mustard and Worcestershire. Pour in enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch, and stir everything together.

Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.

If the beans are not tender, cook for an additional 30 minutes and check again. If they are tender (and they should be), remove from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon and place in a mixing bowl.

Pour the liquid from the cooker into a small sauce pan, and bring to a boil on the stove over medium heat. Be careful, because the liquid has sugar in it, and it will bubble up at first as the water begins to boil out. Reduce the heat to low, and boil the liquid until it is reduced by half and slightly thickened. Taste (carefully!), and season with salt and pepper.

Reunite the liquid with the cooked beans, and stir gently to combine. Serve hot, or cool completely and refrigerate. The beans will be even better the second day.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Slow cooker lemon-garlic chicken and white bean stew
Cannellini vinaigrette
Easy cassoulet
Twisted Three Sisters soup
Greek hummus with white beans and feta

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Gluten-free chicken chili with white beans, sweet potato and lime, from Gluten-free Goddess
Roasted garlic lover's white bean soup, from Farmgirl Fare
Chard and white bean stew, from Smitten Kitchen
Slow cooker kielbasa and white bean stew with tomatoes and spinach, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Stewed white beans with tomatoes and rosemary, from Noble Pig

Comments

Mmm... molasses. They're the secret sweetness to amazing beans.

I will be trying these! Great recipe!

It's supposed to rain this weekend - now you've got me thinking franks and beans may be in order! Love the chipotle.

Thanks, Lydia--you're always an inspiration. For some reason I've had franks and beans on my mind too. Maybe because I bought a big supply of dried beans online from Rancho Gordo a couple of months ago. Rancho Gordo is a great source for dried beans--many heirloom varieties that I've never seen elsewhere.

Lydia,

Question. What's the biggest difference between cooking in a slow-cooker and using a Dutch oven in the oven?

Susan, without molasses, baked beans wouldn't be worth making! I'm not a fan of super-sweet dishes, and this one isn't, but molasses give it a richness that absolutely has to be there.

Maria, enjoy!

Kathy, these are so easy, and kid-friendly. And, really, are we ever too old for franks and beans when we use good franks, and beans made from scratch?

Donna, I love Rancho Gordo beans. Whenever I have them in my pantry, I want to save them, just because they are so beautiful.

Kevin, great question. One advantage of a slow cooker is the "set it and forget it" aspect. But more than that, I think it has to do with moisture retention. In the slow cooker you use less moisture, and very little evaporates. In the oven, even in a good cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, there always seems to be more evaporation. Of course this recipe would be perfectly delicious baked in the oven, too; just keep an eye on the liquid as the beans cook.

Lydia, my siblings and I got to choose our dinner for our birthdays growing up and for many years I chose hot dogs and beans! So, this brings back many memories and I look forward to trying this recipe.

Really great! I love using the slow cooker for beans, and baked beans are arguably the awesome-est to turn them into. Great idea and great recipe. I actually just posted a baked beans recipe yesterday, too. Good times.

Janice, I hope these "grown up" baked beans will become a treat for your family again. Ted and I found them quite addictive.

Todd, lots of fun to use the slow cooker for baked beans.

Great modern twist on an old classic and wouldn't these be great for the office potluck too!!!

What a great looking recipe for baked beans. I love the idea of Chipotle in this.

lydia
as a child i used to love baked bean sandwiches with mustard.
i am so drawn to baked beans that have a good dose of molasses and heat. I bet the adobo is fabulous in here. And the leftovers just get better right?

Carol, you can make these in advance and bring them to the office, and have happy co-workers!

Kalyn, chipotle makes them special. (Well, it makes everything special.)

Vanillasugar, of course they get better and better. I don't remember having sandwiches, but I liked stirring some mustard into my beans when I was a kid, too.

Love the addition of smokey chipotle peppers to these baked beans and the fact that these are vegetarian but full flavored.

Chipotle beans, yummy!

Jeanette, Ben: the smoky flavor of the chipotles adds some of what I imagine the ham adds to traditional beans, without the meat or salt or fat. And, of course, with a little bit of heat.

These look absolutely delicious. Love the unique spin on such a classic dish.

Yummmmm! There are many reasons why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years.

Zesty Cook, JC: These beans taste like the beans I remember from childhood...only better! The chipotle really does it.

Would chipotle powder work in this recipe instead of the peppers? Sometimes they are hard to find around this small town area.

Sara, the difference with chipotle powder is that you won't get the vinegar from the adobo sauce. So, add a bit of cider vinegar, to taste, and see if that gives you the same flavor. (or maybe something even better!)

The beans have been cooking for 8 hours and still are not done. Should I have soaked the beans overnight first? It could be my newer crock pot isn't as hot as the old ones. I'm close to sea level, so no high altitude cooking issues.
They sure taste good even though they're still not cooked.

Lorrie, I wish I could troubleshoot, but I'll ask these questions. Are the beans fresh (haven't been sitting around in the store for a long time)? My small slow cooker is fairly new, so I don't think that's it. I'm glad the flavor is good, and I guess I'd say to just keep cooking. I'm not sure why they haven't cooked yet, but I'm sorry it didn't work for you. Crockpots are something of a mystery!

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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