Every good baked beans recipe has both an element of heat and of sweet. This, my very favorite vegetarian baked beans recipe, has healthy doses of each. There’s no need for the salt pork or bacon found in many traditional baked beans recipes – these pack a huge punch of flavor just they way they are. (How Bridget-Jones-esque!)
The beans (I start with dried pinto beans) are first cooked simply – with onion, bay leaf and black peppercorns. Then the cooked beans are placed in the Crock Pot for some nice low-and-slow action, infusing every last bite with the rich sauce made with pure maple syrup and the spicy kick of everyone’s beloved Sriracha.
These baked beans are perfect, of course, as a side dish, but they’re also plenty hearty enough to act as a main dish too. Both my meat-eating guy and I love ‘em with a side of buttered cornbread for a nice, simple, delicious dinner. And they’re even worthy of special occasions. This past Christmas Eve, I brought these along as a side to be served alongside a big smoked ham. They were a hit.
Adjust the Sriracha depending on your tolerance for heat. And remember, a little goes a long way!
- 1 1-pound bag pinto beans
- 1 medium onion, cut into eighths
- 1 bay leaf
- Small handful of black peppercorns
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup ketchup
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce for a nice subtle kick or up to 3 tablespoons for more heat
- 2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Rinse and sort the beans and add them to a large pan. Soak them in two quarts of cold water overnight. You can also bring two quarts of water to a boil, add the beans, and soak them for a couple of hours. Pretty much every bag of dried beans will have specific instructions for soaking.
- After soaking, drain the beans, add them back to the pan and fill the pan with enough water to cover one or two inches above the beans. Place beans over medium heat. Add the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low. Simmer the beans for about two hours, or until tender. Drain.
- Add drained beans to Crock Pot. Add the maple syrup, ketchup, brown sugar, sriracha, Worchestershire sauce, ground ginger, and salt. Stir.
- Cook on low for about 10 hours.