Baked beans are one of the best dishes for a vegetarian’s back pocket. Not literally, because that would be messy. But figuratively? Absolutely.
They’re the perfect bring-it-along dish, from potlucks to BBQs to, heck, Thanksgiving even. And when it comes to fall holidays, these these Maple Miso Vegan Baked Beans reallllly fit the bill. Who doesn’t love maple in autumn?!
So here’s the situation. I’ve been sort of obsessed with maple syrup as an ingredient this fall, and thought a good dose of pure maple syrup might just be glorious in baked beans. But I knew we’d need something salty and umami-ish to offset all that sweetness. I’m not sure why, but miso popped into my mind first thing. You know, that Japanese fermented soybean paste that is a serious flavor bomb? I know, I know – “fermented soybean paste” might not exactly sound appetizing. Maybe especially not in baked beans. But if you’re feeling that way, take a leap of faith with me, won’t you? I promise you won’t regret it.
These baked beans cook up the traditional way. First, soak your dried beans. Then, give them a flavor jolt right from the start by cooking them in veggie broth in a nice, thick, oven-safe dutch oven. Next, mix up your flavorings – miso, maple syrup, and more – in a bowl and stir them on in. Then transfer to the oven and let it bake until it’s bubbly, thick, rich, and quite possibly the best baked beans you’ve ever had.
Seriously, they really are that good. AND they’re vegetarian and vegan! Doesn’t get any better than that!
I adapted the miso & molasses baked beans recipe from The First Mess (which is from the cookbook “Modern Potluck” by Kristin Donnelly). I love the light sweetness yet seasonal vibe the maple lends to the equation instead of molasses. I also made a few tweaks to the spice situation, messing around until I felt I got it just right for this particular baked bean situation.
Maple + miso = mmmmahhhvvvelous baked beans.
Maple Miso Vegan Baked Beans
- 1 pound navy beans (small white beans)
- 6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup white miso
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari (use the latter for gluten-free beans)
- 4 medium cloves garlic (grated or finely minced (I use a Microplane zester to grate))
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (from about 1 thumb-size piece (I use a Microplane for this too))
- Rinse and sort beans. Soak by placing in a large pot and covering with 8 cups of water and then letting sit overnight. You can also use the quick-soak method: Place in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Boil for two minutes, then remove from heat and cover. Let sit for one hour.
- Drain soaked beans and place in a large, oven-proof stock pot along with 6 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium and a gentle boil. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender and the skins peel when you blow on them.
- While the beans cook, stir together the remaining ingredients: To a small bowl, add the miso, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, dry mustard, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Whisk until smooth.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the beans are cooked, remove from heat. Stir in the miso-maple mixture right into the bean and cooking broth.
- Set uncovered in oven and cook for about 90 minutes. Check every 30 minutes, and if the beans are looking too dry, stir in a bit more broth. The beans are done when the sauce has thickened and the batch of beans has browned somewhat around the edges.