Next time you have dried beans in the cupboard and an empty produce drawer, give this recipe a try. I made this batch with a bag of beautiful locally-grown cranberry beans that I had received in my CSA share. Baked beans are typically made with small white beans, such as navy beans, but as always, you should feel free to get creative with whatever you have on hand.
Cranberry beans have a mild, nutty flavor, and I thought they worked great in this.
I like to serve baked beans warm, paired with a side of creamy slaw like this Cabbage & Root Veggie Slaw. You can also eat the leftovers cold on toast (don’t knock it until you try it!). If you want to up your game, you can top them with something tangy like kimchi or Quick-Pickled Red Onions.
This recipe calls for one pound of dried beans, cooked and drained. If possible, plan on soaking them the night before so you can simmer them on the stovetop the next day. Alternatively, you can follow the directions on the bag for a quick-soak or cook them in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
You’ll also notice this recipe calls for blackstrap molasses which is my preference because of its high nutritional content, and the bitter taste of blackstrap works well in a sweet and savory dish like this. If you don’t have blackstrap, or if you don’t like the bitter flavor, you can substitute regular dark molasses. If you do that, your baked beans will be sweeter.
So, what’s the best kind of molasses to have on hand? Blackstrap and dark (or “regular”) molasses are both on the Vinegar Home Kitchen Staples Checklist, but is it really necessary to buy two kinds of molasses, and how do you know what to look for? Unsulphured molasses that doesn’t specify “light” or “blackstrap” is what is typically called “regular” or “dark” and is the most common and versatile type of molasses. It has a bittersweet flavor and is suitable for baking. If you want extra nutritional content and a more robust flavor, I recommend adding blackstrap to your pantry and finding uses for it like these baked beans. However, because of its strong flavor and lower moisture content, it typically shouldn’t be substituted for regular molasses unless the recipe calls for it.
1 lb dried beans, cooked & drained (cranberry, cannellini, navy, or other white beans)
2 T olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
½ cup blackstrap molasses
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp salt
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 T tamari
2 tsp sriracha hot sauce
Cook dried beans according to package (if cooking on the stovetop, pre-soak the night before or follow directions for a quick-soak). Rinse, drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°
In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for another minute.
All molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, salt, apple cider vinegar, tamari, and sriracha. Stir until well-combined.
Add cooked beans, stir and transfer to a large casserole dish (like a 9 X 13 “lasagna pan”).
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for an hour.