Healthier baked beans

Do you ever get completely random food cravings out of nowhere? Last week all of a sudden I badly wanted baked beans, even though I haven’t had them since I was a little kid. I remember my grandma used to make them and add in chunks of hot dogs. They were delicious!

So I started googling recipes, but all of them were full of ketchup, salt, and lots of sugar. I was convinced I could make a healthier recipe by making a few swaps and cutbacks. And I was right. My modified version was a huge hit with my family! Even my dad, who hates messing with classic recipes, was a fan!

Served alongside a baked sweet potato and sauteed collard greens, it was the perfect healthy comfort food dinner.

Healthier Baked Beans

Healthier baked beans

Serves 6-8 | Vegetarian with vegan option

2 cups dry navy beans
1 large onion, diced
3 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce*
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

*Note: If you want to make these vegan, make sure to use a vegan worcestershire sauce available at health food stores

In a large pot, soak the beans for 3 hours in lukewarm water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 to 1.25 hours while covered. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Then drain the beans into a big bowl and save the liquid. Pour the beans into a large casserole dish (that comes with a lid, if possible) along with the onion.

In a small pot combine the molasses, tomato sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup,  worcestershire sauce, mustard, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil for one minute then pour the mixture over the beans. Then pour some of the reserved liquid over the beans until it barely covers them. Cover with the lid or with aluminum foil and bake for at least 3 hours. Check partway through cooking and add more liquid if necessary.

Healthier baked beans

Have you ever modified a classic recipe to make it healthier?

Do you like baked beans?

24 Comments

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24 Responses to Healthier baked beans

  1. I always get random cravings! I usually do modify a classic version to try and make it healthier. It comes out just as delicious usually :) I love your version of baked beans! I do like them!

  2. I get those cravings all the time – and they always feel so good once they are met :) PS – I had that Nutrition textbook for my lifespan class this past semester haha

  3. What a great idea hun! I have thought about doing this, too. My grandma makes homemade beans, but obviously NOT healthy! I LOVE THIS! xoxoxo (P.s. I think I got my comments to post!!!!!!!! WOOOO!!!!)

  4. Yummm, this looks so good! And waaaay healthier than normal baked beans. Now I have a craving for baked beans. I get random cravings all the time though! I usually try to make it with whatever I have on hand, which ends up being healthier in the end. Usually.

  5. Mmmmm I love homemade baked beans. I use a pretty similar recipe. They are still one of the best dishes I've ever made.

  6. I love beans, I swear they never get old

  7. i looooove beans, especially baked, but rarely eat them because of all the sugar and crap that is in them!! love this recipe! :)

  8. Beans are the perfect addition to Summer BBQs

  9. I was never a fan of baked beans, but maybe this recipe would make my tastebuds change their minds! Thanks for sharing! :)

  10. I totally get these random cravings too. My last one was fried rice. Haha.I love baked beans BTW ;)

  11. I love baked beans!! I'm always trying to improve recipes to make them healthier. Especially ones from my southern grandmother. For some reason my family from the north cooks 10X healthier than the south! :)

  12. I can relate on the random cravings! I get them quite often! I've actually never tried baked beans before, so have no clue if I'd like them! They do look great though

  13. Bea

    Mm, I love baked beans but actually I've never had homemade beans before! Your version sounds wayyy healthier than canned beans based on sodium alone. I definitely want to try this now :D

  14. wooo pork and beans!! haha baked beans are one of my dad’s favorite foods ever. I’m not a huge fan, but I should try this recipe out on him since we’re trying to get him to eat healthier. I love all the swaps you made!

  15. You must have been reading my mind with these! I had big plans already to make a hug pot of my baked beans in the crock pot today!

  16. Baked beans have been and probably will always be one of my favorite BBQ treats! I consistently go for them first while at outdoor parties and gatherings in the summer when they are most often offered :) I like the healthier version of them, that's for sure!

  17. I looooove baked beans. I get mad because the hubs refuses to eat them, and I know that if I open a can, it won't last long even though it's just me eating them!

  18. That sounds soo delicious! Need to try that soon (: i have just started up my own healthy food blog, maybe you would take a look? Thanks!www.happymeanshealthy.blogspot.com

  19. Oh yes, I LOVE baked beans! They remind me of camping trips I used to take with my dad; he'd always pack a can of baked beans and a loaf of brown bread with raisins. It was such a strange combination, but so delicious! I'll admit that I've avoided them over the past few years because the canned variety is loaded with sugar and salt. I'd never thought of making them from scratch though! This recipe looks perfect!

  20. I've never actually made baked beans, I have always just had them plain out of the can. Now I am inspired to try this recipe, it looks delicious :)

  21. Hmmnn… Using your family as taste testers? I imagine you wouldn't receive many discouraging votes from them. Try it on complete strangers at a gathering somewhere and gauge their opinions and you may have a different response.  ツ

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