Baked beans is usually a holiday or special occasion kind of dish. I think you can make it work all year round. They are so good and such a great option for meal prepping because you can make a really big batch. Beans are a fantastic source of protein and it’s not hard to cook dry beans. It just takes time! If you’re new to cooking beans, Bon Appetit has an article about how to cook them. I’ve never made a batch of baked beans by myself. I’ve usually only had them at parties or family occasions. I first tried a traditional recipe (without the meat) but I decided to elevate it and this recipe does not disappoint!
A Healthier Version
Traditionally, baked beans include bacon so I’ve replaced it with liquid smoke for same flavour. This makes it much healthier! I wanted to try to make this recipe even healthier so I replaced the refined sugar with maple syrup. Baked beans recipes use a lot of molasses as well. This definitely adds a lot of sugar but it’s not refined. Molasses is only slightly healthier than sugar really. If you’re someone who needs to watch how much sugar you use, I would reduce the molasses in this recipe. Then replace it with tomato paste or more water. Instead of ketchup, I used diced tomatoes and I liked having some chunks of tomatoes.
While it may seem like this recipe is super time consuming, keep in mind that you don’t have to do anything for most of that time. Most of the time is either soaking the beans or letting them simmer in the crockpot. If you make my recipe, I’d love to know what you think either in the comments or you can share your recreation on instagram and tag me @nicolemgallant! 🙂
Soak the navy beans overnight in a large pot. They should soak for at least 12 hours. Make sure the beans are completely covered and then add some more because the beans expand a little.
Drain the beans from the soaking water. Transfer them back to your large pot and cover them again with water. Cover your pot and turn your stove heat to high and bring the beans to a boil. Lower the heat and let them simmer for 30 minutes. After they simmer they should be softened but not mushy.
Drain the water again and now transfer your beans to your crockpot. Add 2 1/2 cups of fresh water. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine everything. You want the beans to be covered plus a little more so you may need to add another 1/2 cup of water.
Turn the Crockpot heat to high and put on the lid. Let it simmer for between 5-7 hours.
If you want to reduce the sugar in this recipe, you can reduce the molasses and replace with tomato paste or more water.