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It’s prime time for baked beans!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

By: Jeff Ash


Picnic table setting with a plate of watermelon, bowls of baked beans and potato salad, a pitcher of lemonade and a plate with a brat, baked beans and potato salad.

 

We debated the perfect summer meal as we sat around the office the other day.

 

It went something like this:

“July is National Baked Bean Month. I see a campfire.”

“Ditto.”

“Excellent hot or cold.”

“Great for BBQ.”

“Definitely good for BBQ.”

“Burgers or brats, watermelon, baked beans. Complete meal. Oh, chips and dip, too. The salty to the sweet of the baked bean.”

“Brown mustard, ice-cold beverage.”

 

Now that we have your full attention, a few more thoughts about baked beans.

 

Canned baked beans often have lots of preservatives and processed sweeteners that include high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup and molasses, so choose wisely.

 

When pork fat is added, that makes it off-limits for vegetarians.

 

Homemade recipes may add bacon or salt pork. Doing that adds calories and fat.

 

A small bowl of baked beans with a spoon.

 

Here’s a recipe for baked beans that puts something healthier on your summer table.

 

Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce give these baked beans some snap. Compared to traditional recipes, this one has less than half the sugar and less than three-quarters the sodium.

 

This recipe is low-calorie and high-fiber, is vegetarian and vegan if you go without the optional bacon, and has no dairy, egg, gluten, nut or soy.

 

Prep time: 55 minutes. Makes 10 servings. Can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to three days.

 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)

3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium navy or great northern beans, rinsed

1½ cups water

¾ cup ketchup

⅓ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

 

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion. If using bacon, add that, too. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 10 minutes.

 

Add beans, water, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, chipotle, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 30 minutes.

 

Variation No. 1

To bring a different kind of spice to this recipe, make these substitutions:

  • ⅓ cup honey instead of ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar instead of 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder instead of 1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

This remains a vegetarian and vegan recipe if you go without the optional bacon. However, the addition of honey means it may no longer be a vegan recipe depending on one’s vegan practices.

 

Variation No. 2

To make this recipe less spicy, make these substitutions:

  • ⅓ cup maple syrup instead of ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar instead of 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard instead of 1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Again, this remains a vegetarian and vegan recipe if you go without the optional bacon.

 

Nutrition information

Per ½-cup serving, original recipe: 191 calories; 6.7 g protein; 32.3 g carbohydrates; 6.7 g dietary fiber; 12.1 g sugars; 4.3 g fat; 0.3 g saturated fat; vitamin A 108.4 IU; vitamin C 2 mg; folate 4.8 mcg; calcium 86.3 mg; iron 1.8 mg; magnesium 59.4 mg; potassium 360.9 mg; sodium 354 mg; added sugar 11 g. Exchanges: 1 starch, ½ other carbohydrate, 1 lean meat, 1 fat.

 

Per ½-cup serving, Variation No. 1: 198 calories; 6.7 g protein; 34.5 g carbohydrates; 6.7 g dietary fiber; 14.2 g sugars; 4.3 g fat; 0.3 g saturated fat; vitamin A 108.4 IU; vitamin C 2 mg; folate 4.9 mcg; calcium 83.1 mg; iron 1.9 mg; magnesium 58.9 mg; potassium 357 mg; sodium 350.2 mg; added sugar 13 g. Exchanges: 1 starch, ½ other carbohydrate, 1 lean meat, 1 fat.

 

Per ½-cup serving, Variation No. 2: 192 calories; 6.8 g protein; 32.2 g carbohydrates; 6.7 g dietary fiber; 11.4 g sugars; 4.3 g fat; 0.3 g saturated fat; vitamin A 108.4 IU; vitamin C 2 mg; folate 33.5 mcg; calcium 92 mg; iron 1.8 mg; magnesium 61.8 mg; potassium 377.4 mg; sodium 351/1 mg; added sugar 10 g. Exchanges: 1 lean protein, 1 starch, ½ fat, ½ other carbohydrate, ½ vegetable.

 

Source: Eating Well

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