Home cooked baked beans is a lovely simple dish and true comfort food.
Beans & legumes are simple to cook and are cheap, nutritious and versatile. They are a highly underrated food and you don't need to be a vegetarian to start adding them to your diet.
The more zero waste we try to be, the more I am rethinking the foods we choose to eat. Meat requires so many resources to produce and plant based diets are definitely kinder on the planet. Replacing meat with good quality protein like legumes and pulses is great for the planet and great for our health too. This isn't completely meat free as this recipe does contain a small amount of bacon which gives this dish a great flavour.
These are the basic ingredients and following the recipe will give you a great meal. I do encourage you to try adding your own herbs and spices, perhaps a little chilli to tailor to your own taste.
300g of White beans (Navy, Lima, Cannellini & Great Northern are good choices)
3 slices of Bacon
3 cloves of Garlic
1 Spring Onion
400-500g Tin of Tomatoes (or pasta sauce or 600grams of fresh tomatoes)
Salt & Pepper
How to Cook it
> Rinse and Pre-soak the dried beans in pot of hot water for an hour or overnight to cut down on cooking time.
> After soaking, Drain & Boil in a pot of water for 45-60 minutes until soft and edible.
While the beans are cooking...
> Roughly chop the bacon, onion and garlic and fry in a dash of olive oil.
Once the onions are translucent the bacon is browned.
>Add tomato base, herbs & spices. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes to infuse the flavours.
>Once the beans are cooked, drain out the water and mix into your sauce.
>Place it all in an oven proof dish and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes (uncovered) at 180 degrees.
As I wrote this recipe, I thought of a lot of variations! You can see in the picture above, I got out a selection of spices but decided not to include them all.
We were also quarantined at home with the latest germs from school and unable to go to the shop so I substituted with a jar of pasta sauce. Fresh tomato is better than tinned and would be my first choice.
You can really add whatever spices smell good to you at the time for example, basil, chili, and coriander would work too. We love Turmeric and use it regularly as it has some good health benefits and tastes Yum! Wellness Mama has an entire post dedicated to this spice and some interesting recipes to boot.
Adding finely chopped celery to the frying process would also taste delicious and if your a cheese lover, top with cheese before baking in the oven. Any beans will work for this recipe and if you have an aversion to cooking your own beans, tinned would suffice. Just use whatever you have on hand. A longer baking time will give a deeper flavour, but it's not necessary.
This dish can be served as a side to dinner, with eggs for breakfast or just with toast. If you end up with too much, this can be frozen too.
If you give this recipe a go, I'd love to know what you thought and what you decided to add in😃