These beans could have been called “everything but the kitchen sink” beans. I made a large batch of these for a family party this weekend, a potluck of BBQ Chicken, German Cole Slaw, Fruit Salad, Apple Cobbler & Birthday Cake ~ all delicious as usual!
When asked what I put in the beans, I rattled off way too many ingredients. When making something from scratch I taste as I go and add what I think a dish needs. Sweet? Maybe honey, molasses or brown sugar. Salty? Maybe soy sauce or ponzu, or plain salt. I kept adding different ingredients with different flavors to get them just right. So today I made a smaller batch to simplify the recipe.
These beans are meatless. I like bacon in my baked beans but not everyone eats meat so it is easier to leave it out and serve some cooked and crumbled on the side for the bacon lovers!
If you like meatier baked beans but are watching your fat intake you could easily add some chopped prosciutto or lean ham to the beans before you put them in the oven.
Want more flavor? Mix some finely chopped onion and jalapeno pepper in with the brown sugar to sprinkle over the beans before baking.
Balsamic BBQ Baked Beans
1 Quart (4 cups liquid measure) drained cooked great northern or navy beans, or canned beans
1 and 1/4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in a deep casserole dish. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the top. Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove bay leaf from dish before serving. Makes 4 to 6 side dish servings.
*If using canned beans, you may not need to add salt. If using unsalted home cooked beans, add 1 to 2 teaspoons salt. Taste before putting in the oven and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Dry Bean Note: If using dried beans that you have cooked yourself, save the bean cooking liquid and use it in place of the broth listed in the recipe above. For more flavor, add a few large pieces of carrot, celery and onion to the casserole dish before you put it in the oven. Enjoy the veggies as a cook’s treat before serving, or serve with the beans.