Easy and Healthy 'Baked' Beans
This recipe for baked beans is quick, easy and so good. The beans are healthier because there is a minimal amount of bacon, which still adds a lot of flavor. I also use plain tomato sauce and seasonings as a substitute for the usual ketchup, which is high in both sugar and sodium. Since the tomato sauce has a natural sweetness, just a little brown sugar is needed. You can substitute molasses or maple syrup. The bacon is optional and can be omitted for a vegetarian version. If you do not add it, use a little oil to sauté the vegetables. If desired, you can add a couple drops of liquid smoke for flavor. I have served these beans to people who do not know that they are healthier, and they are very surprised because there is no detectable difference in taste. The recipe can easily be doubled.
- 1 ounce slab bacon, coarsely chopped (or use 1 slice thick-cut bacon)
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped green peppers
- 1 can (15 ounces) great northern, navy or pinto beans, preferably low-sodium, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup plain tomato sauce, preferably 'no salt added'
- 1/2 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon, or less, dark brown sugar
- Pinch cinnamon
- Pepper to taste
Brown the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and green peppers and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately, or keep warm over very low heat.
Notes: The beans are good served hot, warm or room temperature. Like most baked beans, these reheat very well, either on the stovetop or in the microwave.