UnFoodie Bakes Beans

By Karen

I think it’s a New England thing to eat pork and beans with eggs for breakfast, and my father likes to do that. Beans are a great source of fiber, which I worry my parents don’t get enough of because my mother seems unaware of how important it is and doesn’t like or prepare many dishes that contain it (like beans).

So instead of letting Dad eat mushy canned beans, I make him some from “scratch” — dried Great Northern beans soaked in water overnight. But you can use any type of bean.


For this batch, I used 1 1/2 bags (24 oz.) because I wanted to keep some for myself.

After soaking the beans in cold water at least 12 hours, they more than double in volume, but they’re still hard. You have to cook them before you can do anything with them. Trust me on this, I once tried making this dish in a crockpot without precooking the beans, thinking they’d surely soften in 8 hours, but I was dead wrong.

Before cooking, replace the soaking water with fresh cold water that submerses the beans an inch or two. Then boil those suckers for 30-45 minutes, until they’re soft. You can add salt to the water, but I don’t usually because I’m trying to keep them healthy. The pot can be covered or uncovered; if the water gets low, add more. Here they are cooked and drained…


While the beans were boiling, I microwaved and broke up 8 slices of cooked bacon from Costco. It gives the beans porky flavor without so much fat.


I also diced and sautéed a large onion with 2 cloves of garlic until they were soft. And preheated the oven to 325°.


Now it’s time to throw the bacon, onions, and garlic onto the beans.

Next, I added molasses, mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce. These were the brands I had on hand…


As for quantities, I usually eyeball it, but ballpark would be 1/4 cup each of molasses and mustard, and 1 cup each of ketchup and BBQ (although you can go heavier on one of these last 2 if you prefer either one’s taste. I added more of both after I snapped this picture).


Mix it all together gently to coat all the beans, but try not to moosh them. At this point, I transferred them to my soup pot for baking.


Cover the pot and bake for an hour to give all the ingredients a chance to “get happy,” as Emeril would put it.

A 1/2 cup serving of plain beans has only 70 calories, yet 13 grams of fiber (that’s 2 Weight Watchers® Plus Points) and is very hearty. I’d guess everything else in them adds maybe 30 calories per serving, tops.

These beans freeze well and can be reheated in the microwave. I ate mine as a healthy, almost fat-free, guilt-free side dish with dinner every night for a week.

5 Responses to UnFoodie Bakes Beans

  1. Zappa's Mom says:

    mmmmm….will you please come to my house and make me a batch? I’m getting over the flu and I don’t feel like moving a muscle. I hate January

  2. catsworking says:

    ZM, sorry you are feeling poorly. So far so good at this end, and I didn’t get a shot. Beans would definitely cure what ails you. 😉

  3. adele says:

    Me too, even though beans wreak havoc with my delicate digestion. I GOT a flu shot and still rang in the new year in the hospital with a pretty severe upper respiratory infection. Better now, but still wiped out. I’ll figure out my New Orleans red beans recipe and send it to you so you can have another bean dish in your repetoire. People love it.

    Haven’t spent much time at the computer, but I have a few thoughts on The Taste that I’ll send along. Dorothy and I wish a good 2014 to all Cats Working staff and readers.

  4. catsworking says:

    Adele, sorry to hear you have been in the hospital. We all wish a happy new year to you and Dorothy.

    I’m liking The Taste better this season, once they got past the picking stage. I also finally caught up on Parts Unknown and finished the season. I may do a new post on both soon.

    I’d like the red beans recipe, especially if it’s spicy.

  5. adele says:

    I’ll send you the red beans recipe in the next day or so — I’m still thinking about proportions. It’s an everything in one pot, top of the stove thing, and you can make it as spicy as you like.

    I’m liking The Taste better as well. Marcus Samuelsson is a vast improvement over Brian Malarkey, and they seem to be showing more actual cooking, although, as you say, the concept of”one perfect spoon” is still preposterous. There’s an interesting article on Nigella-gate in the latest Vanity Fair. I must say, I think you can see the strain of the past year on her. And though I’ve cooked several of her recipes (and liked them), both this season and last, I’ve wished she communicated better with her team(and picked better,for that matter).

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