Healthy Vegan Baked Beans

A skillet of healthy vegan baked beans with a black and white checkered napkin on a grey marble background. These easy vegan baked beans are the perfect summer BBQ side dish!

These easy vegan baked beans are the perfect summer BBQ side dish! This delicious, healthy take on classic baked beans is filled with flavor but uses simple ingredients (and no ketchup!) on the stove. Stovetop beans are so easy to make, you’ll be eating them all summer long alongside ALL your cookout favorites! The process is super basic, not to mention oil-free AND done in about half an hour!


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No summer BBQ plate is complete without a nice big pile of baked beans sitting next to that steaming corn on the cob and vegan burger

But let’s be honest, sometimes you don’t want to turn on the oven on those really hot days to make baked beans old-school style. Enter the stovetop “baked” beans! 

These vegan baked beans are so easy and quick to make, and truthfully, with the proper pot and a little adjustment in outlook, you can even make this recipe outside on the grill! 

This is a simple, basic recipe for simple, basic, traditional-style baked beans; but feel free to ramp it up to your own palate-pleasing preferences. Want it hotter? Smokier? This recipe is as easy to adapt as it is to make! We’ll offer some suggestions a little later on.

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Why We Love These Easy Baked Beans:

  • Baked beans are the quintessential side dish to any and all BBQ dishes, and no summer party plate is complete without them.
  • These vegan baked beans are packed not just with great flavor, but also fiber and protein!
  • They are so easy to adapt to your personal tastes and fit with a lot of different diets – including oil-free!
  • You don’t even have to turn on the oven and heat your entire kitchen during those dog days of summer. This vegan baked beans recipe is made right on your stove!

Ingredients for Homemade Baked Beans

To make these easy baked beans, you’ll need 10 simple ingredients (and NO ketchup!), like:

Notes on Beans

White beans can be confusing as a recipe term because there are many varieties of “white bean”. 

There’s Navy beans (also called “pea beans” or “boston beans” among other cute names), Cannellini beans (also known as White Kidney Beans), Great Northern, or Baby Lima beans (aka “butter beans”)…to name a few. 

For this recipe, we usually use canned navy beans. They are smaller and slightly softer than their counterparts and cook a little more quickly. Navy beans also the traditional choice for baked beans, so they seemed the obvious choice for our vegan baked beans recipe. Not to mention, they offer the most fiber! 

Overhead close up of vegan baked beans in a small cast iron skillet with a black and white checkered napkin. Stovetop beans are so easy to make, you’ll be eating them all summer long alongside ALL your cookout favorites! The process is super basic, not to mention oil-free AND done in about half an hour!

Substitution Options

For the Beans: The white bean family are all pretty interchangeable. Just know, cooking times will vary slightly depending on the bean, so check the texture as it simmers.

For the Brown Sugar: You can use light brown sugar or coconut sugar for the recipe if that’s all you have on hand. You can also use molasses or pure maple syrup, but I’d start with half the amount and go by taste from there. Stay away from refined white sugar: it gives the recipe an overly sweet, saccharine flavor.

For the Spices: As I said earlier, this is a basic baked bean recipe. Feel free to play around with the spice amounts to suit your personal tastes. If you don’t have smoked salt or smoked paprika you can use the non-smoked varieties and add about 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke or BBQ sauce. If you’re looking for more heat, you can add some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, adobo sauce, or your favorite hot sauce.

To add a vegan bacon vibe: This is optional, but you might also like to rehydrate some vegan-friendly bacon bits in the sauce while the beans cook down. I recommend adding them just as you start to simmer when you remove the lid. Check the ingredients on some of the common “imitation” bacon bits brands at your local grocery store, as a lot are actually soy-based and “accidentally” vegan. You’re welcome!

How to Make Vegetarian Baked Beans at Home

First, you want to drain and rinse your beans well.

Next, you’ll combine the tomato paste, sugar, and spices and whisk in some hot water until it’s completely combined.  

Then, you’ll pour the tomato mixture over the beans and bring to a boil/simmer until the beans have softened and the sauce has thickened, stirring often.

It’s so important to stir these beans (and scrape the bottom of the pot as you stir) often while they cook! But other than that, the whole process is pretty hands-off.

How to Serve Vegan Baked Beans

Serve these vegan baked beans hot alongside all your summer cookout favorites, including:

Honestly, there isn’t a BBQ dish I can think of that wouldn’t be made better with a side of these beans! Make sure you add a nice big piece of corn on the cob with vegan butter too.

Vegan baked beans in a cast iron skillet with a spoon lifting some out. This delicious, healthy take on classic baked beans is filled with flavor but uses simple ingredients (and no ketchup!) on the stove.

How to Store Leftover Beans

This recipe makes about 3.5 cups or approximately 6-8 servings of baked beans.

Fridge: These baked beans will have their best flavor for up to five days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Freezer: Beans will be at their best up to three months kept frozen in an airtight container. Make certain it is entirely cooled through before freezing to avoid large ice crystals and freezer burn. Defrost fully before reheating.

How to reheat: I like to reheat these beans on medium heat either in a small pot or saute pan and add about one or two tablespoons of water depending how much I’ve got in the pan. (I may add a little more later if needed.) The extra water helps thin the sauce a bit to take in the heat while warming. Don’t worry, it thickens back up quickly enough. You could also microwave these at around 75-85% power, stirring often until warmed through. 

More Healthy Side Recipes:

We’d LOVE to hear about it when you make this recipe (and I do mean when because you are going to want to make this recipe!)! What did you serve them with? Did you make them spicy or smoky, or did you leave them as-is?

Rate the recipe and leave a comment below or tag us in your all your healthy baked beans photos on Instagram. In case you’re not already hanging out with us over there, we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”. 

Yield: 6-8 servings

Healthy Vegan Baked Beans

These easy vegan baked beans are the perfect summer BBQ side dish! This delicious, healthy take on classic baked beans is filled with flavor but uses simple ingredients (and no ketchup!) on the stove. Stovetop beans are so easy to make, you’ll be eating them all summer long alongside ALL your cookout favorites! The process is super basic, not to mention oil-free AND done in about half an hour!

5 minPrep Time:

35 minCook Time:

40 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. First, drain and rinse beans and place in a medium sized pot .
  2. Next, a medium mixing bowl, add the tomato paste, sugar, and spices. Pour the hot water in slowly and whisk everything together until completely smooth.
  3. Then, pour the tomato mixture over the beans in the pot. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and boil for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Finally, remove the lid and simmer on low, stirring often, for approximately 25-30 minutes until the beans are soft and the sauce is thick. Don’t forget to stir them often while they cook, scraping the bottom of the pot when you do.
  5. Serve these vegan baked beans hot next to your summer grilling favorites! Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy!
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2 thoughts on “Healthy Vegan Baked Beans

  1. Hi. You mention CANNED beans. Can this be done with dry bagged navy beans? Is there any difference? Thx

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