Beans and Cornbread

Homemade vegetarian baked beans can have the perfect balance of sweet and tang. Get bean recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Baked beans can be a vegetarian’s guilty pleasure. Cans on the store shelf often make up for the lack of bacon by upping the sweetness factor, taking the beans out of the “healthy food” realm and putting them in the same category as store-bought granola and sweet potato fries. It’s unfortunate, because when cooked properly, vegetarian baked beans can have the perfect balance of sweet and tang.

I’ve always found canned vegetarian baked beans to be cloyingly sweet. Then I got hooked on beans in tomato sauce when I lived in London. These navy beans stewed in tomato sauce and popped into a can aren’t exactly gourmet, but the first flavor on my tongue wasn’t corn syrup. The Brits are great fans of them as beans on toast. As filling as this meal was on a backpacker budget, a stand in Covent Garden went one better: for a few quid, I could get a giant, piping hot jacket potato smothered in these beans. Since then, I’ve upscaled the beans, but I still love to serve them in baked potatoes.
Learn to make Vegetarian Baked Beans and Baked Polenta

Digging into Dried Beans

People seem to have a love it or leave it relationship with beans. If you love them, you’ve probably had them cooked right. Read more about cooking beans.People seem to have a love it or leave it relationship with beans. If you love them, you likely have an underlying reason: they’re cheap yet filling, you’ve cut other proteins from your diet, or you grew up in a household, community, or culture that saw beans as a staple. Madhur Jaffrey starts her 750-page World Vegetarian cookbook with a section on dried beans. Louis Armstrong loved his beans so much he closed letters with “Red Beans & Ricely Yours.”

But the primary reason people love beans is that they’ve had them cooked right. Well-cooked legumes don’t just pack a nutritional punch; they have delicious flavors and textures and can be adapted to any meal, from breakfast to dessert. Unfortunately, people who rarely eat beans often only do so by cracking open a can and being immediately disappointed by the texture and taste—and the aftereffects. “The more legumes you eat the more you can eat them,” Jaffrey writes in her chapter on dried beans. And the more you know about how to cook beans, the more likely you are to eat them.
Read more about cooking beans