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