The Family Bean Pot

Vegetarian Baked Beans Happened to have the family over for  a pre-Christmas gathering recently. Turned out it was Grey Cup Sunday, which is a big football-y deal here in Canada. At least I think it’s a big deal in Canada. For all I know, it might just be a big deal in Western Canada. Is there something called the Western Canada Conference? To be honest I do not know much about football. Shocking, I know.

Nevertheless: The day of the family feed fell on Grey Cup Sunday. This also inconveniently coincided with my recovery from one massive migraine headache. Have you ever had a migraine? It makes your head feel like a football, stomped on at the bottom of the scrum. Or is that the huddle? Either way, it’s nasty.

I needed a simple, easy, football-friendly menu and I needed one that wouldn’t require excessive rattling of pots and pans. Also one that could be managed while pleasantly stoned on the aftermath of prescription medication.

I settled on ribs, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and baked beans.

Enter hubby with a potato masher. (Not pictured).

BBQ ribs recipeThe ribs were easily done up the day before – cut them into manageable racks, place in a roasting pan, pour 2-3 bottles of beer over them (depends on amount o’ ribs), add peppercorns, some bay leaves, some cloves of garlic. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half. The ribs will be nicely cooked and can be refrigerated.

To prep for serving day, cover in your favourite *BBQ sauce and bake uncovered at 350 for a half-hour or until ribs are heated through and sauce is glazed.  So easy-peasy that even a spaced-out migraine-sufferer can handle it.

The star on the field though, was the baked beans. I made these as a vegetarian main, for my very sweet sister-in-law. Of course, others got to eat them too, because – basically – everybody loves them! This recipe is from Squawkfox – a site for all things frugal and fun.


  • 1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dried mustard
  • Optional: 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Optional: sautéed chopped onion
  • Optional: (Dishing In the Kitchen variation) Half a package of smoked tofu, cut into small cubes.

Note: I did use the garlic, onions and tofu. I sautéed the tofu in a little butter and olive oil, then sautéed the garlic in with the onions. I also added about 2T of honey to the ingredients. Not sure I really needed the honey. The beans were sweet and rich with a nice slight smokiness.


Soak navy beans overnight or longer — up to 12 hours — for even softer baked beans. Drain beans and rinse off. Put beans into slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients and stir them together.

Cover slow cooker and cook 6-7 hours on high, or 10-12 hours on low. These cooking times are approximate, so cook until the beans are soft and the sauce is rich. Add water or more veggie broth to the slow cooker, if needed.

I love this warning from Squawkfox:

“Eyeball Warning: If you like your eyeballs, then do yourself a solid and refrain from opening the lid during the early hours of cooking. Dried mustard is volatile stuff, and the fumes will burn your pupils if you dare peep into the pot.”

This makes a generous supply of beans. It fed ten of us, with leftovers. By the way, my other sweet sister-in-law brought the dessert. Lemon Cake. Mmm.


*I have not included my barbecue sauce recipe here. It is very unhealthy. So unhealthy in fact, that I actually I didn’t eat it. For me, I  covered some of the cooked ribs in sauerkraut and baked them in a small Pyrex dish alongside the big pan of ribs in the oven. The sauce has lots of sugar – which I really try to avoid. I did however serve it to my family. No wonder they are so sweet.

**I might be persuaded to share the recipe with you. Convince me.

***Come to think of it, the beans were pretty sugary, too. Anybody have a baked beans recipe that doesn’t include molasses?



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About Vicki

I’m a coach and consultant and in my spare time I like to cook and play house. I believe happy idleness is a purposeful pathway to a contented life. And I am happiest either in my pajamas or an apron – or both.

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