• February 25, 2014

    Smoky Maple Baked Beans


    I’ve been cooking beans from scratch frequently lately. They’re such a healthy, hearty and inexpensive protein. Plus, baby loves them. When it comes to dried beans, quality – especially freshness – matters. Old beans will never get soft. I usually by mine from a health food store, where I know there is particularly high turnover.

    I was super psyched when I discovered a pound and a half of gorgeous heritage cannellini beans in my last Besh Box.

    I never thought I’d be a subscription box person, but this particular box, curated personally by chef John Besh, is really, seriously fun. It’s like getting a monthly christmas stocking stuffed by a chef Santa. So much excitement the day it arrives! It would make a fantastic gift that keeps giving for someone special.

    I couldn’t wait to simmer the beans in a sweet-smoky-tangy sauce, and went straight to work baking Oatmeal Brown Bread to go alongside. Soft, thick, bacon-y baked beans and warm, buttered bread – ultimate comfort food, don’t you think?

    Keep in mind that the beans require a good, long soak before cooking – I usually soak them overnight before I plan to cook them. Also, a secret to successful bean cookery – boil to desired tenderness without any salt or acidic ingredients, or they will take forever to become soft.

    The lemon juice might seem redundant with all the vinegar in the sauce, but I really recommend not omitting it – the splash of citrus brightness really boosts the end flavour.

    Thank you, Chef Besh for the lovely surprises (like fresh pecans, plump vanilla beans, fragrant oregano, jalapeño seeds (!), gorgeous kitchen towels, bench scrapers…) every month!

    Not a sponsored post, but in the interest of full disclosure, they offered me a sample box to see what I thought, and I asked them to pleasepleaseplease keep coming.


    • 1 1/2 lbs cannellini beans
    • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 4 tbsp tomato paste
    • 2 cups pureed canned tomatoes (aka passata)
    • 3/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 3 tsp kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp table salt), approx.
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice


    1. In a large stockpot, cover beans with two inches of water and let soak at least 8 hours. Drain soaking water, discard, and cover again with 2 inches of fresh water. Bring beans to a boil over high heat; reduce to a rapid simmer and cook, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are as soft as you like them (they won’t soften much more in the sauce).

    2. About halfway through the beans’ cooking time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown bacon in a large dutch oven medium heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

    3. Add onions to the bacon fat and cook until tender and starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it becomes a shade darker, about 2 minutes. Stir in pureed tomatoes, maple syrup, vinegar, paprika and cooked beans; stir well and season to taste with salt. Transfer to preheated oven and bake, uncovered, about 1 hour, until sauce is thick and bubbly. Stir in lemon juice.


    Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm in the Foodess kitchen making a spectacular mess + something delicious, in roughly equal parts. Join me for seasonal baking punctuated by globally-inspired comfort recipes and (healthy-ish) dinspiration, plus with lots of tips and resources. So happy that you're here!

    Review this recipe


    Notify of


    Thanks for signing up! Check your inbox to confirm.
    Rainbow Crostini July 12, 2018
    Rainbow Crostini

    FacebookPinterestTwitteremailPrint These rainbow crostini are a healthy, light appetizer with all the crunchy veggies and beautiful colours of the farmer’s market. A simple formula is all you need to freestyle the recipe. In the summer especially, planned get-togethers and spontaneous play-dates can end up bridging a mealtime several times in a week. I like to […]

    Blender Dutch Baby June 29, 2018
    Blender Dutch Baby

    A super-easy Dutch Baby made in the blender. It takes no more effort to make than a smoothie, and puffs up to a delicious, custardy crepe in the oven.

    How to Substitute Eggs in Recipes | Foodess April 24, 2018
    The 4 Best Substitutions for Eggs in Any Recipe (Even Meringues, Breakfast Scramble & Whisky Sours)

    Whether you need to substitute eggs used in a recipe for leavening, moisture, binding or airy meringue, look no further. Here are four vegan options to use instead of eggs in any recipe (even whisky sours).