Baked beans are true comfort food, after all, who hasn't had them on toast, or as part of a cozy breakfast? That's why I'm so excited to share with you this Sugar-Free recipe for The Best Vegan Baked Beans!
Most baked beans recipes, whether vegan or not, contain sugar in one form or another, whether by adding molasses, brown sugar or even coconut sugar. But this recipe doesn't have any at all, and yet still retains that delicious, sweet, smokey and savoury flavour!
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So what's the secret to making these vegan baked beans with no sugar?
It's apples! Yep. You simply add in one or two (depending on the size) cored and peeled apples and viola! Delicious sweetness, with the added benefit of fibre and vitamins from the apples. Yay! Best of all, the apple sort of disintegrates into the sauce and add an extra unctuousness to it. Gorgeous layers of sweetness, with no sugar in sight. Hurrah!
Now don't be alarmed at the quantities in this recipe! It makes LOADS, but let's face it. A) everyone loves baked beans and B) they freeze really well.
It takes time to make really yummy beans that are full of rich smokey flavour, so it's worth making lots to freeze. That way you'll have baked beans for whenever you have that snacky, I-need-beans-on-toast feeling or come home after a big walk in the cold outdoors and need something hearty to eat PRONTO! I like to freeze mine in two person portions, because my house has two people in it.. but freeze as you need!
Another bossy note- don't be scared by the cook times! It's mostly soaking and simmering with no work on your part. Here's a timeline for you, so you can plan ahead.
STEP 1) The day before you want to make the beans: Just before you go to bed, dump the uncooked beans in a pot and fill with water.
STEP 2) In the morning, drain the water, refill with fresh water and simmer the beans slowly for 2 hours. Don't let the pot run dry.
STEP 3) When the beans are soft (it can depend on how fresh/old the beans are): Follow the recipe to make the baked beans. They take a while to cook, so put them on a slow heat and just leave them, again making sure they don't run dry!
Of course, if you have a crockpot, this baked beans recipe would be the perfect thing to make it in as you can just set and forget. I don't have one (yet) so have given you the easy, no special equipment needed, recipe.
You could of course also use tinned beans to make this recipe, however if you do, be careful not to overcook them and turn them to mush! And of course you can switch up the type of beans you use. I used kidney beans when making this batch, however cannellini, haricots or even borlotti would be suitable beans to use!
Another important note: Make sure you taste the beans when they're done and add seasoning or extra spices if you like. You might like a little chilli sauce in them, or a dash of vegan worcestershire sauce, or even a hint more smokeyness by adding some liquid smoke. They're your beans, so adding a few extra flavours will make them THE BEST (for you!)
I highly recommend grating some vegan cheese over the top! We love Applewood vegan cheese for grating and melting (you can find it here: *NB Affiliate Link)
(Also your cat might want to try some too. Here's Sheriff, who loves to sneakily lick everything we make. He especially loves vegan cheese. Little weirdo.)
If you like the sound of The Best Vegan Baked Beans - Sugar Free Recipe, please do check out some of our other recipes you might like to eat alongside them. (I'm looking at you, breakfast recipes!)
This delicious baked beans recipe is perfect to make ahead for lunch, easy dinners or a Full English! Serve over toast or alongside a tofu scramble for a complete meal. Even better is it is sugar free, instead using apples to create the sweet, smokey, spicy flavour we all love in our baked beans!
- 750 g dried beans (kidney, haricot or cannelinni) (4 cups) Can also use 4 x tins beans, drained.
- 800 g crushed/chopped tinned tomatoes (4 cups)
- 2 onions small. Or one large!
- 2 apples small, or one very large. Can use any variety.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic of course you can add more if you like it garlicky!
- 500 ml water
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp thyme
- salt Or can use marmite or vegemite
- splash vegan worcestershire sauce
- splash pomegranite molasses
- 3 drops liquid smoke
- a little hot sauce or chilli sauce
Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight
drain and add water to cover generously in a big pot, and simmer until soft. Will take between 1-2 hours depending on the beans. Don't let it dry out!
Finely chop the garlic and onion.
Peel and core the apples and chop roughly
In a big pot, add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook on a low heat until soft
Add the apple
Drain and rinse your beans and add them to the pot.
Add the chopped tomatoes and the water.
Add all the herbs and seasonings.
Give it all a big stir and leave on a low heat to simmer.
Check the beans occassionally. Add extra water if needed.
Cook for at least 45 mins and up to an hour & a half. The longer you cook, the more yummy they are!
Squish the now very soft apples into the sauce.
Taste and add salt, or any of the other optional seasonings to your own taste!
Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner! These freeze well, so pack up any excess in 1 or 2 person portions, ready for a quick, nutritious dinner!