Meatless Monday – Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans


Allow me to introduce a summer dinner that will not heat up your your kitchen and you don’t even have to light the grill: Boston Baked Beans (minus the salt pork).

Lots of folks buy canned baked beans but I am here to politely argue that you should make your own because it is super easy, very tasty and extremely budget-friendly.  One pound of small white beans usually costs less than $1.50, everything else for this recipe was already in my pantry.

A slow cooker is actually the perfect appliance for making beans because it mimics a bean pot.  The soaked beans and seasonings are sealed into the slow cooker insert and cooked to tender perfection.  The key seasonings are molasses and dried mustard.  These bold accents bring the humble white bean to a new level of wow.

All you need is some watermelon or berries for dessert and you are done.


Slow Cooked Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans
Makes about 6 cups.

Smoked Paprika and a hint of Worcestershire sauce more than make up for the flavor usually imparted by traditional salt pork.

1 lb. small white beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight and drained
(or quick soaked see method below)
1 onion, finely chpped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. smoked paprika
pinch ground cloves
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup real maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water

Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker insert and mix well.  Cover and cook on Low for 10 hours or on High for 5 hours.  Stir well.  Add a bit of water, if desired to thin sauce slightly.

Served with corn bread (store-bought or homemade) or some whole grain bagels.   These beans freeze and reheat well.

Quick Soak Method for Beans:

1. Rinse beans and pick through for stones.

2. Add beans to a large pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by at least 4 inches.
Over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover. Let beans sit for 1 hour. Drain and add to recipe just as you would beans that were soaked overnight.

PS – Kids tend to like baked beans even if they do not like regular beans.  A little ketchup and maple syrup goes a long way in getting the kiddo stamp of approval.

3 Responses to Meatless Monday – Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans

  1. B May 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Sounds more flavorful than the other recipes I've read. No bacon though ? 🙂

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