- 1¾ cups water
- 1/3 cup tomato paste (half of a 6-oz. can)
- 2 pitted Medjool dates, chopped (1½ ounces)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (3 medium cloves)
- 2 cans (15-oz per can) navy or Great Northern beans, rinsed
- To start the sauce, place the following ingredients into a blender: water, tomato paste, dates, balsamic vinegar, mustard, chili powder, and smoked paprika. Set the blender of ingredients aside and we’ll return to it in step 4.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F, and set aside an 8x8-inch baking pan (or other shape of pan that holds 2 quarts; no pan preparation is needed).
- Place 1 tablespoon of water in a soup pot on medium-high heat. Once the water starts to sputter, add the onion, and cook while stirring for about 5 to 8 minutes, until softened, adding a little water as needed. Stir in the garlic during the last minute.
- Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour this into the pot of onions and garlic, along with the drained beans, and stir well.
- Spoon into your pan, and bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Serve hot. This will keep for 4 to 5 days refrigerated (the sauce will have thickened, so stir in a little water upon reheating; freezes well).
· Serve with: I love these over baked white or sweet potatoes, or over rice. These beans make a great side dish with a big salad, too.
· Spice it up: If you want spicier beans, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of dried pepper flakes and/or use a medium to hot chili pepper blend.
· Bean types: White beans (navy, Great northern) are most often used in baked bean recipes, but I’ve seen many other types as well, so feel free to use what you have on hand; I can’t imagine this flavorful sauce not making any beans taste amazing!
· Fun additions: While I have not tried these variations, I have seen them used in other recipes of this type: add chopped red bell pepper (would be added with the onions in step 3), or add a can of diced tomatoes (I would add these at the end of step 3).
· Pre-cooked beans: I use salt-free, pre-cooked canned beans in this recipe because it’s convenient, but you can also cook your own beans from scratch/dry; just use about 3 cups of the cooked and drained beans.