Vegan Sweet Maple Baked Beans

The first week of marriage has come and gone and I have to say – it’s pretty awesome. Nothing feels that different – we already lived together – but we are experiencing a time where the journey of our lives is really coming to fruition.  There are some exciting things happening in our future and being married only makes us more excited for these changes.  While we have definitely been experiencing newlywed bliss, this week has also brought us back to reality.  There was laundry to be done (I swear it doesn't end), many generous gifts to be unwrapped and put away in our small apartment, bills to be paid, and schedules to coordinate. It’s been a busy week, to say the least. _9333_174

Between putting gifts away, organizing the wedding gear that we brought home, and actually taking a day or two to fully relax, we haven’t done much cooking or entertaining.  After the hectic week back to reality, we had a fun and relaxing weekend that involved celebrating our one week of marriage and also celebrating my mom and stepdad’s 7th anniversary.  On Sunday, we took my family out to an amazing brunch at a restaurant that is quickly becoming our favorite, The Roosevelt.  This restaurant deserves a full-scale write up but let’s just say that any place that roasts apples in bacon fat and allows you to order a side of foie gras with brunch is a little like heaven.  After our ultra indulgent brunch, we parted ways to do some errands and then we had my family over for a cozy late-night fall dinner to break in our new grill (Thank you Ann! You can’t imagine how excited Brad is about it!).

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We decided on a very simple and easy menu of grilled hot dogs (with g-free buns that Brad found!), grilled asparagus, fresh g-free apple crisp, and homemade baked beans.  I volunteered to make the baked beans even though I have never made baked beans in my life.  My only goals for these baked beans were that they be: a.) edible – you know, just a mildly important thing; b.) sweet – I like baked beans that are maple kissed; and c.) meat free – after brunch, the thought of bacon actually hurt my arteries a bit.  Oh yeah, did I mention they needed to be ready in 3 hours?   After researching a few recipes, I got to work and made some of the most satisfying baked beans I have ever had.

It was a dead simple and easy process to turn those little boring white beans into something truly delicious. Then again, maple syrup makes everything (even brussel sprouts) delicious. Even Brad, with his undying love for all things pork and bacon, said they were best baked beans he has ever eaten.  I don’t think he’s lying seeing as how the leftovers are nearly gone today.

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These baked beans are vegan, sweet, and have a lovely hearty texture that makes them perfect for crisp evenings or football filled Sundays.  They make a great side dish for fall grilling and would be wonderful with this gluten-free cornbread.   Their a bit healthier than traditional baked beans however, if you like bacon, adding in some smoked bacon would be delicious. I recommend making the full batch because they will go quickly and before you know it, your husband will be asking you to make more.

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Vegan Sweet Maple Baked Beans

Yields: 6 servings (ish)

Adapted from: Oh She Glows

 3 cans white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups water

1 medium onion, small dice

2 Tbsp canola oil

4 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. garlic powder

salt + pepper to taste

1. Heat canola oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Once hot, add onions and saute until translucent.

2. Add garlic remaining ingredients (minus salt and pepper) and stir to combine.

3. Cover pot. Cook over low heat for 3 hours or until your desired consistency is reached. Stir frequently to keep from burning. You want the heat to be low enough for a very slow simmer.

4. Add salt and pepper and serve!