Recipe: Homemade Baked Beans On Toast – Part One

The ultimate in affordable (vegetarian) comfort food.

Play is the highest form of research.

~ Albert Einstein

Do you ever just need a little comfort food?

I think it is safe to say we all need a little comfort in the form of our favorite foods here and there. Growing up, one of my most favorite snack foods was just this – comforting – not to mention dirt cheap and easy to make.

After all, what is easier than opening up a can of beans and heating them up? Toss a few pieces of bread in the toaster and slather on the butter….just thinking of it brings me right back to 4th grade heaven.

My 30 something year old self now knows that while the old canned standbys are still good in a pinch, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of home cooked beans and a fresh piece of bread hot out of the oven. Especially when they are this cheap, and this easy.

All you need is (just a little) love. And (just a little) time.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Having just celebrated another birthday, I find myself of late quite keenly aware of the fleeting nature of our lives.

As I think back to my days as young child I can tell you my defining moments just as easily as I can tell you what my favorite things to eat were. Most often, and particularly at the beginning of each new school year, I think back to me and my siblings, convening after a long day at school to watch TV and eat food we could make on our own.

Hot beans in a bowl. With toast. Childhood comfort food. Three’s Company. Let’s do it!

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

The Less:

Less canned food in your pantry means more room for cheaper dry goods to nourish you. Less waste and added preservatives means cleaner eating and a lighter conscience. Less sugar heavy baked beans means more naturally sweetened heartiness, and a whole lot more nourishment too.

The More:

More high fiber protein foods means easier work of digestion. More hearty, filling comfort means more warmth and goodness in your day. More cheap easy recipes means more ways to spread your money farther, because good health doesn’t have to come at a high cost.

Homemade Baked Beans:

  • (2) cups dry white Navy beans, soaked in cold water
  • (1/3- 1/2 cup) good olive oil
  • (2) medium – large yellow onions, chopped
  • (2) tsp salt
  • (1) small can tomato paste (about 1/2 cup)
  • (3) tbsp honey, brown sugar, or other plant-based sweetener
  • (8) cups cold water for cooking
  • Lots of love of and plenty of time

Start by soaking your beans in plenty of cold of water for anywhere from 8 – 20 hours (8 is about the minimum to soak thoroughly and don’t worry if you ill time the soaking – they can sit there for a while). When ready to cook, drain the beans and rinse in the colander under more fresh cold water.

Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the chopped onion and salt. Cook the onion for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Stir here and there, after 10 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.

Next, add the tomato paste, beans, and 4 cups of cold cooking water. Stir well to dissolve the paste and bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once the boil is reached, stir again and reduce the heat to medium, to keep the simmer at a jolly roll (not boiling but cooking nicely).

Now, kick up your feet, and get settled in. Read a book , or finish that knitting project you started. Maybe write some notes to your family to tell them you love them. Or not. But do enjoy this nice time at home.

Cook the beans withe the lid ajar for 1.5 hours, stirring here and there and adding the remaining 4 cups of water in increments as the sauce reduces. After the first hour, add whatever water is left, and the honey or sweetener, and cook for 30 minutes until the mixture is deliciously saucy.

From here, you can let the beans hang out until you are ready to bake them (you can even sneak in a bowl to eat at this point).

To bake, transfer the beans to a casserole and bake, covered either with the casserole lid or with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve hot with fresh bread or toast.

These beans will keep extremely well, and should be good to eat up to a week after they are made. A little goes a long way here as these guys are hearty and filling, so pile them into a container for those moments during the week when you need a little comfort.

Paired up with the bread recipe lined up for the next post, you’ll wonder if there could possibly be anything simpler or more nostalgic (especially if you grew up in my family).

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

~ Julia Child

I was pleased to see that 25 years later, kids still love this food as a filler up after soccer practice or after a long tough day as a teenager (because let’s face it, that is exhausting work for those of you who may recall).

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Next I’ll share with you the bread recipe that has literally changed my life since I discovered it. Turns out, it’s never too late to be a baker, even if you’ve never even made bread before! Stay tuned, I am really excited about this one!

Here’s to a super fab October…wishing you all the very best as always!

  • Did you have a favorite childhood comfort food?
  • Got an updated version to share with us?

Let us know! Looking forward to hearing from you all as always, and for all my vegan-minded blog friends taking part in Vegan MoFo, wishing you all the best for a month of blogging inspiration, and those of you interested, check out the link here!

Yours in Less,


Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

87 responses to “Recipe: Homemade Baked Beans On Toast – Part One

  1. Hah! Do you know what?! I’ve been thinking about doing this today… lo and behold! you do it. SO connected… I’ll still do it though :D. Yum.

  2. Oh I love baked beans!! They get some nice and creamy and sweet. Alongside that gorgeous homemade bread. An unbeatable team.

    • Totally agreed Annie – this bread is ridiculous in how it never fails…I swear I’ve made it 10 times in two weeks (and the kids devour it too). Love it! X

  3. Lovely post.

    And THANK YOU for saying “it’s never too late to be a baker.” (Not only has my girlfriend gotten really into bread baking in the past year, but just this week she has decided to change her plans from nursing school to a certificate/degree in artisan bread and pastry making… it’s a huge nerve-wracking change to make, but she’s doing what makes her happy!)

  4. As my mother would call it SOS, but your version is so much more grown-up and sophisticated. Thanks for sharing – happy hump day!

  5. Love this! Only YOU could make baked beans look divine!!! πŸ™‚ Love that you posted this and love what you have under “the More”. awesome.

    • Glad you like it Alice – and thank YOU! I never know if folks will dig these simple things as much as I do…always so happy to hear when they do πŸ™‚ Thanks! X

  6. Oh yum. Homemade baked beans and fresh out of the oven bread. Definitely a favourite comfort food meal. Perfect time of year for it too. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  7. Why have I never tried homemade baked beans before? These sound so good. It’s been raining all day, and I’m craving a little comfort food to take the chill off. These will certainly do the trick. Thanks Shira!

  8. Ha I loved when I read “4th grade heaven” — you were a sophisticated little one then! I love the idea of this comfort food. Sort of reminds me of dipping your bread into chili, you just totally reinvented that pleasure.. yum.

    • Haha! Agreed! A new bread dipping pleasure! So glad you enjoyed that little play on words….if you only knew the levels to which I strived for sophistication back then πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading Kathryn! X

  9. Beans on toastβ€”not the usual American meal. Shira, do you have a British connection? The beans look delicious!

    • Great question Michelle, and now that you ask, I do (just a litlle!) – we ate this all the time growing up but the closest British connection would be my two grandmothers…I guess it filters in some way?! Happy you like them! X

      • We’re just back from a month in Normandy in a rental house with British satellite TV. So, I saw lots of beans and toast references! I’ve never had them on toast, but I do so love homemade baked beans.

      • Try them with toast! It’s the only way! Your holiday sounds superb Michelle! Thanks for sharing … I’d love to visit Normandy someday πŸ™‚

  10. Your new French friends will be unhappy with this decidedly British feature. πŸ˜‰ I love baked beans. Thanks for sharing!

  11. ooooh!!! just in time, i was looking for some recipes to tryout!! πŸ™‚ and i don’t think i could mess this one up! haha! hope you’re doing well!! sorry, i’ve been kinda MIA lately! OH, and guess what I got in the mail today???? my cousins from Vancouver sent me some JJ Bean coffee!!!!! πŸ˜€ i can’t wait to try it!!!! it totally made my day!

  12. I have to say, beans on toast was and still is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. It was so great to see it here today. Your recipe for them looks yummy!

  13. Change My Body...Change My Life

    That sounds fabulous. I think I will give it a try this weekend.

  14. love the look of those beans. though i have never had beans and toast, i am wondering now why i havent:) have a great thanksgiving

  15. I may not like the canned kind but I could definitely go for this πŸ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. A Dog With Fleas

    Cannot wait to try this!! Looks great.

  17. I also love baked beans. Time to make a pot!

  18. Gorgeous. The best homemade baked beans I had were at a National Trust restaurant – in fact my vegetarian daughter ordered them. We have never forgotten how good they tasted. A reminder of simple pleasures (and to get and make a pot myself).

  19. I’ve never had beans on toast. It looks delicious. But I hate canned beans, I find them inedible. We never use them in Greece, I didn’t know they exist until I left my country.. I always use dry beans for my soups.. I have to try baking them, they look so soft and perfect!

    • I agree Villy – canned beans are no where near as good as cooking them fresh – and once you get the hang of it, it is so easy! Beans on toast, SO worth a try! I’d love to know what you think πŸ™‚

  20. This is so true – I think baked beans on toast probably is one of the best comfort foods that one can come across. And also one of the constant things that I look out for while holidaying amidst the Buffet spreads or a simple breakfast in a guest house. BTW, looking forward to the next post – baking has always been a challenge for me. I definitely want to believe that ‘ it’s never too late to be a baker’!

    • Fabulous Ishita! This bread recipe has got me baking bread like I’ve been doing it for years….I’m excited about this one! πŸ™‚ thanks!!

  21. Of course I love this! And I cannot wait for your bread recipe tomorrow!

  22. I LOVE baked beans!!!! Comfort in a bowl, you are amazing Shira! πŸ™‚

  23. For some reason I never think to make baked beans, but there look so good that I’m going to have to change my tune. Love! πŸ™‚

  24. You are speaking my language, friend: Bread, beans and back-in-the-day memories (you like my alliteration?) ha! Yeah, I was rather proud myself πŸ™‚

  25. Ooh, I want to try these!

  26. Every quote is a gem Shira.. Each post of yours that I read leaves me with food for thought and more..
    Can’t agree more about avoiding canned goods.. Have been trying to go unprocessed to the extent possible lately. Man! How difficult it seemed at first.. Ironic that good things seem so difficult to do!
    Also, never late to be a baker eh? Have been experimenting to get the perfect “fluffy” home baked whole wheat bread and can’t wait to hear about yours..

    • Wonderful to hear from you Radhika! I admire you for taking the unprocessed route..indeed at first it seems difficult but it always amazes me how over time things become habit!
      So happy you enjoy the quotes too!
      Stay tuned for the bread….I hope folks enjoy the recipe as much as I have!
      Have a wonderful weekend!

  27. Mmmm baked beans & homemade toast – you are my Hero! I love how different you prepare baked beans than what I typically prepare them ( you have a bit more tomato πŸ™‚ ) I will have to give your version a try!

    Maple is a must in my baked beans…and that secret bread recipe, if it is the one I am thinking of it is life changing, I am pretty sure I gained 5 pounds in a month from eating fresh bread everynight at dinner….whoops – but it is so good!

    Mac n cheese is my favorute comfort food & my moms shepards pie (veganize now!)

    Love this quote I have it on my fridge and read it everyday! “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.”

    • Oh Heather! Happy to be a hero even very briefly – so happy to hear you make this dish too!
      I have seen many recipes using maple syrup too…perhaps that will be next!
      I too love a good Shepherds pie and you have inspired me to make one as it has been so long! X
      Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  28. Oh, those beans look so good! I haven’t had real, home-cooked baked beans since I was a kid! I had never even thought to try and make them- but now I’m craving them! And that bread… Please, Shira, teach me how to be a baker!!!

    When I was a kid, mac and cheese was my comfort food. The Kraft Blue Box, Deluxe Version, to be more specific. As an adult, though, I don’t often crave pasta, but I wouldn’t turn down a bowl of vegan mac and cheese if someone offered! πŸ˜‰

    • Mac n cheese yes! You are the second to comment on this’s a sign….maybe I’ll have to get on that soon though I’d be challenged to make a good vegan one! Do you have a recipe? Stay tuned for the bread!! Have a great weekend Kristy!

  29. I ate baked beans on toast so often while living in Ireland, but I bet these taste a thousand times better than any I had there! This would be a big comfort food for me, I’ll have to try this πŸ™‚

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving Shira! I know you will spend it in a supremely wonderful way with wonderful people πŸ™‚

    • Yes! That’s awesome Gabby I didn’t know – are they big in Ireland? I am so not familiar with the food there! Yes, these are a more natural version of most…perfect for the health conscious bean lover πŸ™‚
      Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend as well! We are currently en route to Whistler! xox

  30. oh my gosh that looks fabulous! and that bread looks deliciously rustic and chewy! you’ve done it again, shira!!! πŸ˜€

  31. Beans on toast are one of my favourite comfort foods too and they look like they could rival the Heinz beans that I grew up with (different to the ones that you find in the US that I don’t like, not sure about Canada!). Can’t wait for the bread recipe!

    • Thanks Rachel! I agree with you…we grew up with the canned Heinz..easy to heat up and eat – and I am happy to report these are better! Enjoy! X

  32. I used to despise legumes as a kid–and how glad I am that times (and palettes) change! Tofu spicy ramen or congee is my favorite comfort food by far…nothing like a steaming hot bowl on a dreary day. Happy belated!

  33. myweeklywine

    I love baked beans on toast, and have only ever used canned baked beans. Can’t wait to try the ‘real’ thing! Thanks

  34. Pingback: The Menu « livelovebegreen

  35. Pingback: Mike’s Baked Beans | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

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