Quick Baked Beans

5-6 servings

3 cups soaked & cooked navy beans (or two 15oz. cans, drained and rinsed)
4-5 slices nitrate-free pastured bacon, rough-chopped
2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups organic crushed tomatoes (I like Eden Organic brand in glass)
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tbsp organic unsulfured molasses
2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or use a bit of maple flavoring and some stevia to taste)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For optimal health benefits, I recommend soaking and cooking dry beans rather than using canned. (See **note below for simple instructions.)

Chop raw bacon into bite-sized pieces. Cook in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bacon pieces release most of their fat.

Then, add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are soft and translucent (about 5-6 minutes).

Stir in crushed tomatoes, water, molasses, maple syrup, mustard, vinegar and chili powder, until well combined.

Next add beans, salt and pepper; stir well to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until about half of the liquid is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes).

P.S. This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the frig in a covered dish for up to three days. When ready to serve, simply reheat in large saucepan on stovetop over medium heat until hot. In fact, we think it tastes great when the flavors are able to meld in the frig overnight before serving.

Notes on soaking and cooking beans:

**Soaking and cooking dry beans is an easy way to make them easier on your digestive system. (Plus it saves money too!) I like to soak and cook large batches in my crockpot because it’s so easy and convenient. Then, I place the soaked & cooked beans into individual containers and store in my freezer for quick, easy use in recipes.

Step One: Before soaking and cooking, hand sort the dry beans to remove any foreign matter.

Step Two: Wash and thoroughly rinse the beans. Then, place them in your crockpot and add enough hot-to-the-touch (not boiling) water to completely cover the beans by at least three inches. (For most, soaking in hot water alone is enough to reduce the gas potential. However, some people suggest adding a little baking soda to the soak to help further reduce the gas issue. Yet, it’s important to note this does have a down-side, as some report that the addition of baking soda results in a reduction of B vitamins.) Cover the crockpot and soak beans for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain beans in colander and be sure to thoroughly rinse.

Step Three: Place drained and rinsed beans back into your crockpot and add enough filtered water to completely cover the beans with about three inches of water. Do not add salt during the cooking process, as this will inhibit the beans from softening properly. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. The beans are done when they are bite-tender.

Step Four: Drain the cooked beans and allow them to cool to room temp. Once cool, place 1 1/2 cups* of cooked beans into individual storage containers (or freezer bags). Store in refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to six months.

*The reason for this measurement is because the average can of beans yields about 1 1/2 cups of drained, rinsed beans. So divvying them up into this portion size makes it a bit easier to substitute homemade soaked & cooked beans in your favorite recipes that call for canned beans.

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