As a kid, I always hated the little tins of baked beans that sat in our pantry at all times, and for the longest time I just assumed I hated beans. It didn’t really take up much mental real estate, as we didn’t really eat beans, and there was never a situation where tinned baked beans were the only acceptable option. They were never forced down my throat, as Mum doesn’t like any beans, so I didn’t, either.
Or at least, that’s what I thought for the first 30 or so years of my life. As it turns out, I LOVE beans of all shapes and sized, I just don’t like the weirdly sweet sauce that smothers tinned baked beans (or tinned spaghetti, for that matter). I eat beans weekly, in some form or another, and haven’t found one I don’t like yet.
I’ve still been a little gun shy to make my own baked beans. 6 hours? Overnight soaking, just so I can forget they’re there? Nah. I survived 30 years without them, I can go a little longer, right? But then, I found a recipe in a Women’s Weekly vegetarian cookbook that used tinned beans and took maybe 5 minutes of hands-on time, and 30 minutes total. That, I would try. And, boy, was I rewarded handsomely for my investment. For 30 minutes of work and maybe 5 bucks in ingredients, this recipe yielded a thick, spicy, stew-like dish held together with just enough cheese to feel special, that fills you up for 410 calories per serveand makes you rethink everything you ever thought about baked beans.
In case you can’t tell, I’m a total convert.
500g kent pumpkin, cut into wedges
1 onion, diced
3 x 400g cans 4 bean mix, drained and rinsed
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2tbs barbecue sauce
1tsp dijon mustard
2tbs tomato paste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
130g grated cheddar
- Preheat oven to 220°C. Spray a roasting tray lightly.
- Cut pumpkin into large-ish chunks, place on tray and spray lightly again. Roast for 15 minutes, until softened and starting to colour.
- Meanwhile, in an ovenproof skillet, cook onion over medium heat for five minutes, until softened. Add beans and chickpeas.
- Stir in barbecue sauce, honey, mustard, and tomato paste. Stir to combine and coat the beans and onion.
- Add the passata and cayenne, and season well. Boil for five minutes, until thickened slightly.
- Add pumpkin to the sauce, and gently stir to cover with sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the top, and bake for 15 minutes until thick and golden.