Smoky BBQ Vegetarian Baked Beans are slow cooked, saucy and spicy! Make this Vegetarian Baked Beans recipe with dried or already cooked beans, whatever fits your schedule. Make with homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce for best flavor and share with BBQ Chickpea Burgers! This vegetarian and vegan baked beans recipe is a summer essential. [ How to Recipe VIDEO on Recipe Card ]
This blog post was originally published June 2017. It was updated May 2022 with additional recipe notes and a video. The recipe is unchanged.
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A Summer Essential: Vegetarian Baked Beans
An essential side dish with all things summer, homemade vegetarian baked beans are a perfect accompaniment to picnics, cookouts, BBQs, and camping!
Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:
- These Beans are Vegetarian and Vegan
- Easy to Make with Dried Beans or Pre Cooked, Canned Beans
- Freezer Friendly
- Saucy, Spicy and Sweet
Being able to still enjoy smoky BBQ beans living a meat free life is a total win!
Thing is, this homemade baked bean recipe doesn’t need pork when mouthwatering flavors come from ingredients like Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce (hello brown sugar), smoky paprika and fire roasted tomatoes. These ingredients take this recipe over the top! And you’ll never ever miss the bacon. Seriously!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Beans – either precooked (canned) or dried beans. You can use just about any variety of bean, from navy beans, pintos to a mix of Rancho Gordo beans or black eyed peas (dried black eyed peas do not need to be soaked).
- Carrots – sliced in coins for texture, bulk and flavor
- Purple/Red Onions – adds texture and flavor
- Garlic – fresh for best flavor
- Smoky Paprika – for more smoky flavor
- Red Chili Flakes – for a hint of spice
- Cumin – adds interest and richness
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes – from a can complements the smoky flavors of the BBQ sauce.
- Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce – the taste of homemade is really special, but your favorite prepared brand will work deliciously too!
Quick Guide: How to Make Vegetarian and Vegan Baked Beans
For this recipe, I’ve included how to make baked beans from scratch using dry beans and how to make baked beans from canned beans. Of course you can cook dry beans in a slow cooker or instant pot if that’s preferred, but for this recipe, I’m sharing how to cook dry beans on the stove top. In summary, here’s how to make it (see recipe card below for details):
How to make Baked Beans from Scratch
- First, soak the dried beans overnight in water.
- Second, drain, rinse and cook the beans.
- Third, while the beans are cooking, roast the aromatics: carrots, onions, smoked paprika and cumin.
- Fourth, once the beans are cooked and the aromatics are ready, mix them together, add the tomatoes and pour on the BBQ sauce!
- Last, bake the beans.
How to make Baked Beans from Canned Beans
- First, roast the aromatics: carrots, onions and spices.
- Second, while the aromatics are cooking, drain and rinse a can of vegan beans.
- Third, once the aromatics are ready, mix in the beans, fire roasted tomatoes and pour on the BBQ sauce!
- Last, bake the beans.
Although the beans have a long bake of 45 minutes, they’re easy to pull together. While the baked beans are baking away in the oven, there’s plenty of time to whip up some Tofu BBQ Kebabs, Black Bean Walnut Burgers or BBQ Chickpea Burgers to pair with these vegetarian and vegan baked beans.
What to Serve with Baked Beans
Vegetaran and Vegan Mains
- Artichoke Chickpea Vegan No-Crab Cakes
- Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
- Pulled Mushroom BBQ Sandwiches
- Grilled Tofu Vegetable Kebabs
- BBQ Chickpea Veggie Burgers
- Black Bean Walnut Burgers
- Zucchini and Corn Fritters
Other Sides to Share
- Broccoli Slaw
- Tomato Cucumber Salad
- Sweet Pea and Radish Salad
- Texas Potato Salad
- Carrot Raisin Salad with Creamy Honey Lemon Dressing
- Stuffed Baked Potatoes
- Spring Macaroni Pasta Salad
- Green Olive and Egg Potato Salad
Vegetarian and Vegan Baked Beans FAQs
Are Baked Beans Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly?
It depends on the recipe. Traditionally, pork is added to baked beans. Also, there may be animal based ingredients in the sauce used for baked beans, so this is a consideration as well.
However, this homemade BBQ baked beans recipe is vegetarian and vegan friendly, if you use a veg friendly BBQ sauce like this homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce recipe I use for all things BBQ. It’s simple to pull together.
Can you Freeze Baked Beans?
Yes you can freeze baked beans! Store beans in a freezer container for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before gently reheating on the stovetop.
What Kind of Beans are Baked Beans?
Prepared baked beans are generally made from small beans, probably like Navy beans. So if you’re looking for a small BBQ baked bean variety, give Navy beans, provider or Black Eyed Peas a go.
If bean size isn’t a concern, use whatever you have on hand! I’ve used dried mixed beans, pinto beans, Rancho Gordo and Rockwall and cranberry beans. This recipe also works with canned pinto beans, kidney beans, and black eyed peas.
There are no rules for this recipe however because it’s the aromatics and sauce that provide the flavor. The beans provide texture and are simply a vehicle for the delicious, mouthwatering sauce!
A Few Expert Tips
- This BBQ beans recipe calls for dry beans or already cooked canned beans. Cooked from dry takes a bit of extra time, but their creamyness is worth the wait. Canned beans are just so convenient.
- Make Ahead: You can make these beans up to three days in advance of when you need them. Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and share.
- Pick Your Baking Vessel: This vegetarian baked beans recipe bakes up beautifully in a small 3 quart (2.8 Liter) Dutch Oven or Baker.
- Freezer Friendly? Yes please! Freeze for up to two weeks!
Smoky BBQ Vegetarian Baked Beans Recipe
- 1 cup (200 grams) Dry Beans such as Provider, Pinto, Navy or Mixed Beans OR 2, 15-ounces (425 grams each) Cans of Beans, rinsed and drained.* see note
- 2 cups (260 grams) Purple Onion about one large, cut in half and sliced into thin 1/2 moons,
- 2 cups (215 grams) Carrots sliced into thin coins, about 4 medium
- 2 Cloves Garlic large, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes (if you like more heat, go with 1/4 tsp)
- 1 teaspoon Cumin ground
- 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil unrefined, or olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups (350 grams) Fire-Roasted Tomatoes crushed, one can
- 1 cups (275 grams) Smoky Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce
For the Beans:
- If using canned beans, drain them and move on to step #2. Otherwise, soak dry beans overnight, or at least 8 hours, making sure water covers the beans by 3 inches. Drain and rinse the beans.In a medium saucepan, add beans and enough fresh water to cover beans by 3 inches. Add a heavy pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30-60 minutes. Start checking the beans at around 30 minutes. The beans are done when they are tender and creamy on the inside. (How long it takes for the beans to cook depends on the age and type of the beans used). Drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit (177 Celsius).
- In a medium baker, roasting pan or 3 quart (2.8 Liter) Dutch oven, add the onion, carrots, garlic, chili flakes, cumin, paprika, salt and coconut or olive oil. Stir. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are tender, stirring after 5 minutes to evenly distribute the oil.
- To the onion mixture, add the cooked beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and BBQ sauce. Gently stir.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350 Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the sauce has thickened. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before sharing.
- Store leftovers in a covered container for up to three days or freeze for up to two weeks. When reheating, add additional BBQ sauce or water to thin the beans as they tend to thicken.