Smoky Vegetarian BBQ Baked Beans are slow cooked, saucy and spicy! Make this Vegetarian Baked Beans recipe with dried or already cooked beans, whatever fits your schedule. Use homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce for best flavor and share with BBQ Chickpea Burgers or Black Bean Walnut Burgers! This vegetarian and vegan baked beans recipe is a summer essential.
A Summer Essential: Vegetarian Baked Beans
An essential side dish to all things summer, BBQ baked beans are a perfect accompaniment to picnics, cookouts, BBQs, or camping!
Growing up in Texas, BBQ was king. It’s like Starbucks in Seattle; there’s a BBQ pit on every corner. And it’s still that way today. After I stopped eating meat, we’d go to a BBQ joint and I’d get a big baked potato and an ice-burg lettuce salad; no leafy greens in sight.
Disappointed, I’d give the baked beans a pass because they always were made with bacon. But instead, I indulged in copious amounts of BBQ sauce, if those ingredients allowed which occasionally would be the case, and slathered it all over the potato. I continued to hope for veggie BBQ baked beans.
Are Baked Beans Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly?
Traditionally, since pork is added to baked beans, they’re not vegan or vegetarian friendly. Also, there may be animal based ingredients in the sauce used for baked beans, so this is a consideration as well.
And another reason why homemade is always better! This homemade BBQ baked beans recipe is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
The sauce for these vegan baked beans is a homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce recipe I use for all things BBQ. It’s full of flavor and super simple to pull together.
Being able to still enjoy smoky BBQ beans living a meat free life is a total win! Hooray!
Quick Guide: How to Make Vegetarian BBQ 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. In summary, here’s how to make it (see recipe card below for details):
How to make Baked Beans from Scratch
- First, soak the dry beans overnight.
- Second, drain, rinse and cook the beans.
- Third, while the beans are cooking, bake the aromatics: carrots, onions and spices.
- Fourth, once the beans are cooked and the aromatics are ready, mix them together and pour on the BBQ sauce!
- Last, bake the baked 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 the beans.
- Third, once the aromatics are ready, mix in the beans and pour on the BBQ sauce!
- Last, bake the baked 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.
Thing is, homemade baked beans don’t need pork when mouthwatering flavors come from ingredients like the Smoky Bourbon BBQ sauce, smoky paprika and fire roasted tomatoes. These ingredients take this vegan and vegetarian baked beans recipe over the top! And you’ll never ever miss the bacon. Seriously!
What Kind of Beans are Baked Beans?
I pondered this for far too long before making homemade baked beans. The canned variety are 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 and Rockwall beans from our CSA, but have also used canned pinto beans, kidney beans, and black eyed peas. There are no rules here because it’s the aromatics and sauce that provide the flavor. The beans provide texture and are simply a vehicle for the mouthwatering sauce!
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
Yes! Store beans in a freezer container for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before gently reheating on the stovetop.
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
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
A Few Recipe 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.
- Freezer Friendly? Yes please! Freeze for up to two weeks!
More Vegetarian and Vegan BBQ Recipes to Love
- Grillable BBQ Chickpea Burgers
- Homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Pulled Mushroom BBQ Sandwiches
- BBQ Tofu Vegetable Kebabs
- Tangy Lentil Sloppy Joes
Smoky BBQ Vegetarian Baked Beans Recipe
- 1 C (200g) Dry Beans such as Provider, Pinto, Navy or Mixed Beans OR 2, 15-oz (425g each) Cans of Beans, rinsed and drained.* see note
- 2 C (260g) Purple Onion about one large, cut in half and sliced into thin 1/2 moons,
- 2 C (215g) Carrots sliced into thin coins, about 4 medium
- 2 Cloves Garlic large, minced
- 1/8 tsp Red Chili Flakes (if you like more heat, go with 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tsp Cumin ground
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 2 Tbs Coconut Oil unrefined cold-pressed, or olive oil
- 1 1/4 C (350g) Fire-Roasted Tomatoes crushed, one can
- 1 C (275g) Smoky Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce
For the Beans:
- If using canned beans, drain them and move on to #2. Otherwise, soak dry beans overnight, or at least 8 hours, making sure water covers the beans by 3". Drain and rinse the beans. In a medium saucepan, add beans and enough fresh water to cover beans by 3". 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 350F (177C).
- In a medium baker, roasting pan or 3 quart 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 coconut or olive oil.
- To the onion mixture, add the cooked beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and BBQ sauce. Gently stir.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350F 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.