Smoky BBQ Baked Beans are slow cooked, saucy and spicy! Make this vegetarian baked beans recipe from dried or already cooked beans, whatever fits your schedule. This homemade baked beans recipe is a summer essential! vegetarian + vegan + gluten free
A Summer Essential:
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, plus these smoky beans are gluten free.
The sauce for these vegan baked beans is a homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce recipe I use for all things BBQ. It’s flavor packed, and super simple to pull together.
Being able to still enjoy smoky BBQ beans living a meat free life is a total win! Hooray!
How to Make 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. Use which ever method suits your schedule.
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, bake the aromatics: carrots, onions and spices.
- Second, while the aromatics are cooking, drain and rinse the beans.
- Third, once the aromatics are done, 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 vegetarian BBQ or homemade veggie 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?
Absolutely! Store beans in a freezer container for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before gently reheating on the stovetop.
Are Baked Beans Gluten Free?
Not necessarily. My Smoky BBQ Beans recipe is gluten free, however canned or other recipes may not be.
What to Serve with Baked Beans?
Vegetaran and Vegan Mains:
Other Sides to Share:
Oh yeah, and cornbread! That can get a Texas-size dunk in BBQ sauce.
A Few Recipe Notes:
- This recipe calls for dry or already cooked canned beans. I like dry beans because I can use beans from our local farms. They do take a bit of extra time to cook, but their creamyness is worth the wait. Canned beans are just so convenient.
- If not using homemade BBQ sauce in this recipe, use your favorite variety. If following a vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free lifestyle, be sure to check the ingredients.
- These beans can be made up to two days in advance of when needed. 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:
- Homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Pulled Mushroom BBQ Sandwiches
- Potato Salad with Eggs and Green Olives
- BBQ Tofu Vegetable Kebabs
- Texas Potato Salad
Smoky BBQ Baked Beans
- 1 C (200g) Dry Beans such as Provider, Pinto, Navy or Black-Eyed Peas, or Mixed Beans OR 2, 15-oz (425g each) Cans of Beans, rinsed and drained (choose your favorite bean!)
- 1 oz (350g) Purple Onion large, cut in half and sliced into thin 1/2 moons,
- 2 C (215g) Carrots sliced, 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. 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 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. (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 large roasting pan, add the onion, carrots, garlic, chili flakes, cumin, paprika, salt and coconut or olive oil. Stir. Roast for 20 minutes, 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. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before sharing.
- Store leftovers in a covered container for up to two 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.