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Easy vegetarian baked beans made in the slow cooker or on the stove are the perfect sweet and tangy side dish for dinner. 

A cup of vegetarian baked beans. This easy vegetarian baked beans recipe is vegan and gluten free and is a great dinner or BBQ side dish.

Hey hey! This is part 2 of my classic American comfort foods that are perfect for summer BBQs. In case you missed it, yesterday I shared a super easy Vegan Coleslaw recipe. Today it’s Vegetarian Baked Beans. Baked beans are a side dish I remember loving as a kid. They’re sweet, tangy, and hearty, and go so well with other kid-favorites like backyard grilled burgers.

What exactly are baked beans, you ask? It’s funny, because most baked beans aren’t actually baked at all, they’re stewed. Some recipes I’ve seen do in fact transfer the cooked beans and sauce to a casserole dish and bake. Often those recipes have layers of bacon baking on top. This vegetarian baked beans recipe is obviously free from bacon or ham that is often used in traditional baked beans.

What Type of Beans are Used for Baked Beans?

Either dried or canned white great northern beans can be used to make vegetarian baked beans.

Most commonly, the navy bean or Boston bean is used for baked beans. I use cannellini or great northern beans instead, as they are similar white beans and what I keep on hand. You can start from scratch and use dried beans (you’ll need one cup) or take a shortcut and use 2 (15-oz.) cans of beans. When using dried beans, you want to soak them overnight, then cook 1-2 hours until tender before proceeding.

Vegetarian Baked Beans Ingredients

Ingredients for vegetarian baked beans include ketchup, onion, molasses, coconut sugar, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

Ingredients for the sweet baked beans sauce include: yellow onion, molasses, Dijon mustard, coconut sugar, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Worcestershire sauce is typically not gluten-free or vegan. I recommend Robbie’s brand, which I got at Whole Foods, and is gluten-free, vegan, and low sodium.

How to Make Baked Beans on the Stovetop

Onions saute in a saucepan.

Saute the onion in a little splash of olive, coconut, or avocado oil until tender.

The ingredients for the baked beans sauce are added to the onions in the saucepan.

To make the sauce, add the ketchup, molasses, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper. I like these baked beans a little less sweet. If you’re like me, add even less coconut sugar or omit it completely.

White beans are added to the onions and sauce ingredients to make homemade vegetarian baked beans.

Stir in the cooked beans and let simmer over low heat for awhile so the beans absorb all that delicious flavor. Add a little of the bean water or regular water if the sauce gets too dry.

A saucepan filled with vegetarian baked beans sits on a tea towel with a wooden spoon. This easy vegetarian baked beans recipe is so delicious and is vegan and gluten free.

Watch the beans go from white to a rich brown.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

For hot summer days or pot lucks, the slow cooker is an excellent option. To make vegetarian baked beans in the slow cooker or crockpot, saute the onion and add it to the slow cooker along with the cooked beans and the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 6 hours or until hot and ready to eat.  If using dried beans, boil soaked beans for 1-2 hours until tender, then cook with the other ingredients in the slow cooker on low. Add a 1/2 cup of the bean water or regular water to loosen up the sauce as needed.

Beautiful photo of a vegetarian summer BBQ with veggie dogs, vegetarian baked beans, vegan coleslaw, watermelon and corn.

More Vegetarian Summer BBQ Recipes

Vegetarian Baked Beans

Easy and delicious classic vegetarian baked beans made on the stovetop or slow cooker crockpot. This baked beans recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive, avocado, or coconut oil
  •  2 (15-oz.) cans great northern beans
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (GF, Vegan. I use Robbie’s)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium sized saucepan. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the cooked/canned beans but reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid.
  3. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, coconut sugar, molasses, salt, and pepper, to the saucepan and stir to combine. Note: I  like to go slow with the sweetness. You can always add more but you can’t take it out. If you don’t want these baked beans as sweet, start with half the molasses and coconut sugar. Add the drained beans and stir in. Bring to a low simmer with the lid partially covering. Simmer for 20 minutes to let the flavors develop. Add more of the bean water or regular water to thin the sauce as needed.

Notes:

Slow Cooker Instructions: saute the onion and add it to the slow cooker along with the cooked beans and the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 6 hours or until hot and ready to eat.  If using dried beans, boil soaked beans for one hour, then cook with the other ingredients in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low. Add a 1/2 cup of the bean water or regular water to loosen up the sauce as needed.

Adapted from AllRecipes Boston Baked Beans

Nutrition Information

Yield: Serves 4-6, Serving Size: 1/4 recipe

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 320