These thick, sweet & smoky slow cooked vegan baked beans need a little initial prep then you can leave them to do their thing while you do yours. You will be rewarded with a comforting & delicious pot of the most amazing baked beans with rich, deep & complex flavours.
300g / 1.5 cupsof small dried white beans, soaked overnight (measured before soaking - see recipe note if you forget to soak them) navy or great northern beans work best. If you don't have dried you may use 4.5 cups of drained canned beans
½teaspoonchilli flakes or powder(to give flavour not heat)
1heaping tablespoonsmoked paprika, OR liquid smoke, (see recipe notes for advice on amounts) DO NOT use both. They both give good results.
240mls / 1cupof water
First you need to cook your soaked beans (see recipe notes if you forgot to soak them) Drain off the soaking water, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil then simmer until the beans are just tender. 60 - 90 minutes should do it. If you are using canned beans skip this step. Once the beans have cooked, drain them and then continue onto the steps below depending on your cooking method.
Slow Cooker Method
Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours (I have left them for up to 10 hours in my crock-pot , or on high for 5 hours. Remember that all slow cookers are slightly different so I would suggest that you make sure you are semi around for the last couple of hours of cooking just in case your slow cooker runs hotter)
Stove Top or Oven Method
Saute onions and garlic until transparent.
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over a medium heat until just starting to bubble.
Turn down to low, cover and cook for around 3 hours or until the beans are very soft and the sauce is thick and rich. Check them often and stir to make sure they aren't sticking to the bottom or drying out. If they are just add a few drops of water to bring them back to the consistency you want.
If baking in the oven once a simmer has been reached transfer to a covered oven proof dish and bake in a preheated oven on 300 ° F for 3 - 4 hours or until the beans are soft and the sauce is thick and rich. Again check every hour or so to make sure they are ok and not drying out.
If you forget to soak your beans you can use the quick soak method. Put the beans in a pan of water, boil for 1 minute then turn off and leave in the hot water for 1 hour. You can then cook them as usual.If you do not have crushed tomatoes you can use chopped or whole canned tomatoes and just blend them up before using. If you are in the UK passata would be a good substitute.Different brands of liquid smoke vary in strength a lot. I used 2.5 teaspoons in my beans but I suggest starting with only 1 teaspoon and tasting when the beans are nearly cooked. If it is smoky enough leave it, if not add another teaspoon or 1.5 teaspoons. You won't need any more than that.I suggest pre-cooking the beans at least partially to get a much softer result, although it is possible to just throw in the soaked but uncooked beans as they are. I am lazy and often do this! You will not get such good results because the acid in the tomatoes prevents the beans from softening completely, but if you don't mind beans with a little bit of bite then it is perfectly acceptable and will still taste good.If you have lots of leftovers they freeze very well. Keep them in an airtight container and defrost overnight. Warm them through in a pan on the stove, or microwave on medium. Make sure they are piping hot before serving.