Savory Baked Beans (with sweet option in notes)

I adore baked beans – sweet ones – so I had to figure out a way to make them taste good without the added inflammatory and caloric additions of sweetener.  These came out spectacularly savory and delicious.  Organic products aid in gaining the extraSavory Baked Beans flavor that the sweet usually masks.  If you still want a touch of sweetness, check out the note at the bottom.

I used a 2-qt casserole and ended up with splatter in the oven.  You might want to use a large dish to avoid that.

Without further ado – here’s the recipe!


  • 4 cans mostly drained organic pinto beans
  • 1 15-oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp hickory smoke seasoning
  • 3/8 tsp organic dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp organic garlic powder
  • 2 tsp organic onion powder
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 c. chopped organic onion
  • 3 lg organic garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c water, as needed (see picture at bottom for how soupy it should look before baking)

Mix all in a large covered (this can be foil) casserole dish, adding water if things look fairly dry.  Bake at 375 degrees for 75-90 minutes, or until onions are soft enough for your tastes. To speed the baking process up some, you could saute the onions in the 1/4 c of water first.  

Note: if you want sweet baked beans, add 1-4 T. maple syrup, or, perhaps, 1 T. molasses and 1-3 T. maple syrup.  You can also use some applesauce along with the maple syrup to sweeten it more healthfully.  You can’t even tell after it is baked!  It got the thumbs-up from my fussiest eater.Savory Baked Beans uncooked

Our Changes For An Even Healthier Life

Things have changed in the Cheerfully Vegan household.  Not everybody is quite as cheerful as before our latest dietary shift.  lol  Changes are hard and it takes determination to see them through, as well as substitutions for the things you are leaving behind.  You see, just because you become vegan does not mean all of your food intake is healthy.  Hmmmm….  As much as I knew this in my head, my sugar consumption was not a healthy thing.  Neither was the consumption of processed fake meat-like and cheese-style products.  When my darling hubby’s testing came back with a high risk of developing heart problems, we sat straight up and took notice.  The heart screening nurse told me that just having dropped animal products from our diet years ago wasn’t the whole answer.  The results from hubby’s tests indicated inflammation, which is caused by sugars, processed foods, and many oils.  Therefore, as a kick in the pants, I rewatched Forks Over Knives.  Together, we watched Eating You Alive.  (If you haven’t seen these 2 documentaries, you are missing out on much information that will amaze you.)

Keep in mind that both of us had seen Forks Over Knives and had helped with local CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) presentations over the years.  We KNEW this stuff.  But sugar called to us, along with all of the rest of it.  After reassessing the situation, we (hubby and I) made the decision to change everything – one more time – and became whole plant-food based in our diet.  (Lifestyle changes are sometimes a gradual shift across time as you become willing to listen to truth and relinquish bad habits.  This was not our first time to the Change Your Diet rodeo.)  One of the unhappiest in this change is probably our 20-yr-old son who still lives with us until his wedding in a few months.  He has not been convinced of the necessity just yet.  I try to remember that a man convinced against his will is unconvinced still.  I keep his favorite non-dairy sweetened milk and sweetened organic whole grain cereal in the house still for him, as well as a few other items.

We learned just how much hidden sugar and oil are in things.  Even non-dairy vanilla soymilk has 2 tsp of sugar in every cup!!!  Yowza!  If I am going to splurge on something sweet, it won’t be milk.  We tried out several different unsweetened kinds – and now we each have our favorite and keep all of them in the frig.

I discovered that even though I thought I was doing a good job feeding my crew healthfully before this change that some of us were “cheating” and eating things away from home that contributed to poor health tests.  (Cough – hubby!)  However, I was no saint, as attested by my weight.

We increased our whole grains and decreased whole flour products.  We already rarely ate white flour things.  We occasionally use maple syrup or other natural sweeteners, including pure stevia (many brands have garbage added), but ditched sugar (corn syrup has been gone for decades.)  We cut nuts at first, as well as other naturally high-fat plant foods, but found our skin was drying out, etc., so we added a few back in.  If we didn’t need to lose weight, these would not be an issue at all to keep in the diet.  We ditched all of the processed foods.  I began making even more things from scratch than I already did.  We kept some fruit-sweetened organic corn flakes, but I make granola, cooked cereal, and museli for breakfast options as my crew doesn’t like a lot of cooked breakfast items.  I make my own bread.  I make our own burger patties and freeze the extras.  I’m learning what works and what doesn’t.  I’m finding new recipes that I consider a success if at least 2 of us like them.

It has been not quite 2 months since we began the shift.  It took probably 3-4 weeks before we became settled in and got rid of the sweetened milks and stopped caving in and buying all-too-often “occasional” treats.  Hubby has lost 10 lbs.  I’ve lost 6-7.  My aches and pains are almost all gone now.  He still has some pain, but walks straighter and groans less than he did.  (He found out just how much he used to hurt when he bought a candy bar one day!!  He had a miserable few days until the inflammation went back down.)  That bloated feeling we both used to have on a regular basis is gone.  Honestly, I feel better than I have in years!  So, although we miss many things, we have decided this is something to maintain.  We hope by a few month’s time to have dropped all of our excess weight and be back to our youthful figures from dating years decades ago.

So, if you notice the recipes that I post from now on are different, this is why.  I am not going to remove the old recipes, because not everyone is ready for a whole plant-food based diet.  They may still want vegan recipes with sugar, oil, and such that I worked hard to create over the years.  I will NOT judge, because we are all at different speeds on the journey to our best health!

Here’s To Your Health!!