Experiments in Taste #4: Vegan Baked Beans

Being British, I was brought up with baked beans a staple part of my diet. My husband was horrified when introduced to them: ‘What is this? Why are they in a can? What kind of sauce is this? Why can’t you cook them yourself?’ I think it’s fair to say that Slovenians have a much healthier attitude to food than Brits, as a general rule. They cook most things from scratch. This means that a good old tin of Heinz is hard to come by. But I do miss those beans. So I decided to D.I.Y. them, and make them vegan at the same time. I was pleased with the result, so I’m sharing the recipe with you here.


  • 2 cans borlotti beans.
  • 1 small jar of good-quality tomato and basil sauce, or you can make your own. I use this recipe.
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped, or 1 tsp dried thyme.
  • A handful of chopped fresh parsley.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1 herbal tea bag.


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C), gas mark 6.
  • In a medium-sized ovenproof dish, combine the beans and the water from the can with the pasta sauce. Add the herbs and the tea bag, which acts as a kind of bouquet garni (trust me!) I used a tea containing linden flower, lemon balm and mint. This mixture works well.
  • Stir all of the ingredients together well then cover the dish and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Switch the oven off, remove the cover from the dish, and leave the beans in the oven for another hour. They will continue to cook slowly and any excess liquid from the mixture should evaporate. If the mixture looks too dry, add a little water and give it a stir.

Serving suggestion

Sweet potatoes are a great vegan food because they are packed with nutrients. I enjoyed my baked beans inside a baked sweet potato. This makes for a delicious and nutritious vegan dish!

28 thoughts on “Experiments in Taste #4: Vegan Baked Beans

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  1. Madam,

    I’m quite sure that both you and your readers will have noticed that whenever you have baked beans on toast (voted one of the finest meals in the world*) one [singular] bean always manages to fall from the fork in transit to
    A) the table
    B) your shirt/skirt
    C) the floor
    and also D)

    This happens with such unerring frequency that I began a post-graduate study of this phenomenon (nom-nom) and have bean fortunate enough to have found funding from the esteemed Heinz company (though, sadly, interest & monies ran out in 2009 when they decided to invest more research into their delicious, but ultimately failed ‘Five Bean’ variety). Thankfully, the good people of Branston’s stepped up to the plate in 2015 and The Baked Bean Research Foundation (BBRF) continued. I can now publish the conclusions of my findings.

    It turns out that there really is no way to stop this strange occurrence and I have come to the conclusion that the ‘bean gods’ have to be appeased. In respect of this I always make an offering of one [singular] bean to the tablecloth before beginning my meal. This sacrificial element may seem pagan or perhaps primitive to many but I have found that I am a far happier and cleaner bean eater, learning to embrace and to love the tiny bean people even more. I advise likewise.

    * Baked Bean Monthly.
    nb: no beans were harmed in the making of this meal.
    [I can also fully endorse Branston Beans as almost equal to Heinz].

    Many thanks,
    Dr. Anita Havebeanz (BBRF)

  2. One hundred percent you are right. Beans is very useful and healthy especially when cooked at home not the one purchased in cans. Do you know that beans includes the same value of protein which exists in meat. I have one more way for preparing beans if you want to try i can tell. I have it in breakfast most of the days.

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