I’m not a vegetarian. Let’s just get that out of the way. In fact, I’ll try most foods and if I won’t then my husband definitely will. But when entertaining groups of people it becomes necessary to accommodate others’ eating restrictions so vegetarian food or at least options are a good way to go. This is the second time I’ve whipped up this recipe and it’s definitely a keeper. Anything that requires throwing a bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker and then having delicious results a few hours later is totally worth it.

I’m sure you remember all those beans I bought the other day.
This recipe uses pink beans and great Northern beans. The last time I made this I actually didn’t soak the beans because I have a slow cooker cook book that says you don’t have to. Honestly, I don’t think the soaking made any difference in the end so I’d probably skip this step next time.

Soaking beans is supposed to eliminate some of the stuff that makes people gassy. But who plans ahead for soaking beans?

After just a few hours look how much they expanded! This was actually the first time I’ve soaked beans and so this was a fun surprise for me.

Into a colander to be rinsed like lots of other people say you need to. Again, if you are slow cooking beans for an extended period of time you can skip these steps.

In terms of things you need, you need a slow cooker. I have two and used the other one for another bean recipe I’ll share soon. I used my 6-quart slow cooker for this recipe.

You will need a bunch of pantry staples, vegetable broth (or Better Than Bouillon works well, also) and fake bacon. My local Target carries Morningstar fake bacon. Yes, it looks weird. The thought is that it’s for the flavor but if you’re a pork-eating non-veg person, feel free to swap this out for the real stuff. Or if you don’t eat pork, try turkey bacon!

Chop the onion, chop the garlic, and chop the bacon into small pieces because it will not fall apart and you don’t want giant squares of fake bacon swimming around.

Throw everything into the slow cooker with 6-8 cups of water and broth (this whole recipe is listed below). Then you just turn the whole thing on and wait for the magic to happen.

About 9 hours later this is what you get (unstirred). At this point it smells amazing.

Stir it up and taste to see if you need to add anything like more salt, sweetness, vinegar, or an extra spoonful of love.
I’m thankful for these leftovers! The best part is they are very low in fat and sodium so it’s like a big pot of protein and fiber. How can you not love that!? As you can see above, after having soaked the beans I didn’t think about the fact that they would soak up less water than the last time I made them so these are a little soupy. I just left the lid off the slow cooker for an hour or two until the bean gravy had reduced and they were just fine.

Are you ready for my recipe? I would site the sources but, as usual, there were too many to source and I took a lot of creative permissions here.

Slow Cooked Vegetarian Baked Beans

  • 2 pounds beans (white, pink or a mixture of the two)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 can tomato sauce or about 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire
  • 1/2 pound of fake bacon
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3-4 cups water
  • brown sugar (optional)

1. Rinse and pick over beans (soak if desired and if you’re cooking this recipe on “high”).

2. Add beans through water to the slow cooker. If you have soaked your beans, you should only need about 6 cups of liquid or enough to cover the beans and then an inch higher. If you added the beans dry, you will need enough liquid to cover the beans by two inches.

3. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low 8-12 hours.

4. Stir beans and taste once they are fully cooked. Add additional sugar or maple syrup if needed.