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Simple Stovetop Baked Beans Recipe

Simple Stovetop Baked Beans Recipe

Some classic recipes never go out of style, but just go on being rediscovered by generation after generation of happy cooks and eaters. Baked beans is one of these: a super-nutritious, delicious food that makes us think of home.

The great Helen Nearing, pioneer of the joys of a simple lifestyle, didn’t believe you had to bake beans all day for them to be perfect. Here is her couldn’t-be-simpler recipe for a stovetop baked bean dish that tastes so good your family will think you slaved over them for hours. Baked beans and wholegrain bread makes a complete-protein meal; with a salad alongside, you have a homey, warming, satisfying supper that conjures up all the hearthside pleasures of fall, and it costs almost nothing to make.

2 cups dried beans, soaked overnight
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Drain soaking water from beans and place them in a heavy pot. Cover them with boiling water and cook until tender, about 2 hours. (Helen used the top of her wood stove!)

2. When beans are tender, saute onions in a saucepan with a little olive oil until golden, then add to beans along with other ingredients and simmer for another hour.

Serves 4 to 6.

Read more: Food, All recipes, Entrees, Side Dishes

Adapted from Simple Food for the Good Life, by Helen Nearing (Chelsea Green, 1980).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Simple Food for the Good Life

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1:30AM PST on Dec 30, 2012

Good looking recipe. But use iodized salt any kind. It is the only source of iodine in most folks diet. Unless of course you consume a daily amount of seaweed. The only other significant source.

7:01AM PST on Dec 28, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:19PM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

Haven't heard Helen Nearing's name in a long time!
Thanks for one of her recipes. Love the taste of BEANS, not just the sauce, so this sounds good. Nothing worse than those canned baked beans that taste of nothing but sugar and more sugar...ugh.

11:57PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Not how I do mine but ok. Yes full directions would have been nice.

1:17PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Thanks for the recipe.

1:04PM PDT on May 12, 2012


9:20AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

Thank you

12:29AM PDT on Aug 25, 2011

Yummy! Thanks for sharing.

5:55PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

I make a bean dish given to me by a vegan friend.have used it over the years.My only addition to your dish is a splash of brown vinegar and black strap molasses.Good to know these old recipes are still making the rounds.

9:05PM PST on Dec 11, 2010

I have got to try this. I have never made baked beans from scratch. I have always used canned beans.

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