…being okay with canned baked beans doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. In fact, canned baked beans are dying to be riffed on. We like to do the seasoning ourselves, starting out with a can of original recipe (or the most basic variety of your favorite brand of baked beans). From a dash of spice to fresh diced vegetables, the options are literally endless.
Here are a few stir-in ideas to get your backyard barbecue feast started…
Bean-based soups and stews are also really high in protein and endlessly versatile. I made a vegetarian soup this week with chipotles in adobo, garlic, peppers, onion, and quinoa. A can of beans + whatever you have in the house is likely to be a life-saver!
Chili was originally a peasant dish. It was almost always vegetarian because meat is expensive. Beans are a wonderful cheap source of protein. That said wonderful chili can be made, sans beans.
Whatever way you make it, for those times when your chili comes out a bit runny—more like soup than a hearty stew…
The Potato Masher
Unlike some quirky cooking utensils, every kitchen is bound to have a potato masher. And this does not add any ingredients! Just mash a little so that the ingredients break down, releasing their natural starches will help thicken the excess liquid.
Masa, Cornmeal, or even Polenta
Add a little water to a couple of tablespoons of masa flour, stir it in at the end of cooking. As mentioned, cornmeal or polenta would be good substitutes.
Tortilla or Tortilla Chips
It’s common to use these to thicken soups. Tear or break into small pieces before stirring in.
It’s fairly obvious that tomatoes and balsamic vinegar are in a serious relationship. (Rumors have it that they eloped last year, but it has yet to be confirmed.) When used together, you get that signature tangy, sweet, salty thing that somehow totally transforms your dish. What a pair!
You’re probably aware that these lovebirds are perfect together in a summer caprese salad, but have you tried adding a few healthy dashes of the vinegar to your bowl of tomato-based chili?
It’s good in most anything tomato – bolognese too. Worcester (three times fast!) sauce is another substitute, though many contain anchovies (concern for people with fish allergies) and thus not vegan or no-fish vegetarian.
Pumpkin however is not low in vitamin k – 1 cup/240 grams of pumpkin has 2 mcg of vitamin K (2% Daily Value). The following recipe calls for almost 6 cups of pumpkin (though you can substitute with butternut, Red Kuri, or Golden Hubbard). You can eat it, but share:
The corn was inedible. It tasted like corn, but the kernels refused to break down as you chewed. So we stripped the cobs and soaked them in cream to make a corn stock. The cobs looked like chicken bones or chicken necks floating in the pot. But they infused the liquid with a beautiful corn flavor: a perfect match for blackberries.
A nice soak in some heavy cream will give you a deliciously corn-infused cream that you can use as liquid, or whip up for a naturally savory-sweet whipped cream in coffee, dessert, or in a stew/chowder.