Homemade vegan baked beans with a spicy spin on the flavours—a very versatile recipe that you can tweak to your liking. It’s easily made in a pressure cooker, Instant Pot or stovetop.
I grew up being accustomed to the British style baked beans like Heinz Beans. The first time I came to Canada and tried a few Canadian brands, it was not what I expected at all. They were so sweet! Almost like something intended for dessert. I don’t think I’d ever get used to them.
Since Heinz Beans isn’t always available over here, I now make my own baked beans much more often. And to be honest, I should have done this a long time ago. Homemade baked beans are so much nicer, fresh-tasting and you can tweak it to however you like. Even the Heinz Beans have a little more sugar than what I would have preferred.
So, these homemade vegan baked beans, cooked in a pressure cooker (Instant Pot or other like the Cosori), are neither the British style nor the Northern American ones. They are just how I love preparing baked beans with a little spicy spin on the flavours. This is a very versatile recipe, spices can be tweaked to your liking and you can easily double it to feed a crowd, except astronauts! You know the joke about beans and astronauts, right? In fact, it’s a fake commercial that makes my day every time I watch it!
What beans to use for baked beans?
The typical beans that are available in the canned version are either navy or white kidney beans. I love both and this time I’ve used white kidney beans. Navy beans, which are smaller, take less time to cook and they are a little creamier.
Great Northern beans or cannellini beans are also good choices. Great Northern beans may take about 3 – 5 minutes more to cook since they are a little larger.
I have made this recipe using pinto/borlotti beans as well and it’s pretty delicious too. Like I’ve said, this recipe is very versatile; you can swap the beans for other types but just make sure to adjust the time accordingly depending on what beans you are using.
How to cook dried beans
I always soak dried beans before cooking them, even when I cook them in the pressure cooker. Some prefer to skip the soaking but I always find the texture better and the cooking time is considerably reduced when the beans are soaked first.
Before I had the pressure cooker, I used to cook the beans on the stovetop for over 45 minutes and I would skip baking them afterwards. I found them to be pretty tasty as is and didn’t think they needed any further time in the oven.
Nowadays, I find it way easier to just make them in my Cosori pressure cooker (not sponsored, just the one that I use). If you have an Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker like this one that my mum uses, the same method will work. You may need to make some adjustments with the time setting depending on the beans and the pressure cooker itself.
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- 300 g (1½ cups) white kidney beans (or other while beans like cannellini, navy or Great Northern beans)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped or sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger root, or a thumb size finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder, optional
- ½ teaspoon harissa or chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 200 ml (¾ cup) crushed tomatoes
- 600 ml (2½ cups) water
- 4 - 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme), optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Coriander leaves or parsley for garnish, optional
The night before, place the beans to soak in plenty of water for at least 8 hours or overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the beans.
For electric pressure:
- Set the cooker to the saute mode or manual mode on high, then add the oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add in the garlic, onion and ginger. Saute for about one minute while stirring a couple of times.
- Next add all the spices—paprika, cumin, coriander powder, harissa or chilli powder and cinnamon. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add in the soaked drained beans followed by the rest of the ingredients. Stir and mix well.
- Cancel the saute mode or manual mode.
- Place the lid on and close. Make sure the valve is in the closed position.
- Set the cooker on medium-high pressure for 8 minutes (if using navy beans set it to 5 minutes). Press start.
- Once the time is up, let the pressure go down naturally until the indicator is down and it is safe to open the cooker. The pressure will take about 15-20 minutes to go down. Don’t open the cooker before then as the beans need to continue cooking during that time.
- After 20 minutes, release any remaining pressure and open the cooker. Stir the beans.
- If the sauce is watery, simmer the beans uncovered until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves or parsley. Serve immediately or wait until cooled to portion out and freeze for later.
For stovetop pressure cooker:
- Heat the oil in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat.
- Once hot, proceed with steps 2 - 4 as above. Close the pressure cooker and place the whistle knob.
- As from the first whistle, count 8 minutes (or 5 minutes for navy beans), then turn off the heat.
- Let the pressure go down naturally for 20 minutes, then release any remaining pressure before opening the cooker. Stir the beans.
- If the sauce is watery, proceed with steps 10 - 12 as above.
For stovetop in a pot:
- Heat the oil in a thick bottom pot on medium-high heat.
- Once hot, proceed with steps 2 - 4 as for the electric pressure cooker.
- Place the lid on and cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes up to one hour or until the beans are tender and cooked. Occasionally stir the beans and partially uncover the pot if the liquid is boiling over.
- Occasionally check on the water level and add more as required.
- Once beans are cooked, simmer uncovered to thicken the sauce if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 571mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 14g