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I like big beans. And I cannot lie.
(I had to do it.)
In this case, the beans are Gigante beans. If you’ve never tried them, and you like beans, you will love these special nuggets. White with a creamy texture, these beans can be up to one-and-a-half-inches long and an inch wide!
This dish takes advantage of a pressure cooker, in this case, an Instant Pot. On high pressure, these beans are cooked in record time. In the case of this recipe, I used high pressure for 40 minutes to cook the beans. And while they cooked I made a little tomato jam. I combined everything and then baked for almost two hours.
So, yes, not a quick recipe. It’s a little fiddly, but the hands-on time is only about 15 minutes. You can use canned lima beans or another big white bean and skip the need to cook the dried beans from scratch. I promise that this dish is warm, a little sweet, a little zippy, and comforting and substantial enough to serve as a main dish regardless of the canned or scratch beans. In a smaller portion, it makes for a delicious and substantial side dish to a whopping big salad, a fabulous burger, veggie or otherwise, or maybe a carrot dog?
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Gigante Beans — I like this Rancho Gordo brand of Royal Corona beans
- Tomatoes — diced canned tomatoes, passata, canned tomato sauce, or fresh tomatoes.
- Onions — any variety works here.
- Rosemary — dried or fresh
Garlic — minced cloves.
- Ground cloves.
- Pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Bean cooking water, vegetable stock, or plain water.
- Maple Syrup — real maple syrup, any grade.
How to Make Gigante Beans Baked in Jammy Tomato Sauce
Here’s an overview of how the recipe comes together. For details, see the recipe below.
Make the Beans
- If you are using dried beans, start with one pound of dried beans.
- Instant Pot Method: Place beans directly into the Instant Pot along with water, rosemary and half an onion.
- Stove Top Method: Soak dried beans for 4-12 hours in a large pot of water. Following the soak, drain the beans, add 7 cups of water, rosemary, and onion.
- If you are using canned beans, open two cans of prepared plain beans, preferably low- or no-salt, and set aside.
Make the Jammy Tomato Sauce
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add a couple of tablespoons of broth or water and add the chopped onions to the pan. Stir a bit, and if the onions begin to stick, ad a little more liquid. When the onion starts to break down, add the minced garlic. Stir for another minute. Add the cloves, rosemary and pepper flakes, and stir one more minute. Add the tomatoes and broth, bean water, or water and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the maple syrup and combine well. Finally, drain the beans and save the dang bean cooking liquid. Stir in the cooked beans and make sure each bean gets a little sumpim’ sumpin’ of that tomato sauce.
Turn the bean mixture into an 8 x 8 pan or (or 7 x 13 works, too), press the beans down lightly so the top is even. Bake in the oven for 90 minutes or longer until the sauce is jammy and the beans are very soft.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I eat beans and legumes? A growing body of evidence suggests that beans are essential in preventing all sorts of diseases. Beans are sources of B vitamins, micronutrients like potassium, iron, and magnesium. And beans contain both protein and fiber. Eat your damn beans.
Must I use giant beans? You can use any beans in a recipe like this, but for beans to stand up to hours of cooking and accompanying deep, rich flavor, you need big beans.
What is passata? Tomato passata is a tomato sauce made from raw tomatoes. In my kitchen, I swap out canned plain tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes often, depending on what is in the pantry. I had a jar of tomato passata from a grocery store giveaway so I used it here. Feel free to substitute with fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. They all work.
Can I freeze this dish? This will keep covered in the refrigerator for at least five days. Longer than that, it’s fine to freeze this dish for a few months.
Does maple syrup have grades? Yep. Maple syrup typically sold in grocery stores is grade A — the lightest color and mildest flavor. I love the darker syrups with more rustic maple flavor, but they are not easy to find. The darker syrups have interesting flavor profiles with notes of molasses and dried fruit. It’s worth hunting down different grades of maple syrup and have a tasting party!
Check out this article for more information on grades, color, clarity, etc..
Should I really save my bean cooking water? Yes, please do! You can use bean water in place of boring old tap water and even vegetable broth. Don’t pitch the nutritional value of bean water down the sink. If you can’t use it right away, put it in a jar and store it in the refrigerator — it keeps for at least five days. Use it anytime a savory recipe calls for water.
Top Tips for Gigante Beans Baked in Jammy Tomatoes
- Gather and prepare all your ingredients first. It will make the entire process faster.
- When baking in the oven, place the dish on a foil-lined cookie sheet in case it overflows.
- If you like more heat, add more pepper flakes. If you like your beans sweeter, add more maple syrup.
- Swap out canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, or canned tomato sauce in place of the passata.
- You do not need to oil the baking dish here.
- Bake the final bake for 60 minutes and then check the beans. If they are liquidy, cook them another 30 to 60 minutes. You are looking for a sturdy casserole of beans here, not a saucy mixture.
These big beans baked in jammy tomato sauce are sassy, spicy, sweet, and a real protein bump for vegans. They pair with meaty barbeque, veggie burgers, and any other place where baked beans make an appearance. Fancy enough for company, and great for a bean batch to eat all week long.
1 pound of giant dried beans — like these Royal Coronas from Rancho Gordo
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
28 ounces canned chopped tomatoes with liquid
2 pinches ground clove
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups of water, bean water, or vegetable stock
Cook the Beans
This recipe works with canned beans, so if you have a can of gigante beans in the pantry you can definitely use those. I love flavoring dried beans and making them in the Instant Pot, but pressure cooking is not required. You can also start with dried beans, soak overnight, and cook on the stovetop for an hour or two.
Instant Pot Directions
- Add dried gigante beans to your Instant Pot. lf you want to season your beans at this point add a sprig of rosemary and half an onion along with enough water to cover everything by 2 or 3 inches. The rosemary and onion are optional. Cook the beans on high pressure for 40 minutes with natural release. Use the instructions for your pressure cooker if you use another brand besides Instant Pot.
Make the Tomato “Jam”
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add a couple of tablespoons of broth or water and add the chopped onions to the pan. Stir a bit, and if the onions begin to stick, ad a little more liquid.
- When the onion starts to break down, add the minced garlic. Stir for another minute.
- Add the cloves, rosemary and pepper flakes, and stir one more minute.
- Add the tomatoes and broth, (or bean water or water) and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the maple syrup and combine well.
- Finally, drain the beans and save the dang bean cooking liquid. Stir in the cooked beans and make sure each bean gets a little sumpim’ sumpin’ of that tomato sauce.
- Put the whole lot in an 8-inch square baking dish (or something of relatively equal size) and bake until the beans are very soft at the liquid has reduced do a delicious sweet jam — about 2 hours, but check after 90 minutes.
- Category: Mains, Salads, Dressings
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! If you try it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback. Or share it on social media!
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