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​Sugar-free Baked Beans with a Bit of Smokey Spice

Last week, I heard that someone was using either my BBQ sauce from the BBQ Beans and Greens recipe or my Sugar-Free Ketchup recipe to create oil and sugar-free baked beans. I thought this was a fantastic solution since most baked bean recipes, even those that are plant-based, use refined sugar of some sort to sweeten the beans. Along with oil, the last ingredient I want in my delicious and nutritious meals is processed sugar.

It's bad enough that sugar is so often used as a preservative and flavor enhancer in such a large portion of packaged foods. Why would I add white sugar, or something similar, to my homemade meals when there's easy, healthy alternatives.

Yes, sugar is a concentrated source of calories, and it's devoid of all other nutrients, but for me, there's another reason I stay clear of processed sugar. It raises your blood sugar higher and faster than a natural source of sugar, like fresh fruit. This means it will also cause an unnatural drop in your blood sugar once a short time later. It's during this period that I become extra sensitive to everything, and the slightest trigger could bring me to tears.

The cumulation of these reasons is my motivation to use only whole food sweeteners. Since the two recipes mentioned above are sugar-free, they are great to use as a base for baked beans. However, I thought I'd make it a little easier for you and give you a full baked beans recipe ready to use.

My sugar-free baked beans are sweetened with a whole fruit called dates.

Although they're very sweet, dates are unprocessed and contain a variety of nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B6. They also contain a good amount of fiber and water, which makes them less calorie dense and slower to digest. Thus they have less of an impact on your blood sugar and weight compared to refined and highly processed sweeteners.

There you have it, delicious baked beans without added sugar.

They're also free of oil, salt, and bacon!

Kale yeah!!! That's how I like my food: vegan and plant-based.

Serve the beans over a baked potato, whole grain, a bed of greens, or simply on their own. I hope you enjoy these tasty legumes as much as I do.

Smokey Baked Beans

By Chef Katie Mae
Makes 4­­–5 cups | Ready in 45 minutes | Stores 5 days in fridge



  • 4 oz onion, finely chopped (1 small onion)
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (with seeds for extra heat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 14 oz tomato sauce or strained tomatoes
  • 16 oz cooked great northern beans (two 15oz cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted and diced finely
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard or 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tamari OR 1 teaspoon no-salt seasoning (i.e. Benson’s Table Tasty)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper



  1. Place a large sauté pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Cover with a lid and sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to turn translucent.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the beans, and stir well. Then gently stir in the beans and pour the mix into a casserole pan.
  4. Bake the beans for 30 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the oven and serve.



BLE upgrade: Leave out the dates. Since you don't have as much sweetness to balance the heat, you may want to leave out or add less of the jalapeno and/or cayenne pepper.


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