This is the season of summer cookouts, where family and friends gather for an outdoor meal. Whether you’re the host or the guest, you’ll need an outstanding side dish to accompany the usual grilled entrée. A pot full of baked beans will round out your meal and keep your friends happy and well fed.There are baked beans and then there are Boston baked beans. Baked beans are traditionally made with navy beans, and despite the name, they are not baked at all, but rather stewed in a sweet tomato and sugared sauce. The Boston version uses molasses, mustard and salted pork, usually in the form of bacon, and slowly cooked to create a thick and rich stew.

While dried beans are incredibly nutritious with protein, fiber, potassium and iron, the addition of sugar and bacon can turn a “green light” food into a “yellow light” food. However, when making it yourself, you can simply reduce the amount of sugar used by combining small amounts of different types of added sugars and forgo the bacon, such as in the recipe below. The wonderful aroma of simmering baked beans will already get you thinking about your next cookout!

Vegetarian Slow-Cooked Boston Baked Beans

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