23 July 2008

VEGETARIAN BAKED BEANS (PLUS REVIEWS OF VEGETARIAN HOT DOGS)

July is both National Hot Dog Month and National Baked Bean Month, presumably because both are consumed in large quantities on the fourth. These designations for July may make the month seem unfriendly to vegetarians, but this does not have to be the case.

To begin, there are many vegetarian, even vegan, versions of hot dogs, generally made from soy. My personal favorite, pictured below, is Loma Linda Big Franks. They have the best flavor and texture, in my opinion, and they are vegan, but they are difficult to find in stores. They aren’t sold anywhere in my town, although while researching for this post, I discovered that they are available, at competitive prices, at amazon.com and sagegrocery.com.

However, since I couldn’t find Big Franks in my local stores, I decided to test three of the vegetarian dogs that were sold locally. Out of these I found two to be decent options, although neither replaces Big Franks as my favorite. The Yves Meatless Hot Dog, my least favorite, lacked flavor, other than a rather strong smoke flavor, but it had a decent, though slightly dry, texture, and it is vegan. The LightLife Smart Dogs possess probably the best balance of healthfulness and taste. They are vegan and made with non-gmo soy. They have good flavor that my husband (who is a flexitarian) thought tasted similar to beef hot dogs, and the texture is almost as good as my beloved Big Franks, though I found them to be just slightly rubbery (but I’m very picky about food textures). Finally, I tested Morningstar Farms America’s Original Veggie Dogs, the only non-vegan version, which also epitomizes the problems with many traditional meat substitutes: I found the flavor and texture to be almost as good as Big Franks, but, unfortunately, the Morningstar Farms dogs are typical processed junk, including corn syrup and other less-than-healthy ingredients.

As for baked beans, vegetarian versions can be just as tasty, and more healthful, than traditional versions with pork or bacon. And a homemade from-scratch version is tastier than the Bush’s Best Vegetarian Baked Beans from a can. Serve them with a vegetarian hot dog, and enjoy July!

VEGETARIAN BAKED BEANS

1 pound dry navy beans or great northern beans
1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
½ cup brown sugar
1 shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1. Rinse beans. In a large pot, combine beans and 8 cups water. Cover and let soak overnight.
2. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to pot. Add 8 cups fresh water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30-60 minutes or just until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans, reserving liquid.
3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine beans, 1½ cups reserved bean liquid, and remaining ingredients. Transfer to a 2½-quart casserole dish and cover dish with aluminum foil.
4. Bake for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add additional reserved bean liquid.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 230 calories, 3 g total fat, 0 g cholesterol, 265 mg sodium, 70 g carbohydrates, 15 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 9 g protein.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Out of all the dogs you mentioned we can only get the Yves' ones here, but I totally agree with you... icky! I do love my baked beans though, so I'm saving your yummy looking recipe!

LadyBoyd said...

Used to love Leanies as a kid. I dont think they are even made anymore....