Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Cherry Tomatoes and Bacon

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Indulge in the home-cooked comfort of our Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Cherry Tomatoes and Bacon recipe. This heartwarming dish brings together an enticing blend of flavors, with the smokiness of the beans perfectly complemented by the sweet burst of cherry tomatoes and the savory crunch of bacon. Prepare yourself for an adventure in culinary delight as we guide you through the steps to create this slow-cooked treasure.

    Why you’ll love this recipe

    • Ease of Preparation: This recipe is simple and straightforward, making it perfect for both experienced cooks and kitchen novices. The slow cooker does most of the work, allowing you to enjoy your day while your meal cooks to perfection.
    • Rich Flavor Profile: The combination of smoky beans, sweet cherry tomatoes, and savory bacon creates a comforting and robust dish that’s sure to impress your taste buds.
    • Versatility: This smoky beans dish is not just for dinner. It can also be served at breakfast with eggs, or as a unique side dish at your next barbecue.
    • Healthy and Nutritious: Packed with protein from the beans and bacon, and vitamins from the cherry tomatoes, this dish is both delicious and nourishing, making it a guilt-free comfort food.

    Ingredients

    • Thick-cut bacon
    • Dried white beans
    • Onion
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Water
    • Tomato paste
    • BBQ sauce
    • Molasses
    • Brown sugar
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Dijon mustard

    Grab the full ingredients details and instructions in the recipe card below!

    Substitutions

    • Thick-cut bacon: If you’re looking to make this dish vegetarian or reduce the fat content, consider using a meat substitute such as soy-based bacon or tempeh.
    • Dried white beans: You can easily substitute dried white beans with canned white beans, pinto beans, or even chickpeas, depending on your preference. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly if using canned beans, as they are already cooked.
    • Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes add a sweet burst of flavor to this dish. If they are out of season or not available, you can use diced regular tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes for a slightly different, yet equally delicious flavor profile.
    • Dijon mustard: While Dijon mustard offers a distinctive tangy flavor, you can substitute it with yellow mustard or a grainy mustard if needed. Alternatively, if mustard is not to your liking, consider using a splash of apple cider vinegar for a similar tangy twist.

    Additional Variations

    • Spice it up: If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding a diced jalapeno pepper or a dash of crushed red pepper flakes to the recipe for a spicy kick.
    • Go green: For added nutrition and color, consider folding in some fresh spinach or kale during the last half-hour of cooking.
    • Cheese please: Top off your smoky beans with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar or crumbled feta cheese for a creamy, savory finish.
    • Meatless Monday: Opt for a vegan version by replacing bacon with smoked paprika for that smoky flavor, and using a splash of tamari or soy sauce for the savory element.
    • Hearty Additions: To make this a more filling dish, you can add diced chicken or ground turkey into the mix. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
    • Garnish: A sprinkle of fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley before serving can add a fresh burst of flavor and a pop of color to this hearty dish.

    Remember, the beauty of cooking is in the experimentation. Feel free to tweak this recipe to suit your personal taste and dietary preferences. Enjoy your cooking adventure!

    Instructions

    Begin by sorting and washing the dried beans, ensuring that any small stones or debris are removed. Discard any shriveled beans. Then, proceed to rinse the beans in a colander using cool water.

    In a medium bowl, place the beans and generously cover them with water. Ensure the water level is twice as high as the beans, as they expand during soaking. Allow the beans to soak overnight in the refrigerator, allowing ample time for them to absorb the water and plump up. In the morning, drain the beans.

    Place the bacon in an even layer at the bottom of the slow cooker. Layer the beans on top of the bacon, followed by the onions and cherry tomatoes. Avoid stirring the mixture.

    In medium bowl, combine the water, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, molasses, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Pour this flavorful sauce over the beans, being careful not to stir.

    Place the lid on the slow cooker and let it work its magic on low heat for 8-10 hours, or until the beans become tender and creamy.

    When the cooking is complete, give everything a thorough stir. Taste the beans and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

    Recipe tips

    • Soak the beans: Soaking the beans overnight not only shortens their cooking time but also makes them easier to digest and reduces their gas-producing properties.
    • Stir sparingly: When adding the layers to the slow cooker, resist the urge to stir. Stirring can cause the beans to break apart and become mushy.
    • Check for doneness: The cooking time for beans can vary based on their size and age. Start checking for doneness after 7 hours to ensure your beans don’t overcook.
    • Adjust seasoning at the end: Wait until the beans are fully cooked before adding salt or any acidic ingredients like vinegar or tomatoes. Adding them too early can prevent the beans from becoming tender.
    • Store leftovers safely: Allow the dish to cool completely before storing it in the refrigerator. Use within 3-4 days for best taste and safety.
    • Reheating leftovers: When reheating, add a splash of water or broth to keep the beans from drying out. Reheat on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave until heated through.

    Storage & reheating

    This smoky beans dish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, you can freeze it.

    To freeze, let the dish cool completely, then portion it into freezer-safe containers or plastic freezer bags. Make sure to leave a little space at the top, as the beans may expand when frozen. Properly stored, it will maintain its best quality for about 2-3 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.

    Reheating

    When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen smoky beans, allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat the beans on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through. If you’re in a hurry, you can also reheat the dish in the microwave. Place the beans in a microwave-safe dish, cover and heat on high for 2-3 minutes, or until hot. Remember to stir halfway through to ensure even heating.

    Recipe FAQ

    Absolutely! If using an Instant Pot, use the “saute” function to cook the bacon and onions first, then add the remaining ingredients. Close the lid and set the pressure release to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes, followed by a natural pressure release.

    If your beans are still hard after cooking, they may be old. Old beans take longer to cook and sometimes never soften adequately. You can try cooking them for longer, or consider buying fresh beans next time.

    Soaking the beans overnight helps to soften them and reduce their cooking time. However, if you forget to soak your beans, you can do a quick soak by boiling them for one to two hours before cooking.

    While this recipe calls for white beans, you can use any type of dried beans you like. Just remember that the cooking time may vary depending on the type and size of the beans.

    These smoky beans make a great side dish for almost any meal. They go well with grilled meats, fried chicken, or even as a topping for toast. They’re also delicious with a side of cornbread or over a baked potato.

    Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Cherry Tomatoes and Bacon

    Slow Cooker Smoky Beans with Cherry Tomatoes and Bacon

    Yield: 6 portions
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Soak Time (Beans): 4 hours
    Cook Time: 8 hours
    Total Time: 12 hours 10 minutes

    Get the slow cooker into action for this classic smoky beans recipe with tomatoes and bacon

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 lb. dried white beans, rinsed and soaked in water overnight
    • 1/2 lb. thick-cut bacon, finely diced
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 2 c. water
    • 3 T. tomato paste
    • 1/4 c. BBQ sauce
    • 3 T. molasses
    • 1 T. brown sugar
    • 1 t. apple cider vinegar
    • 2 t. Dijon mustard
    • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. Sort and wash the dried beans picking out small stones or other debris.
    2. Discard any beans that are shriveled. Rinse in a colander with cool water.
    3. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water to a height double that of the beans as they will double in size as they soak.  Let soak overnight in the refrigerator. 
    4. In the morning drain the beans.
    5. Spread the bacon on the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the beans on top of the bacon. Add the onions and cherry tomatoes on top of the beans. Do not stir. 
    6. In a medium bowl, whisk the water, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, molasses, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard until smooth. Pour over the beans but do not stir. 
    7. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beans are tender and creamy. Once finished, give everything a good stir. Taste and season the beans with salt and pepper to taste. 

    Notes

    This smoky beans dish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, you can freeze it.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 867mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 16gProtein: 17g

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