Chef Folse's Lite Up the 4th of July Smoky Baked Beans

Chef Folse's Lite Up the 4th of July Smoky Baked Beans

Prep Time: 2½ Hours

Yields: 12 Servings


When you hear the term baked beans, immediately your mind reflects on a luscious, rich and flavorful bean dish simmered for hours in a multitude of ingredients. This dish, associated with holidays and family cookouts, can mimic all of these great flavors while still being healthier than the usual version. Try our "lite up the 4th" version, which is indeed a palate pleaser without all of the fat and calories.


1 pound dried Pinto or Great Northern beans

1 cup diced turkey tasso

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cups diced onions

8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

4 cups water

2 tbsps chopped oregano

2 tbsps chopped thyme

1½ tsps salt

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp paprika

2 bay leaves

2 tbsps brown sugar

3 tbsps no-salt-added tomato paste

3 tbsps molasses

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2½ tbsps red wine vinegar

¼ tsp black pepper

⅛ tsp ground red pepper

½ cup thinly sliced green onions

2 tbsps chopped parsley


In a medium colander, rinse beans under cold running water. Place beans in a Dutch oven and cover with 2 inches of water. Cover with lid and let stand 8 hours. Drain and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey tasso and cook 2–3 minutes, stirring often. Add diced onions and sliced garlic then sauté 5–7 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add beans, water, oregano, thyme, salt, cumin, paprikas and bay leaves, stirring to mix well. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook 45 minutes or until beans are just tender, stirring occasionally. While beans are cooking, preheat oven to 350°F. Add brown sugar, tomato paste, molasses and red pepper flakes into bean mixture then return to simmer, stirring often. Cover with lid and bake 1½ hours or until beans are tender and sauce is thick. Remove from oven. Stir in red wine vinegar, black pepper, ground red pepper, green onions and parsley. Remove bay leaves and discard. Serve hot.