Every family has staple dishes that make an appearance without fail on specific special occasions. S’s mom always makes creamy, buttery, onion-y mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without date balls from my aunt. And a backyard cookout would have seemed empty without a big pot of baked beans during the summers of my childhood.
This take on baked beans is a divergence from the recipe I grew up eating. Iron-rich black-eyed peas stand in for the more traditional legumes, and a thick barbecue sauce lends tang. I highly recommend using the tempeh bacon bits, but they’re not strictly necessary.
BBQ Baked Black-Eyed Peas
For the tempeh bacon bits:
- 1/2 package tempeh, crumbled into pieces about 1/2″ thick
- 2 T low-sodium soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 T canola or vegetable oil + 1/2 T maple syrup (for cooking)
Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke in a container with an airtight lid. Add tempeh bits, close the container, and shake until all tempeh bits are coated in the marinade. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. (If you’re cooking your black-eyed peas from scratch instead of using canned, let the tempeh marinate while the peas cook.)
For the baked black-eyed peas:
- 4 cups cooked black-eyed peas (if using canned, rinse very thoroughly; if cooking from scratch, reserve the cooking liquid)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 1/2-2 C reserved cooking liquid or water
- 2 T blackstrap molasses
- 2 T maple syrup
- 1 T prepared yellow mustard
- 1 T vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp allspice
Preheat the oven to 350˚.
In a small pan, heat the tablespoon of canola oil. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, then add the diced onion. Sauté for another 5 minutes until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the crumbled marinated tempeh (marinade and all) to the pan. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the tempeh is browned and a bit caramelized. Turn off the heat and set aside.
In an 8-cup glass baking dish, whisk together the remaining ingredients (tomato paste through allspice). Add the black-eyed peas and stir into the sauce mixture, coating all the peas. If necessary, add additional cooking liquid/water to the sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Note: If you don’t have tomato paste, you could probably substitute a 15 oz. can of plain tomato sauce and reduce the amount of cooking liquid/water you use.
Black-eyed peas, tomato paste, and our old friend blackstrap molasses are all chock-full of iron—each serving of this dish offers 29% of the recommended daily value. (Most ingredient lists don’t measure iron in grams, so I’ll be going by percentages from here on out.) And you’ll also get 28% of your daily value of calcium, along with 7.5 grams of protein and whole lot of potassium. Not bad for a cookout dish!
What staple dishes does your family serve?