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Boston Baked Beans with Pulled Jackfruit

Boston Baked Beans with Pulled Jackfruit

Well, this is the first time I’ve created a recipe because I found an awesome pot at a resale shop but I don’t think it’ll be the last time. For those of us who like to cook and are also dedicated thrifters, though, I guess this marriage of the two makes perfect sense. Originally thinking that this $3.00 score would be the perfect vessel for fermenting kimchi (and it probably still will be utilized that way), when I read the bottom of the pot, it was identified as an Original Boston Baked Bean Pot (retails for $50.00, yo, because I know you wanted to know) so that got me thinking. Hmm...baked beans. I just couldn’t think of a way to make that sexy, though. When I researched authentic Boston baked beans, however, I learned that they are typically made with pulled pork or bacon and I just so happened to have a can of my favorite replacement for pulled pork: jackfruit. You can find canned jackfruit in well-stocked Asian or ethnic grocery stores. (You can also buy whole jackfruits in ethnic markets but they are much more difficult to work with, trust me, and they won’t shred as well.) With neutral-tasting jackfruit that has been packed in water or brine (as opposed to syrup, which you do not want in this instance), you can pull it apart and it shreds just like (I imagine) pulled pork. No suffering or violence, though, and jackfruit is a great option for those of us who are eating low soy or gluten-free. Inexpensive and easy to make as well as protein-rich, now we’re talking sexy Boston baked beans.

Slow-cooked over low-heat in an aromatic, rich and molasses-y sauce, the beans, jackfruit and onions will soften and become something almost like a confit together. Enjoy with bright green vegetables and grains in the winter or as something delicious to bring to a summer cookout. If you haven’t yet happened to stumble on a bean pot in your thrifting expeditions, this can also be easily baked in a 2 1/2 quart Dutch oven or casserole pan with fitted lid. This needs to cook for a long time, so consider it a weekend indulgence.

Boston Baked Beans with Pulled Jackfruit
Makes 5-7 servings

1 lb. dried navy beans, soaked in cold water overnight and drained and rinsed
1 sweet yellow onion, cut in half moons
20 oz. can young green jackfruit, packed in water or brine, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 T. ketchup
2 t. dry mustard
3 t. salt
1 t. or more pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Prepare your onions and shred your jackfruit. I pulled it apart with my fingers, though toward the middle of the jackfruit is a tougher center, so I shredded that part with a knife.

In a 2 1/2 quart terra cotta bean pot, Dutch oven or casserole pan with lid, put down half your sliced onions. Over the onions, place half the shredded jackfruit. Place half of the soaked beans over that and place your bay leaves here. Repeat with a layer of onions (reserving a few for the top), the rest of the jackfruit, and the rest of the beans. Place the last of your onions on top of this.

Meanwhile, cook together the vegetable stock, molasses, maple syrup, ketchup, dry mustard, salt, pepper over medium-high heat until it’s at a low boil, about 6 - 8 minutes. Carefully pour over the bean mixture, making sure that the liquid is about 1/2 an inch over the beans. If you have extra left over, reserve it for the cooking. If there is not enough, add hot water until it covers the beans by 1/2 inch. Cover and cook.

Check the pot every hour or so to see if you need more liquid. Things should stay soupy but not drenched. If you need more liquid, heat up any reserved molasses liquid or use hot water and pour over the top. Cook for five hours, then remove the lid and cook one last hour. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

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