Think Beans for Your Vegetarian Thanksgiving Guests

These days, there is no shortage of options for the vegetarian guests at your Thanksgiving feast. Prepared veggie roasts are easy and increasingly popular. For homemade flavor, a baked stuffed squash creates a festive centerpiece. But for a taste of tradition, consider a dish built around beans. A close cousin to the kidney beans we know today probably appeared at the first Thanksgiving since they were regular fare for Native Americans.

This recipe does double duty since it also includes sweet potatoes. And because you can make it a day or two ahead of time (which actually improves the flavors) it lightens the workload on Thanksgiving Day.


Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans and Sweet Potatoes

1 pound kidney beans, soaked in water to cover for at least four hours and drained
1 quart water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or to taste)
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 –inch chunks

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Combine the drained beans and the quart of water and simmer for an hour until the beans are partially cooked.

Saute onion in olive oil until tender. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Stir the onion and garlic into the beans. Add the tomato paste, sugar and chipotle powder. Add salt to taste. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Transfer to a casserole dish and baked for one hour until sweet potatoes are tender.