Everyone knows that July 4th is prime cookout time. Most likely it’s because of the desire to enjoy the holiday without being confined to a sweltering kitchen on what is usually a sweltering day. Hanging out with family and friends, a cool drink in hand, watching someone else assume the role of head chef isn’t a bad reason either.
Then, of course, there’s the food. Most people will tell you that July 4th is all about the meat, whether it’s traditional burgers and hot dogs or longer cooking options such as ribs, various cuts of steak, and even beer can chicken. And to a large extent, they’re right. Grilling meat outdoors over an open flame just seems to go with the idea of exploding fireworks.
But the holiday is also a time to enjoy certain iconic side dishes that any vegetarian would love. Whether it’s grilled asparagus or corn slathered with an herb-infused butter, creamy potato salads and veggie slaws, or skewers of zucchini, onions and cherry tomatoes, the abundance of seasonal vegetables means that plant-derived fare can easily share the plate with the more primal parts of the July 4th menu. Even fruit gets some well deserved attention in the form of pies, cobblers, and tarts.
One side dish that I particularly crave this time of year is barbecue beans. You know what I’m talking about. Buttery soft beans suspended in a tangy barbecue sauce with just a hint of heat. It’s the perfect accompaniment to all types of grilled meats.
But making this perfect side can be time-consuming. You need to soak the beans, usually overnight. Then you need to cook the beans, first by themselves in water to soften them and then again in barbecue sauce to give them flavor. The entire process can take anywhere from a few hours to nearly an entire day!
Some purists may appreciate that level of effort, but not me. My goal is to achieve maximum taste with minimal effort. That’s why I love the recipe for barbecued beans that I’m sharing with you today. It relies entirely on pantry staples and requires minimal labor: canned pinto beans that have been drained and rinsed are added to a saucepan containing a mixture of ketchup, vinegar, molasses and spices, and then the contents of the pan are simmered for 10-15 minutes to bring the beans up to temperature and allow the flavors to blend.
Looking for a healthy and delicious July 4th side dish that appeals to vegetarians and carnivores alike? Done!
Easy Barbecue Beans
1 29-ounce (822 grams) can of pinto beans
1 recipe Easy Barbecue Sauce (about 1¾ cups)
Drain and rinse the beans in a colander under plenty of running water. Add the rinsed beans to a medium size sauce pan together with the barbecue sauce. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil and then reduce the heat until the beans are simmering. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the beans are heated through. Serve.
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