Most baked bean recipes start off with a little bit of bacon or fatback. To capture that smokiness without the saturated fat, we’ve added a touch of liquid smoke instead.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (19 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke seasoning


1 Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large nonstick ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

2 Stir in the beans, tomatoes, orange zest, water, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, ginger, salt, and liquid smoke, and bring to a boil.

3 Cover, place in the oven, and bake until the beans are richly flavored, about 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until the mixture is thick and the beans are very soft, about 10 minutes Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts

per serving: calories 250, total fat 3.3g, saturated fat 0.5g, cholesterol 0mg, dietary fiber 11g, carbohydrate 48g, protein 10g, sodium 528mg

good source of: fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C


Liquid smoke is a seasoning made from water and concentrated smoke. A small amount of liquid smoke adds a flavor that mimics that found in smoked meats, so you can give a traditional taste to dishes such as split pea soup, braised greens, and baked beans without using any fatty meat. The most common liquid smoke is made from hickory, but other woods are available, such as mesquite.

If you are concerned about sodium levels, be sure to read this before preparing this recipe: Sodium Intake and Salt in Recipes

From The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for Weight Loss, edited by Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D. and Lora Brown Wilder, Sc.D., M.S., R.D.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 11 Oct 2011

Last Modified: 30 Mar 2015