These smoky vegan beans on toast make for a quick and hearty breakfast that’s super delicious. This recipe gives you deep, rich, smoky flavour using canned beans and with no baking necessary!
Okay, so after publishing last week’s vegan breakfast sandwich, it’s clear that I’m suddenly on a savoury breakfast kick. I have my year abroad in the UK to thank for introducing me to one of the best savoury breakfasts on earth: beans on toast (hey, mom, I actually learned something useful at university!).
It took several attempts to get this recipe just right. Who’d have thought that coming up with a recipe for something as simple as beans on toast could be so complicated?
If you check around the interwebs, as I did while looking for inspiration, you’ll quickly realize that most recipes for smoky beans on toast are the same: a tin of tomatoes simmered with paprika till thick, toss in the beans.
I tried it that way at first but found it lacked depth of flavour and a proper gravy-like sauce like you get out of a can of baked beans.
Then I remembered the great sauce that I made for my vegan mushroom stew. The recipe is simple, quick and does not skimp on flavour. For sure it’d be great with beans!
The secret is probably the red wine. Red wine makes everything better. If you’re afraid that this is a boozy beans on toast recipe, the alcohol is simmered off and you’re just left with the flavour. (If you’re disappointed that this is not a boozy beans on toast recipe, it goes great with a bloody mary).
Instead of a can of crushed tomatoes, I used a small can of tomato paste for a really thick gravy (and much healthier than the ketchup I saw called for in some other recipe!).
I find that tomato paste also adds enough sweetness for my taste so I didn’t add any sugar to these beans. A lot of other recipes call for maple syrup, which I think sounds like it would be good, I just don’t have any because it’s too expensive. Feel free to try it and let me know how it is!
Smoky Vegan Beans on Toast
- ½ medium onion diced - $0.16
- 3 cloves garlic minced - $0.24
- 1 can (170 grams / 6 oz) tomato paste - $0.99
- ½ cup (120 ml) red wine* - $1.27
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar - $0.12
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable stock, plus a couple splashes for the onions - $0.23
- 1 large can (570 grams / 20 oz) white beans drained and rinsed - $0.59
- ¾ teaspoon liquid smoke - $0.08
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce - $0.02
- 4 slices of toast - $0.49
- A sprinkling of whatever fresh herb you have on hand I used thyme
- Optional: if you want it sweeter a tablespoon or two of maple syrup or brown sugar. Salt if necessary.
- Heat a wide pan over medium-high heat and add the onion, garlic and a splash of stock (or water or oil). Simmer until the onion is tender then add the tomato paste and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, while stirring, for a minute or two until the tomato paste darkens in colour a bit.
- Add the red wine and vinegar and simmer for a minute to cook off the alcohol (sorry). Add the vegetable stock and beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is as thick as you like it and the beans are heated through.
- Remove from the heat and add the liquid smoke and soy sauce. Depending on how salty your stock is you may want to add a pinch of salt or a bit more soy sauce. You can also add some sweetener if you’d like.
- Serve the beans over toast and add a sprinkling of your favourite herb.
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