Baked beans are a staple in most, if not all, British households. And why not? They’re so versatile, nutritious, easy to grab and heat in a flash. Where there is a tin of baked beans, there is a meal.
Easy though they are, they are far from perfect when it comes to sugar and salt. With even the lighter ranges still containing a pretty startling amount, usually 30% of the RDA in salt and 20% in sugar per single can!
The UK is the biggest bean eating nation in the world.
More than 1.5 million cans of Heinz Beanz are sold each day.
There were 897 million Heinz Baked Bean consumption occasions over the last year.
It would take 5000 Boeing 747’s to hold the 2 million people who eat baked beans each day.
The UK gets through two thousand tonnes of baked beans every year.
The 54 acre factory in Wigan, is the largest food processing plant in Europe, and they make an average of three million cans of Baked Beans in 24 hours.
One can of Heinz baked beans is sold in the UK every 17 seconds.
Sales of baked beans run at £250million a year.
Now thats just the Heinz figures! I never buy Heinz, and I buy a lot of beans – supermarket own brand, my favourite actually being Tesco Value! So those figures are just a small snippet of the reality of the Brit love for tinned Baked Beans.
Baked beans in cans are not actually baked at all, nor are they laden with molasses and bacon which is the traditional American style of baked beans. They are steamed both before and after canning at high pressure with a secret blend of spices. My recipe is inspired by the American baked beans which are actually baked, and the subtly spiced, tomatoey concoction which we know and love in those cans.
Homemade beans might take a little longer, but they are jam packed with extra nutrients and delicious flavours. Plus, they only take 10 minutes to prepare and the rest is simply waiting for them to bake in the oven. Simple, fast and scrumptious – the Bunny Kitchen way!
One of the time saving secrets to this recipe is the use of a food processor so there is no chopping in sight. I was sent a Ninja Complete Kitchen System with Nutri Ninja to sample and it made light work of this dish indeed!
It’s an impressive all in one system with one base that houses and operates a High Performance Blender, a Precision Processor plus the Nutri Ninja nutrient extractor.
I have a fantastic blender and a fairly decent food processor already but have been intrigued by nutrient extractors for a long time after many a night waking to the sound of sales adverts on the TV!
For the price, around £219.99, the blender is good, but it will never replace my trusty Froothie for blending super smooth to perfection every time. However, if I had paid for it, I would have been happy with it. I used it over a couple of months and it performs just as well today as the first use – one issue I’ve experienced with umpteen brands of blender, they are amazing for a week and then start to slowly die and struggle. Not this one.
It will take on nuts and seeds to make smooth sauces and milks but it just takes a bit longer and isn’t quite as smooth as a more expensive super powered blender. But that is to be expected. For it’s price range, it is impressive without a doubt. The highlight must be the 6 Blade Assembly which makes the need for scraping the sides of the jug disappear and it helps to break down all those solid ingredients that can so often get jammed at the top of the jug, just begging for the blades to catch it. For me, this is usually onions which I lazily chuck in whole or maybe halved if I’m feeling energetic. My tomato sauce will be beautifully smooth in the blender but with this lump of onion that just didn’t allow the centripetal force to swallow it into the vortex. Not with the Nutri Ninja blender, as the high positioned blades grab everything in their path. So, I guess I now have my new favourite pasta and curry sauce machine sorted then…
The design is modern, classy and sturdy.
The processor alone makes the kit worth the money. The unique blade formation with an impressive 4 Blade Assembly makes the machine a real buddy in the kitchen. It just gets the job done. No standing over the machine which is starting to burn up from needing to run so long to get the desired result, constant side scraping and catching it just in time before it jumps to it’s death from vibrating across the worktop.
Just set it using one of the perfectly tuned Auto-iQ programmes and leave it alone. Precision Processing chops vegetables quickly and evenly without turning them to mush or chopping unevenly. The handy interchangeable dough blade makes kneading bread a breeze without bringing out the ‘heavy machinery’, as Nigella would say.
Interestingly, one of my favourite things about this kit is that it doesn’t come with tens of accessories which ultimately get stuffed in the back of a cupboard to fester. The grater attachment comes in handy but the whippers and others which I have never identified a use for, are just a waste of plastic. Hands up whose still got accessories from multiple no longer existing appliances?
Finally, the Nutri Ninja nutrient extractor. This was the most exciting function for me to try, having heard so much about these little machines. Now, I’m a little confused by them if I’m honest. They’re called Nutrient Extractors and product descriptions talk of the power to create ‘Nutrient and Vitamin drinks in seconds’. But isn’t it just a mini blender? What is different? If you put the same ingredients in a full size blender, is that not using the same nutrient extraction to create Nutrient and Vitamin drinks? Is there a difference, nutritionally or otherwise between a smoothie made in a blender and one made in a nutrient extractor? If anyone can help me here, please do! I’m dying to know!
Regardless, it was certainly fabulous for making a smoothie for one and the Sip and Seal cups are so convenient. Frozen strawberries, almond milk and vanilla…. Deeelicious!
Now for some fibre, potassium and iron rich, proper baked beans.
Ingredients: Serves 4
- 2 cans cannellini beans
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or Tamari for Gluten Free version)
- 1.5 tbsp unrefined brown sugar (or alternative)
- 1/4 tsp salt and ground black pepper
- Drain and rinse the beans and add to a medium saucepan.
- Add all the remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Add the sauce to the beans in the pan and place over a medium heat.
- Preheat the oven to 200’C/400’F and have a baking dish ready.
- Bring the beans to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
- Pour into the baking dish and place in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the beans are golden and bubbling.