BAKED BEANS AND GREENS CASSEROLE
Fresh collard greens and onion mixed with canned baked beans flavored with tomato sauce, soy bacon bits, brown sugar, Balsamic vinegar and thyme. Baked till bubbly with a Panko crumb and smoked almond crumble topping!
Serves 12-16 on a buffet, or 8 very large main dish servings
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 bunches fresh collard greens, washed well; cut out each stalk, running up into the center of each leaf, running a knife along each side of the vein
2, 28 oz. cans Vegetarian Beans
4 sm. yellow onions, peeled and diced, 3/8 inch squares
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 t. liquid smoke
1/3 c. light brown sugar
¼ c. Balsamic vinegar
2 t. dry mustard
2 T. soy bacon bits
½ t. dried thyme, crushed
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
lots of fresh cracked black pepper
1 t. sea salt
2 T. walnut oil
1/3 c. Panko crumbs
½ t. walnut oil
½ c. smoked almond crumbles (Process 2 c. whole smoked almonds in food processor till fine. Continue processing till crumbles just begin to clump up. Transfer to covered jar and place in pantry. Use ½ cup for this recipe.)
Place whole collard green leaves, minus their stems/veins, in large pot of boiling water. Cook till tender but still whole and bright dark green. Lift with tong to colander and drain. Set aside.
In extra large mixing bowl combine baked beans, onion, tomato sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, dry mustard, bacon bits, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and walnut oil. Mix to equally disperse ingredients.
Take greens and break into smaller pieces and add to beans. Don’t break them too small. Toss to equally distribute. Pour into 9 X 13 inch casserole dish. Smooth the top to make it even.
In small bowl combine Panko crumbs, oil and nut crumbles. Mix with clean fingers to thoroughly mix and coat all crumbs with the oil.
Evenly top the casserole with the crumbs.
Bake on middle rack of preheated 375 degree oven, uncovered, for 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Notes: Beans and greens make an outstanding combination in a casserole.
There are two types of canned Vegetarian Baked Beans that I’ve seen, ones made with brown sugar and others made in a light tomato sauce. I used the ones in the tomato sauce for this dish, but use either one.