Beans are full of health benefits — they're one of the best sources of both fiber and protein, to start with. But beans can get quite bland pretty quickly, so, if you want to keep them as a regular part of your diet, then you'll need to have some exciting bean recipes on hand to keep your appetite interested. Enter Tasting Table's recipe for slow cooker baked beans, developed by Erin Johnson, which are far from bland.
One of the reasons that this baked beans recipe is so good is because Johnson included a secret ingredient: gochujang. For those of you who are unfamiliar, gochujang is a Korean red chili paste, thick and sticky in texture, also consisting of fermented soybeans. As for the flavor, it's spicy, first and foremost — the spiciness level can range from medium hot to extremely spicy, so it's best to tread with caution if you have a low spice tolerance. Along with the spiciness, there's also notes of earthiness, umami, and even some sweetness.
Gochujang takes the slow cooker baked beans to the next level. Johnson said, "[It] just adds a depth of flavor... It's my favorite way to add heat without overwhelming the dish." Plus, the flavor of gochujang is so dynamic that a little goes a long way; the recipe calls for just one teaspoon.
Read more: Styles Of Regional BBQ In The US
How To Serve Slow Cooker Baked Beans With Gochujang
This baked beans recipe is so flavorful that you can definitely enjoy it all on its own — make sure to season with salt and pepper once the dish is out of the slow cooker. If you want even more spiciness, Johnson suggests adding even more gochujang, to taste (or opting for crushed red pepper).
If you're looking to make it into a heartier meal, you could serve the beans over rice — both white rice and brown rice would work well. You could serve the baked beans with a toasted piece of bread with butter — maybe a baguette or a piece of sourdough — to help offset the spiciness from the gochujang. Or, taking the bread idea a step further, one of the best pairings with baked beans is cornbread — such as Tasting Table's honey sweet potato cornbread for a sweet yet savory dish to balance out the spiciness of the beans.
While the slow cooker baked beans can easily be the star of the show, it also works well as a side dish. You can serve it on the side of a meat dish, such as grilled chicken or pulled pork (either on its own or in a sandwich). And speaking of sandwiches, it's the perfect side for a gooey, delicious grilled cheese.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.