the taste space

Mango BBQ Beans

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Sides by janet @ the taste space on May 25, 2011


What’s in a label? Call something vegan and people assume it doesn’t taste any good. Somehow it will deprive them of something they “need”. (Me? Bitter? Much?)

This weekend, I was planning a menu since I was hosting guests. I initially thought my challenge was finding something I could make or reheat in a kitchen devoid of all my usual ingredients and utensils.

No, that was not my challenge.

“I don’t like vegan food,” said one guest.

Oh my gosh, what to do?!

I would obviously have to figure out a way to appeal to everyone’s palates with our limited kitchen possibilities.

If meat was somewhat prominent, perhaps a vegan dish could be stealthily incorporated into the menu.

In the end, we opted to use the barbecue for some quick meals with side dishes I made at home earlier.  We served barbecued wild boar sausages with a side of (vegan) coleslaw.  For dessert, we made mango shrikhand or simply unadorned Alphonso mangoes for those averse to yogurt.  The following day we went entirely vegan with mango BBQ beans, leftover coleslaw, cucumber slices wrapped inside a tortilla, or with a side of multigrain bread.

I heard the sausages were nice, but there were resounding compliments for the mango BBQ beans. Red kidney beans are simmered in a tomato sauce spiced with coriander, allspice, liquid smoke and mango. Smoky, sweet, zippy and saucy. A perfect combination for barbecue flavours. Don’t be fooled by the mango, though. It adds sweetness as opposed to authentic mango flavour, although some of the frozen mango chunks were still present within the sauce. While the original recipe from Appetite for Reduction calls for red kidney beans, I think pinto beans would be better next time. This way, it would be more similar to baked beans. Or black beans since they pair so well with mango.

The great thing about these beans, though, is that they are easy to whip up in advance. After an overnight sit, they tasted even better. Just reheat prior to serving and you’ve got some smokin’ mango BBQ beans! :)

I bit my tongue as my guest said these were one of the best baked beans she’s eaten. They were vegan and she knew that, too. I just won’t label anything in advance to ward off any undue prejudice. ;)

This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Smitha of Kannada Cuisine.

Mango BBQ Beans

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.25 cups mango (I used frozen chunks)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/4 tsp ground allspice (4 berries)
1 tsp ground coriander (freshly ground)
2x 19 oz canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 4 cups cooked beans) – black-eyed peas are also nice, I think pinto or black beans would work well, too, instead of the kidney beans
1 tsp liquid smoke
1-2 tbsp agave syrup, or to taste (I used 1 tbsp)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until translucent.

2. Add the mango, tomato sauce, broth, red pepper flakes, allspice, coriander, salt and kidney beans. Turn up the heat to a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should thicken and the mangoes should cook down a great deal.

3. Turn off the heat, mix in the agave nectar and liquid smoke, and let the beans sit for about 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness and more agave if needed. Adjust the salt and seasonings, and serve. Tastes even better as leftovers.

Serves 6.

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32 Responses

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  1. Deanne Jones said, on May 25, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    These sound amazing, I think I could win over a few ‘anti’ vegan friends with this.

  2. Caitlin said, on May 25, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    that is one recipe from afr that i haven’t tried yet, but am planning on doing so soon. i had the same thought as you- i am planning on making the bbq beans with black beans. black beans and mango make my mouth water..yumm. and your pictures inspire me to make it sooner rather than later ;)

    • Saveur said, on May 25, 2011 at 9:19 AM

      I totally agree with the black beans. In fact, I held off making the beans for a long time because I was out of black beans. When I finally bought them again, I looked at the recipe and was surprised to see it was for kidney beans! The sauce is what makes the dish, though… mmm… :)

  3. Sissi said, on May 25, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I am not a vegan, but must say this dish looks very seducing! I have never bought or used liquid smoke. Do you buy it in a normal supermarket? Organic food shop?
    Even as an omnivore I often have problems with my guests’ food habits, restrictions, dislikes… Once I had at the same dinner a pregnant friend (who was afraid of eating raw vegetables, didn’t have most of the cheese types, cured hams, etc.), a friend allergic to alcohol, who disliked every type of meat apart from chicken and their husbands; no one liked vegetarian dishes, men hated tofu, half of us loved drinking good wine and cocktails, the other half couldn’t drink alcohol, not to mention individual vegetable dislikes… I was really in trouble… Barbecue would have been great, but I don’t have a garden ;-)

    • Saveur said, on May 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Hey Sissi, Wow – that sounds like quite the challenge. I guess in a case like that, you really need to make a bunch of dishes and serve it buffet-style, eh? More work, though… I much prefer to make one-pot meals since it is easier but alas…

      Liquid smoke is great! I found it in my normal grocery store although I had to ask where it was. I used Mesquite flavoring, but I think it also comes in Hickory. It sounds so artificial, but it really isn’t. Almost like bottled smoke. It adds a lovely flavour and this dish wouldn’t be complete without it, unfortunately. I am hoping to find more ways to use liquid smoke, because it was great. :)

      • Sissi said, on May 25, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        Thank you for answering! I will look for liquid smoke (I have read about it I think in Heston Blumenthal’s book and thought it’s possible to get only in the shops for restaurants etc.).
        Actually, even thought it’s more work, I have been doing more and more finger food/buffet style dinners. Everyone can pick whatever he/she wants. I also have some close friends, who dislike lots of Asian cuisine (and Chinese, Thai or Japanese is most of what I cook every day…), so this way everyone is happy. And if we sit in the living room, on the couch or in the armchair, the atmosphere is also “cooler” than at the dining table.

  4. Smitha said, on May 25, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Janet,

    Thanks for this cool recipe. Mangoes and beans never quite thought of it. Looks like it is gonna be a big hit!

    Keep them coming.
    Smitha @kannadacuisine

  5. Joanne said, on May 25, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    People tend to be so closeminded about such things! And if they didn’t already know it was vegan…they probably wouldn’t notice. These bbq baked beans sound fantastic…again. LOVE the mango infusion!

  6. Priya said, on May 25, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Fantastic dish, quite new for me..simply irresistible..

  7. Maria @ Scandifoodie said, on May 25, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    I love the idea of using mango in this dish, sounds so tasty!

  8. FoodFitnessFreshair said, on May 25, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    I’m impressed with all of the recipes on your blog! I love all of these innovative creations you’ve got cooking up. This one sounds great. I do a lot of bean dishes, and it’s always those surprising ingredients, like mango, that make them special and worth repeating. And vegan can always steal the show if it’s simply boosted with the right flavor.

  9. Alyson said, on May 25, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    It’s funny how the word vegan scares people, isn’t it? And yet so much of what we eat is vegan, we just don’t label it that way.

    Anyway, this looks amazing. I have mangos and dried beans… perhaps this will be my weekend project!

  10. ericascime said, on May 28, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Ugh, people like that test my patience. But how satisfying it is when they, knowingly or unknowingly, praise your vegan/vegetarian food! Those beans, by the way, sound incredible and unlike anything I have heard of! I will most definitely be making them!

  11. Cara said, on June 3, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    I have to admit, baked beans are never what I gravitate towards at a bbq – but I’m totally craving these now!(yes, at 8:30am, in my office, not at a bbq.)

  12. [...] we shared some Alphonso mangoes, ala mango shrikhand, she was hooked. Granted, Alphonsos are hard to find, [...]

  13. [...] in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by Saveur on June 24, 2011 I swear, I don’t eat mangoes every day (Rob could take that honour for the past few weeks, though). It may seem like it, though, since [...]

  14. [...] to help by making a veritable feast for everyone helping with the move. Everyone raved about the Mango BBQ Beans which were better this time with black eyed peas, and as usual my mom made a nice buttermilk-based [...]

  15. Ashley said, on July 4, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    After your glowing review of these beans, they are on my “to make soon” list! :) It’s too bad that people get stuck on the label “vegan”.

  16. [...] a fruit salad, it can go unnoticed. Or shunned when it takes centre stage. I enjoy combining fruit into savoury dishes, and my curiosity was piqued when some friends recommended the bulgur and cantaloupe [...]

  17. [...] ooky sweet ketchup baked beans. I’ve already done the non-traditional, but uber delicious Mango BBQ Beans (not baked but the stovetop preparation makes this much more summer friendly!). I am talking [...]

  18. Lori said, on July 28, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    How silly ( I am sorry to offend anyone here) to say I dont like vegan food. What exactly does that mean? You dont like vegetables, beans an d like a million other things that are not meat/animal related? I am a meat eater but I would never say that. Short sighted in my opinion. Prejudice is never good, even when it comes to food.

    Okay I am done with my rant. I am so loving this idea here. I absolutely have to try this.

    • Saveur said, on July 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

      Lori, I am totally with you there! The comment made no sense to me, either, especially since I had been cooking vegan food (without the label, of course) for months with the same person… I blame it on stress.. funny comments, right? Anyways, sometimes they hurt, too.

  19. [...] biggest heat wave of the summer, no less, I actually try not to use the oven in the summer.  The Mango BBQ Beans, which appeared a few times this summer, were perfect because they were cooked on the stovetop. Why [...]

  20. [...] it is nice to revisit some new finds. My mom introduced me to black-eyed peas when she made them as Mango BBQ Beans. They were much nicer than the kidney beans. Small, yet meaty, they paired well with the sweet and [...]

  21. [...] Stew with Fennel – Braised Cabbage with Chorizo Seitan Sausage – Forty Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli – Mango BBQ Beans – Smoky Tempeh and Chard Stew – Yam and Black Bean Stew with Orange and Cilantro – Lettuce [...]

  22. [...] to be made with fancy mangoes. Tommy Atkins will work just fine, and frozen chunks, too. Like the Mango BBQ Beans, the mango in this curry melts into oblivion leaving its sweet remains behind. Distinct mango [...]

  23. Stephanie said, on June 2, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    I made this with pinto beans instead of kidney, like you suggested, and honey instead of agave… but I forgot to add the allspice! Do you put that in with the chili flakes and coriander? Thankfully it still turned out really, really good! Should I add the allspice when I reheat it?

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 3, 2012 at 10:06 PM

      Oops, sorry about forgetting to include the allspice in the directions… yes, it should be added with the chili flakes and coriander. I asy keep it out if you haven’t added it in yet, but try it next time to see how the taste differs! So glad to hear it was a success regardless. :)

  24. [...] Mango BBQ Beans Pumpkin Chili Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal Red Lentil and Lemon Soup [...]

  25. […] go-to baked bean recipe. I did not grow up with baked beans, so I keep trying out new versions. Mango BBQ Beans are one of my favourites, but I also enjoyed the robust Slow-Cooked Nova Scotian Baked Beans with […]

  26. Mango Chana Masala | the taste space said, on March 29, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    […] but used some frozen mangoes for this fun twist on chana masala. It kind of a combination of my Mango BBQ Beans combined with Indian flavours. While I have used amchoor powder (raw mango powder) to make a nice […]


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