My mother’s Baked Bean Casserole is my go-to dish when I’m asked to “bring a side,” and I’m always asked to share the recipe.
Whether you call it a hot dish, a bake or a casserole, we can all agree that this Baked Bean Casserole recipe is Southern comfort food at its very best and it’s one that you will most certainly pass on.
This casserole is my designated covered dish as I have taken it to most of the cookouts that I have been invited to.
It is popular among all ages and it goes great with just about any meat including barbecue, chicken, steak and even fried seafood. It never fails, there is always someone who asks me for the recipe. It is also great for a one-dish dinner.
I will never forget about 20 years ago when my family was invited to a cookout with friends. The hosts were grilling burgers, and everyone was asked to bring a side dish or dessert. But the hosts specifically requested that my mother make her Baked Bean Casserole. On our way, we picked up my aunt and uncle.
My Uncle Bob sat in the back holding my mom’s casserole on his lap. Once we arrived, he hopped out of the car, turned to use his elbow to shut the door and by accident slung the casserole against the car as the momentum of his upper torso shut the door. There were beans all over the side of the vehicle.
The disappointment from the partygoers was evident as they knew they were not going to get any Baked Bean Casserole, but the complete comedy of the entire situation was also in full display by the belly laughs. Uncle Bob was mortified, but the bit of beans that remained were gently placed in a container like some sort of precious gold and gobbled up before the buffet table was even open.
The original recipe my mother passed on to me calls for fewer lima beans because she is not as fond of them. Feel free to reduce the lima beans or even the kidney beans if you don’t like them as much. The recipe calls for dark kidney beans, but you can certainly use light kidney beans instead. You can also incorporate sautéed green peppers with the onions, but my son does not like green peppers so typically I leave those out. I have even substituted ketchup when I was out of tomato paste, and the flavor was just as delicious.
This casserole is one I make time and time again, and I think you will also.
Not only do I frequently make this for covererd-dish gatherings but the leftovers (if there are any) make for a great lunch or dinner all by itself. Please pass on the recipe as I am sure your friends and family will request it.
Photography by James Stefiuk