Healthy Recipes

Smoky Beans and Polenta

I grew up actively avoiding baked beans. They were almost always at any family get-together but I was an avid bean hater (which is funny given how much I love them now). While I still don’t really eat baked beans, I love the idea behind them. Warm, smoky beans paired with salty bacon- it’s hard to go wrong. This is why I love these smoky beans so much. I took the idea behind Laura’s coconut bacon and used the flavor in these beans. Using smoked salt really brings the flavor together and this dish might just be my new favorite comfort bowl.

Smoky Beans and Polenta

Smoky Beans and Polenta | Naturally Ella

Vegetarian comfort food at it’s finest: creamy smoky beans paired with polenta.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cups cooked kidney or Jacob’s cattle beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked salt
  • Polenta, for serving
  • Scallion greens, for serving
  • Black pepper, for serving


  • Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil followed by the minced shallot. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shallot is fragrant and translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients, through the smoked salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. The beans should be hot and the sauce thick. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water as needed. Taste and add a pinch more smoked salt as needed.
  • Divide the polenta into four bowls and top with the smoky beans, chopped scallion greens, and a grind or two of black pepper.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 303 Calories from fat
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.4 5%
Saturated Fat .5 3%
Sodium 328 14%
Carbohydrate 57.5 19%
Dietary Fiber 9.5 38%
Sugars 4.9
Protein 11.1

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g

Smoky Beans


To be truthful, I ate the beans by themselves for lunch. No polenta, no grains: just beans. That’s how good these are. However, there’s a few ways you can use these beans to make a meal:

Grains: If you want a speedier meal, swap the polenta for precooked grains or easy-to-cook grains like quinoa or millet.

Vegetables: Serve these beans with grilled or roasted vegetables. A few ideas: roasted cauliflower, grilled zucchini, or even these garlicky greens.

Chili: On my list to make this winter is a chili with these flavors. Try adding a bit more of a tomato base and throw in some bulgur to bulk it up.

Smoky Beans and Polenta using Jacob's Cattle Beans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *