Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans

Smoked paprika gives these cowboy beans a deep, woodsy flavor, but can you guess the secret ingredient?Summer is for entertaining, and when the crew gathers at my home,  I think about making a BIG pot of beans.  After all, they’re delicious, go with just about anything I dish up, are budget friendly, and usually help me uphold my reputation of putting out the healthiest of spreads! But then I remember the downside,  they take so darn  long to cook and when it’s 90+ degrees outside, I ask myself, “Do I really want to turn on the oven?”   After reading this month’s Recipe Redux theme:

Beat the Heat with the Slow Cooker /Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker   

I’m ready to prepare that pot o’ beans sans the oven, because any recipe that requires a prolonged cooking time has slow cooker potential! My original recipe, requiring 2 1/2 hours of baking time, now sounds promising.    Not only did I tinker  with the cooking method, I also made the recipe vegan using smoked paprika for a smokey taste without bacon.  It’s a little sweet and a little spicy with a secret ingredient that  unifies all the  earthy flavors ; can you guess the  ingredient? (Insert sound of drum roll please.)  A of a mug of black coffee left over from my morning pot. Surprised?

This side is not only delicious and easy to make without heating up the kitchen,  it’s also low in fat, high in protein, high in fiber and delivers 15% DV* of calcium , 25 % DV* iron.

Get out your slow cookers today and discover more ideas from my colleagues in the links below for delicious, healthy recipes to beat the heat.

*Daily Value based on a 2000 calorie diet.



Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Keywords: slow-cooker side vegan summer

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 pound dried pinto or navy beans, washed and picked clean of debris
  • 10 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce+2 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • dash of hot sauce
  • ground black pepper


1. Soak beans in 6 cups of water overnight. Drain beans.

2. In a Dutchoven add oil and stir in onions ; cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes until beginning to brown. Add garlic, and cook for 30 additional minutes.

3. Add beans,water, coffee, . Bring to simmer over high heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add brown sugar, mustard , 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, hot sauce and salt. Return to boil over high heat.

4. Remove from heat and pour contents of Dutch oven into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 6 hours. Add smoked paprika last 30 minutes of cooking. Before serving stir in remaining barbecue sauce, season to taste with black pepper. (Beans can be refrigerator in an airtight container for several days.)

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Roasted Cauliflower Rice with Sweet Peas

The convenience and versatility of Libby’s® Sweet Peas makes them the star in this easy to make side that goes as well with meat and chicken as it does with  fish and plant proteins.Riced Cauliflower with Sweet Peas

Disclosure: I received free samples of Libby’s® Fruits & Vegetables mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s® Fruits & Vegetables and I am eligible  to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

What’s old is new again. It holds true for clothing, furniture and now even food!   Today’s hippest food dates all the way back to 1886 when Libby’s® Fruits and Vegetables first began delivering high quality, wholesome products to kitchens. Now more more than ever, consumers want convenience and versatility; Libby’s® canned fruits and vegetables deliver both and are helping busy families get fast, nutritious meals on the table without sacrificing flavor. No wonder it’s on-trend.

 Add  in pine nuts, fresh basil, and taste of lemon.  (I know I’m making you hungry.) The result is a wholesome plant based side with a garden fresh taste made in under 30 minutes!    On the day I prepared this, I served it  warm along with grilled kebabs (chicken and tempeh).  The following  day I served it cold (picnic style) with an accompanying sandwich.  Roasted Cauliflower Rice with Sweet Peas is a satisfying side that helps fill you up with a generous amount of fiber (6 grams to be exact). It also packs in  a healthy dose of vitamin C  (60% the daily value based on a 2000 calorie diet). Let Libby’s® Fruits and Vegetables be your ticket to getting nutritious and delicious  foods to your contemporary table fast. For more information on all of Libby’s® Fruits & Vegetable products be sure to visit www.getbacktothetable.

Roasted Cauliflower Rice with Sweet Peas

by Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 10 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) riced cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 15 ounce can Libby’s® Sweet Peas, drained
  • 1/4 cup toasted Pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Toss the riced cauliflower with canola oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice until golden brown. Allow to cool .

3. Just before serving, transfer cauliflower to a serving bowl and add the Libby’s Sweet Peas, pine nuts, fresh basil and lemon juice. Gently toss together and serve immediately.

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