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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ranch Style Beans for Haystacks

If you’d like to make your own beans for haystacks instead of relying on those giant cans of Ranch-Style beans, here is a version of a Texas version of Ranch beans. I tried it out, made a few adjustments and today we gave it a try.  You can make huge amounts of beans with an army of crockpots and Dutch ovens or large pots. The recipe takes patience because of the need to slow cook the beans, but it’s a good dish to prepare on Friday for the Sabbath potluck.  If, like me you have massive stores of pinto beans, you can say, “I’ll bring the beans,” and not be taking the easy way out or feel guilty that you aren’t doing your part.


  • Medium bag of Pinto Beans
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 small can mild Rotel ® tomatoes and chiles
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1 diced red, yellow, orange or green bell pepper
  • 15 oz. can of tomatoes (or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 oz imitation Bacon Bits
  • Crockpot
  • Large pot or Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet
  • Measuring cups and spoons

  1. Soak beans overnight. Some add baking soda to the water. Be sure you have enough water because the beans soak up a lot of water.
  2. Next morning drain and rinse the beans and put into crockpot with salt.
  3. Cook on low for four hours
  4. In pot, Dutch oven, or cast-iron skillet add oil, onions and peppers and sauté at medium heat. Add imitation bacon-bits or Loma Linda ® Worthington® vege-burger or Morningstar Recipe Crumbles® and cook till softened or browned.
  5. Add can of diced tomatoes, heat and add warm water and all spices, sugar and vinegar.
  6. Depending on your taste you can do one of two things. You can puree the spice, vegeburger and vegetables mix or leave it as it is which will give you a little more texture to your sauce.
  7. When the pinto beans are done, drain and rinse them and add to the pot with the vegetable, tomato and burger sauce.
  8. Gently heat and simmer in the crockpot on low for an hour or two till the beans absorb all the flavors. Stir occasionally until the beans are as thick as you prefer.

Serving Suggestions:

If you have a crockpot that has a removable ceramic pot, simply lift it out with the beans when you are ready to carry them to church. I just take the whole crockpot so that I can plug it in to heat the beans during the service and it’s ready to go by lunchtime. It makes more room in the warming oven that way.

There are as many ways to prepare the beans for haystacks as there are things to put on haystacks. Check here for the haystack recipe, but remember. Both of these recipes are starting places. I’ve eaten haystacks with canned baked beans, refried beans and even black beans that some militant vegan thought would be a good idea. It wasn’t bad.

The thing is, it’s hard to go wrong with all that lettuce, tomato, cheese, salad dressing and corn chips or tortilla chips (depending on your religious belief visa-vie the whole Fritos-versus-tortilla-chips issue). I’ve seen it done with goat cheese, tofu, soy cheese and no cheese at all. I’m a cheddar kind of guy myself. That said, I didn’t balk when the guy brought a can of nacho cheese sauce to potluck for the haystacks. Haystacks, like Jesus, accept what you come with and are very forgiving.

Just sayin’

© 2017 by Tom King 

1 comment:

  1. Love Haystaks, and I enjoy your commentary! Thank you for sharing some new ideas for preparing an old favorite.