Our version of baked beans adds the goodness of barley, and the surprising subtle sweetness of prunes, for a high-fibre, low-fat favourite.

Allow a whole day to simmer in the slow cooker. Different beans and storing conditions may require more than the suggested cooking time. If necessary, add boiling water to moisten, so as not to reduce the temperature in the slow cooker.


  • 1 tsp (5 mL) canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) pearl or pot barley
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dried navy or great northern beans
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) dried romano or kidney beans
  • 4 cups (1 L) less-sodium vegetable or beef broth
  • 2 cans (14 oz / 398 mL each) less-sodium tomato sauce
  • ½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup (125 mL) chopped pitted prunes
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water
  • Additional boiling water, if required

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil; add garlic, celery, carrots and onion and sauté until onions are softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour this mixture into a 16 cup (4 L) slow cooker. Stir in barley, beans, broth, tomato sauce, brown sugar, prunes, mustard, cumin, cayenne and boiling water.

Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Check halfway through cooking time. If mixture is not completely covered with liquid, add boiling water to cover and stir briefly. After 6 hours, beans should be softened and flavourful. Additional cooking time may be necessary.

Makes 12 servings (1 cup / 250 mL each).

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 239; Protein: 9 g; Carbohydrate: 50 g; Fibre: 10 g; Sugars: 17 g; Fat: 1 g; Saturated Fat: 0.1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 109 mg; Potassium: 485 mg