Featured Recipe: Crunchy Apple Baked Beans

The following recipe is just for readers of this newsletter, “In Step With Jonny”—it’s an advance preview of our forthcoming book, “The Live Longer Cookbook” by myself and my co-author, chef extraordinaire Jeannette Bessinger. Enjoy!

Crunchy Apple Baked Beans

From Dr. Jonny: So I have to tell you my personal story about beans: I frequently have them for breakfast. Call me crazy, I know. But the thing is, nothing really keeps your blood sugar even like beans, and they satisfy for hours. (Sometimes I have them as a side dish with my eggs.)

But enough about me and beans. According to nutrition experts at Michigan State University, who reviewed 25 years of research involving beans and various health issues, beans are a powerful food to improve overall health and specifically to prevent heart disease. “Scientific evidence proves that increasing bean consumption will lower your risk”, said lead researcher Maurice Bennink, PhD. And just for good measure, recent research showed that women in the famous Nurses’ Health Study who ate four or more servings of legumes a week were 33% less likely to develop colorectal ademonas, a non-cancerous tumor that can progress into colon cancer.

The thing I love about this particular recipe is the apple flavor- which you’d never expect in a bean dish but makes it sweet and spicy at the same time. In addition to breakfast, this is really satisfying on a cold night!—Dr. Jonny

Crunchy Apple Baked Beans


  • 2 cup dried pinto beans, picked over and soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup dried apple, pulsed in food processor to the size of large raisins
  • 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon epazote, optional yo hlp with bean digestibility
  • 2 cups apple cider (also good with hard cider!)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste


  1. In large heavy-bottom pot, heat oil over medium burner and sauté onion for 4 minutes.
  2. Add beans, apple, molasses, mustard, cayenne, liquid smoke, epazote, cider and broth, stirring to combine.
  3. Increase heat and bring to a simmer.
  4. Lower heat to maintain a low simmer, cover and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours or until beans are tender.
  5. After first 45 minutes, stir and check liquid level every 30 minutes or so, adding additional broth if necessary.
  6. Add salt to taste at end of cooking time.

Yield: about 8 cups



1 Comment

  1. Bernadette

    Sounds good. Any chance I could get recipe modification for CANNED pinto beans? I happen to have a number of cans of organic pinto beans that I’d like to use up.