Serves 6

We loved this simple dish and enjoyed it for several days running. To give the dish the sensuous feeling that the bacon would add, I used a little bit more olive oil than I might ordinarily use, plus some dark sesame oil for smoky depth of flavor. PS: I developed this recipe before I learned about the salt-soak and no-soak methods of cooking beans, outlined in last week’s blog, but feel free to adapt the recipe—I'm going to very soon!

1 lb. Great Northern beans (If you use other beans, be sure to see the Important Update at this post.)

5 cups chicken-style vegetarian broth


2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs dark sesame oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped celery with leaves

1 Tbs chopped garlic


2 Tbs soy bacon bits or chips

2 bay leaves

1 tsp liquid smoke (see this post about this ingredient)

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

freshly-ground black pepper to taste

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1/8 tsp ground mace or allspice

Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight. Drain and add to a large heavy pot with the broth. Place over medium heat.

Meanwhile, heat the oils in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add the onions and stir-fry until they soften a bit.

Add the mushrooms, celery and garlic. Stir-fry further, until the vegetables are wilted and slightly-browned. Scrape the vegetables and all of the oil into the pot with the beans.

Add the Seasonings to the pot, stir well and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until the beans are tender, but not mushy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Serve with long grain rice.

Nutrition (per serving): 294.4 calories; 24% calories from fat; 8.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 71.0mg sodium; 996.3mg potassium; 42.3g carbohydrates; 13.3g fiber; 2.7g sugar; 14.9g protein; 5.8 points.