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Calico Beans Bake

Calico Beans Bake (Cowboy Beans)| This gluten free and dairy free recipe with hamburger and bacon is the perfect BBQ side dish. Use ground beef, beans, simple spices and healthy coconut sugar. I bake this recipe in the oven, but you can use a crockpot or slow cooker too! You can easily make this simple meal vegetarian by omitting the meat. Bring this summer side dish to your next barbecue (4th of July food & Memorial Day) for a crowd or eat this casserole at home for an easy dinner!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Leftovers, Lunch, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: All American
Keyword: baked beans, bbq, beans, calico beans, cowboy beans, dairy free, gluten free, picnic, refined sugar free, summer
Servings: 8
Calories: 275kcal
Cost: $13.00

Equipment

  • dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 6 oz bacon chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, half drained*(half the liquid in the can is needed in casserole)
  • 15 oz canned kidney beans, drained
  • 15 oz canned green beans or white navy beans, drained**

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large Dutch oven or skillet on the stovetop, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Leave 1-2 Tbsp bacon renderings (grease/fat) in pan.
  • Add onion and ground beef to the bacon renderings. Cook on medium heat until meat is browned.
  • Add the cooked bacon and remaining ingredients to the pan and gently stir until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Place the Dutch oven with the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the sides are bubbly. If you are not using a stovetop to oven safe pan, pour casserole into a 9×13 glass pan and bake at 30 min or until sides are bubbly.
  • Serve warm. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Notes

*There is no need to rinse any of the canned beans and if some liquid/water from the cans ends up in the casserole that is fine. The original recipe has more liquid in it, but I prefer it with less like this version. However, if you don’t have some liquid from the beans the casserole will be too dry. So that is why I say, add 1/2 the liquid from the pinto beans and that should be perfect!
**Any kind of beans will work in this dish. I chose pinto, kidney, and green beans, but Lima, navy, or any combination tastes just as great!