This Serbian baked bean dish (aka prebranac, pronounced pre-BRAH-nats) would have to be one of my dad’s favourite recipes.
He has been kind enough to share it with me, so I can give you an amazing simple bean dish that certainly doesn’t lack in flavour!
With two whole heads of garlic, that alone will make any dish pretty amazing. I have also created little hacks along the way to be able to speed up the process that can be tedious and time-consuming.
This dish can feed up to six people and uses only six staple pantry ingredients. It’s a humble but flavourful dish!
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Can I use dried lima beans?
Yes, this is how it’s traditionally made. I have personally opted for canned beans because it speeds up the process and you can have the baked beans ready in half the time—no need for soaking and cooking.
However, if you do choose to use them, soak 3 cups of dried beans in water overnight (or for at least 8 hrs, up to 24 hrs). Give them a good rinse and add to a large pot. Add water using 3:1 ratio to beans with a pinch of salt and a bay leaf.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half. Make sure not to overcook them. When they are soft but hold their shape, they’re done.
Drain and rinse them, and now they’re ready to use in the recipe below.
What kind of beans can be used in this Serbian bean dish?
I’ve only ever tried it with lima beans (aka butter beans).
However, you can use any type of white bean. Cannellini beans, Great Northern Beans, and navy beans (aka haricot, or Boston beans) are also a popular choice.
If you’re looking for a hearty bean recipe that you can eat in the colder months with that thick chunky slice of bread, this dish is perfect for that!
Are you cooking for 1-2 people? Perfect! This dish gets better with age. Just warm it up (or have it cold) and enjoy it.
This baked beans recipe is:
- Rich in flavour
- Packed full of fibre and protein
Some tips to speed up the process of this vegan baked bean dish
- Using two whole heads of garlic can make for a dull and sticky job. Does anyone else find that garlic skins stick to their fingers? I learned a little hack recently. Put the whole garlic cloves (removed from the head first so that they’re just the individual cloves) in some boiling water and leave for 10 minutes. Remove from the water, and the skins just slide off! This makes the process so much quicker.
- Use a little food processor to mince the garlic. Since there is so much garlic, you’ll be able to fit them in a food processor and blitz away! This will save you time not mincing each clove separately.
- If you don’t have a food processor, rather than dicing the onions, you can opt to slice them into strips to speed up the process and give the dish an added element of texture with stringy onions once cooked down and baked.
- If you find yourself starting to cry a river while slicing the onions, leave it and go off and prep other parts of the dish. Like washing the canned beans, or prepping the garlic.
- If you’re really time poor and don’t mind a different result with the baked beans, pop your peeled onions into a food processor and pulse a few times to get a nice diced consistency. Then fry off as instructed. This is the method that I use in the recipe instructions.
- And since we’re talking about speeding up the process, use canned beans over dry.
- If using dry beans and you have a pressure cooker, this will speed up the process immensely!
Don’t be frightened by the large amounts of garlic in this prebranac recipe. It truly works and gives it a nice, deep flavour.
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Sauerkraut and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)
- Immune Boosting Bean Soup
- Vegan Gibanica Recipe (Serbian Cheese Pie)
- Easy Vegan Baked Ziti
- Vegan Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta & Bean Soup)
- Vegan Spinach Pie with ‘Ricotta’
- Chargrilled Capsicums in Garlic Parsley Oil (Red Bell Peppers)
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