Do you love the classic Beanie Weenie Casserole, but need a healthier version to fit into your lifestyle? If yes, then this recipe is for you!
Beanie Weenies are a beloved childhood dish for many. Sweet and tender beans are cooked together with sliced hot dogs for a fun and tasty meal. Whether you call them “Frank and Beans” or “Beanie Weenies”, it is hard to resist their simple appeal.
A Beanie Weenie Casserole is a great side dish to bring to BBQ’s, tailgates and picnics, and taste great alongside hamburgers, grilled chicken or pulled pork sandwiches.
In this post, I will give you the recipe for a healthy Beanie Weenie.
A Healthier Beanie Weenie is easier than you think!
While the beans and sliced hot dogs swimming in a sweet tomato sauce in a traditional Beanie Weenie Casserole make for a delicious and hearty meal, it is packed with excessive sodium, fat and preservatives.
For those looking for a healthier version of a Beanie Weenie Casserole, this update on the classic dish swaps the hot dogs for chicken sausage and the beans for chickpeas. The final meal contains less fat and calories than the original, is gluten-free and is packed with nutrients.
Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo beans, are a member of the legume family and are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They can help control appetite, manage weight, and support blood sugar control. Chickpeas are loaded with magnesium and potassium which contribute to overall heart health. [Ref: Healthline]
Chickpeas can be purchased in both the dried and canned varieties, and are an affordable ingredient to stock in your pantry. They make a great protein source for vegetarians, but can also be easily added to a meat-eater’s diet. You can roast chickpeas on a sheet pan for a crispy snack, stir into soups or blend into dips.
A Quick and Easy Recipe
To make this recipe, the chicken sausages get sliced and browned in a pot, much like hot dogs would in a traditional Beanie Weenie Casserole.
Onions and garlic go in next, absorbing any flavor left behind by the chicken sausage. The sweet and tangy sauce comes together quickly in the pot and simmers away while the chickpeas become tender and absorb the yummy cooking liquid. The entire recipe takes around 30 minutes to complete, making it a quick and easy weeknight meal. Leftovers will keep for one week in the refrigerator and get tastier the next day.
This healthy Beanie Weenie Casserole is also very customizable.
Like it spicy? Add a chopped jalapeño in with the onions and garlic.
Looking to bump up the veggies? Add a few carrots or red bell peppers into the mix. If you don’t have molasses, maple syrup is a great substitute and adds a bright sweetness to the sauce.
Make this Beanie Weenie Casserole Your Own
Many classic Beanie Weenie Casserole recipes don’t stop at the sliced franks and beans. Traditional casseroles get topped and baked with biscuit dough, tater tots or shredded cheese. If you want to add an extra layer of flavor to your Beanie Weenie Casserole, transfer the finished recipe to a casserole dish and scatter the desired topping across the top. Place in a preheated oven and cook until the biscuits or tater tots are cooked through and brown, or the cheese is melty and bubbly.
This healthy update on the classic Beanie Weenie Casserole is sure to become a new family favorite. Using chicken sausage and chickpeas adds nutrients to the dish, while cutting out unnecessary fat and calories. Bring this updated classic to your next BBQ and your family and friends won’t even miss the original.
Healthy Beanie Weenie Casserole
Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Drizzle in enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pot.
Remove chicken sausages from the package and slice each link into ¼ inch rounds. Add the rounds to the pot in an even layer to the heated oil.
Let the sausage slices cook on one side for 2-3 minutes. Once a nice brown crust has formed, flip over to cook the opposite side. Depending on the size of your pot, this may need to be done in batches. Once the sausages are brown on both sides, remove from the pot and set aside on a plate.
Finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the pot. Stir to coat the vegetables in the leftover oil from the sausages, adding more oil if the pot seems dry. Cook over medium heat until the onions and garlic begin to soften and the onions start to get brown around the edges.
Add the tomato paste to the onions and garlic and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute, until it becomes fragrant and the mixture turns a deep brick red color. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to the pot and gently stir to combine.
Pour in 2 cups of the broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add in the remaining ingredients for the sauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, mustard, salt and pepper, and stir. Add the sliced chicken sausage back into the pot, along with any accumulated juices.
Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let the pot simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Simmer until the beans are tender, the sauce thickens and the flavors meld together. If you like your beans more liquidy, add the additional cup of broth.
Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve the Beanie Weenie Casserole from the pot or transfer to a casserole dish.