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Beans are often a good choice when you're looking to lighten up your diet for the New Year. However, traditional Boston baked beans, loaded down with bacon, molasses, and salt pork, aren't a terribly wholesome choice. To give the dish a healthier twist, Allison Fishman Task gleans inspiration from Vermont. This recipe, from her new cookbook, Lighten Up, America!, includes just a bit of bacon for smoky pork flavor, and swaps out the molasses for the lighter flavor of maple syrup.
Why I picked this recipe: Baked beans are often a thick, rich dish; I wanted to see what a healthier transformation would taste like.
What worked: I appreciated the simplicity of these baked beans; each element shone through in the final dish.
What didn't: As written, the beans were a bit too sweet for my taste. Next time, I'll reduce both the maple syrup and brown sugar to 2 tablespoons.
Suggested tweaks: You could use another type of bean, like Great Northern, here if you'd like.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.