Cast Iron

Superiority Burger's BBQ Baked Gigante Beans With Polenta & Coleslaw

October  4, 2022
6 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 14 hours
  • Cook time 4 hours
  • Serves 8 (and makes 2 cups chickpea mayo, 12 polenta planks)
Author Notes

Like so many dishes at Superiority Burger, these BBQ baked beans just happen to be vegan—and crazy good. If you haven’t been, Superiority Burger is Brooks Headley’s all-vegetarian burger joint in Manhattan’s East Village. It’s as much known for its tofu-fried tofu sandwiches as it is for its flavor-of-the-day gelatos. In this recipe, Headley super-sizes baked beans, turning to one of our favorites: gigantes, which are, well, meaty. They bathe in all the good things, like tomatoes and brown sugar and espresso. Then, they’re piled atop crisped polenta planks and a chickpea mayo–dressed coleslaw. Follow the whole thing to script—or go rogue and streamline the toppings (say, toast some cornbread and just buy the mayo).

Recipe from Superiority Burger Cookbook by Brooks Headley. Copyright © 2018 by Brooks Headley. Reprinted with permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Baked beans and assembly
  • 1 pound dried gigante beans, soaked overnight
  • Grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons espresso (Superiority Burger uses Café Bustelo)
  • 1/2 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Gulden’s brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup Chickpea Mayo (see below)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 Polenta Planks (see below)
  • Chickpea mayo and polenta planks
  • 1/2 cup liquid from a chickpea can
  • 20 individual chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups grapeseed oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups high-quality polenta (Superiority Burger uses Anson Mills)
  1. Baked beans and assembly
  2. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
  3. Drain the beans and put in a sturdy oven-safe pot, like a Dutch oven. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add enough grapeseed oil to coat the bottom. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until not raw anymore, basically. Add the water, espresso powder, tomato puree, brown sugar, mustard, molasses, and hot sauce and bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the liquid over the beans. Add the olive oil to the beans and juice.
  4. Cover tightly with aluminum foil or a lid and put in the oven. This is going to take a while. Check after 2 hours and make sure not too much of the liquid has evaporated. If it has, just add more water, cover, and cook some more. Check every hour or so until the beans are tender. Remove from the oven and season generously with salt and pepper. Let sit—the beans will absorb a lot of this liquid and release starch to make a thick sauce.
  5. Mix together the cabbage with the dill, mayo, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl. In a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet set over medium heat, heat a few tablespoons of grapeseed oil until shimmering. For each serving, sear a polenta plank on one side until golden brown and a little crispy, then flip it and sear the other side. Transfer to a plate, top generously with beans and bean sauce, and finish with a mound of the cabbage slaw.
  1. Chickpea mayo and polenta planks
  2. Make the chickpea mayo. Combine the chickpea liquid, chickpeas, mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, and salt in a tall container just large enough to fit the head of an immersion blender. Blend at high speed until the mixture is completely smooth and all the whole chickpeas are broken down. While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil. As you add the oil, an emulsion will form and it will begin to thicken. Check the seasoning for salt and sugar. This will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
  3. Make the polenta planks. Lightly grease a quarter sheet pan or an 8- inch square baking pan with a little bit of olive oil. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add salt and taste the water—it should taste well seasoned. While whisking, pour the polenta into the boiling water. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. When ready, check the seasoning again for salt and then carefully pour the hot polenta into the pan and smooth the top as evenly as possible. Let set up at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. It will cut most easily into clean pieces if refrigerated for a couple hours or overnight. Cut into 12 planks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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6 Reviews

Melissa Y. June 20, 2023
There was so much depth of flavor in the beans and the combo with the slaw was spot on! (I did use neutral gigante beans I had cooked previously--pulled them from the freezer and just added them to the sauce after step 2, baking for about 30 minutes in step 3.) They were a bit too sweet for our tastes, so next time will cut back on the sugar, but the coffee really adds depth and gorgeousness!
So S. March 24, 2023
just used canned great northern beans and skipped making the chickpea mayo as I wanted a quick but delicious 30 min weeknight meal, and it certainly delivered
Erin July 1, 2021
This recipe is great for summer entertaining in a mixed crowd (vegan, vegetarian, etc.). The beans can be tricky, which is why I use a pressure cooker rather than the oven method. It's fast, easy and fool proof for perfect creamy beans. To get them as flavorful as possible, I double the tomato sauce recipe so that I can cook the beans with one batch in the pressure cooker (with a bit of water added) and mix the cooked beans with more sauce from the second batch.
Judi F. March 27, 2021
I loved this. One thing to note: I think there is a mistake in the recipe for the mayo. I think it calls for too much oil, given the other amounts. I drizzled about a cup of oil into the running blender and it got to mayo consistency ... but then, per the recipe, continued drizzling in the other cup and a half of the oil and the mayo turned back into complete liquid form again. I continued blending for another several minutes, hoping it would re-thicken ... but it didn't. So, I started over with the chick peas and chick pea liquid and drizzled a cup or so of what I had made before in, instead of the spices and oil (since what I had before was mostly oil and already had the spices). It emulsified again, luckily, that way and I was able to use it ... and I saved the remaining liquid to make another batch when this mayo runs out. (I didn't want to waste all of that oil I used). Anyway, again, I think the oil amt called for should be MUCH less and when you get to a mayo consistency - stop adding oil. Otherwise, though, it was all delicious and as advertised. I used dried lima beans, because I couldn't find gigante beans. I will be making this again. I think, next time, I'll also grill some vegan sausages (Beyond Burger) to go with it.
Mary S. January 26, 2021
This is fabulous!! The seasoning is on point. I bought my beans at the Spanish Table and they were old. I've had this experience with their beans before, so I was prepared. I soaked them for 2 days and cooked them at 300 degrees for 10 hours. Definitely worth the wait, but next time I will probably use cannellini or some other large white bean.
Mgfuqua July 23, 2020
This was a disaster. Polenta and coleslaw were great. Beans soaked in water for 15 hours, drained, followed Recipe and instructions...three hours in 300 degree oven, no discernible difference in liquid volume, or tenderness of beans...placed on stove top and brought to boil...three hours later, beans still tough, still huge volume of water. I even thought perhaps there may have been a typo on your recipe so I downloaded the Kindle version of Superiority’s cookbook...nope, you have it right. Expensive beans, will be feeding it to the chickens...very disappointed.
I suggest you actually try recipes before recommending them on your site.