Pope Joan Baked Beans

Since Shawn hails from Melbourne, Australia, you can bet we’ve got some Aussie classics on the breakfast menu. (Along with plenty of Aussie-isms, including shortening “breakfast” to “brekky” and forgetting that that isn’t a thing for everyone). From Flat White coffee in the mornings, to Vegemite upon request, you’ll feel a bit Down Under around here. One of our favorite Australian items on the menu is the Pope Joan Baked Beans, from the former Pope Joan Café in Melbourne. We copycatted the recipe from the start, and then actually acquired the real recipe from the chef before they closed the café around a year ago.

The dish is surprisingly light for the main ingredient being beans! Paired with spinach, toast, and a fried egg, it’s filling without stuffing you before your 8:30am meeting on the weekdays, and makes a great Saturday brunch dish, too!

Recipe for the beans:

·      2/3 cup olive oil

·      1 white onion, sliced

·      1 tsp smoked paprika

·      1 tsp black pepper

·      1 tsp sea salt

·      1 tsp ground allspice

·      1 tsp ground cumin

·      ½ tsp ground turmeric

·      2 tbsp tomato paste

·      ½ cup brown sugar

·      ¾ cup red wine vinegar

·      2 cans of 14oz crushed tomatoes

·      1 can water (use the tomato can)

·      1 lb and 10 oz canned cooked white beans (cannellini works fine)


·      Heat oil in a cast iron saucepan over medium heat

·      Add onion and gently sweat until translucent

·      Add all the spices and cook for 4 minutes

·      Add tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes

·      Add sugar and vinegar and reduce by 1/3 or until sticky

·      Add tomatoes and water and bring to a boil; Cook 5 minutes, stirring continuously

·      Turn heat to medium, add beans, and cook until beans start to absorb flavor (15-20min)


And there you have it! The beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, so you can prep this ahead of time and have it ready to go. Serve on toast, or in a small cast iron with toast on the side, sautéed spinach, and a fried or scrambled egg, and pretend you’re eating it on a beach in Australia!