Dustin’s Amazing Picnic Beans Recipe

With Memorial Day Weekend upon us, let’s talk cookout food! My (now) husband made Picnic Beans for me when we first started dating; I won’t say they are the reason I fell in love with him, but they certainly didn’t hurt his cause!

Picnic beans are a great summer side dish – they are lighter, fresher, and healthier than baked beans, and can be made quickly! One of the fun things about picnic beans is that they are never exactly the same twice. If there’s an ingredient you don’t like, omit it! If there’s something you’d like to add, go for it! While picnic beans are very customizable, the basics are always the same.

Photo 2013-05-22 10.28.26 AMBasic Picnic Beans Ingredients

  • Variety of Beans – We typically use black beans and navy beans, but have also used Chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans.
  • Bacon – Use as few or as many strips as you want
  • Pepper – Any type
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Celery Seed (the secret goodness)
  • Lime Juice (fresh is best)
  • Fresh Cilantro

Step 1.
Dice the bacon, pepper, celery and onion


Step 2.
Add some olive oil to a skillet (Dustin prefers cast-iron). Heat up the olive oil, then add the diced items and spices.

Photo 2013-05-22 10.29.09 AM

Step 3.
Saute until the onions start to turn clear, then add the beans.

Photo 2013-05-22 10.29.28 AM

Step 4.
Continue the saute everything for twenty minutes. You can leave them longer, but reduce the heat after a few minutes. The longer they mix the better the flavors will meld together. Add chopped fresh cilantro before serving.

These beans are a perfect go-to for summer potlucks and cookouts (ahem… Memorial Day). They can even be made them ahead of time, refrigerated until needed, and easily reheated in the oven or on the grill. How would you adjust this recipe to your taste?


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