Dried white Great Northern Beans are slow-simmered in a Dutch oven with fresh rosemary and salt pork until plump, tender, and packed with flavor. Canned tomatoes are added at the end of cooking for a kick of acidity making this a delicious and budget-friendly side or main dish.
This is one of my favorite recipes for white beans. When I tried it for the first time, I was blown away by the rich flavor and the creamy, soft texture of the beans. They’re so simple and delicious that you’ll find yourself craving them!
Great northern beans cooked slowly with simple flavoring ingredients of rosemary and salt pork create a comfort food dish that is filling and healthy! They’re simmered for two and a half hours until tender and packed with flavor.
Dried beans are a staple in my kitchen. You can store them in their dried state indefinitely – literally years. And they are very budget friendly. For just a few cents you can serve your whole family a delicious recipe featuring dried beans.
Plus they’re really good for you. A serving (1/3 cup cooked of most varieties) has about 80 calories and counts as part of your “5 a day” of fruits and veggies. They have no cholesterol, loads of complex carbs, and no fat. They also have lots of fiber and are a good source of protein making them a great meatless main dish.
I recently pulled out a bag of great northern beans that I’m sure had been in my pantry for at least three years. They were in perfect condition. I combined them with a few other pantry staples and a few sprigs of rosemary from the backyard (it’s a perennial here) and came up with this very delicious recipe for Great Northern Beans with Tomatoes.
💗 What You’ll Love About This Recipe
- It’s simple and easy to make! All you have to do is dump the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer.
- It’s filling and can be served as a main course one night with leftover repurposed as a side dish the next.
- The flavor combination of the salt pork and rosemary along with the acidity of the tomatoes is a delicious balance!
🥘 About the Ingredients
- Dried Great Northern Beans (or substitute any dried white beans that you like).
- Salt Pork (the traditional seasoning used for making baked beans; look for it in your grocer’s meat case; substitute bacon for a more smoky flavor).
- Rosemary (fresh is best; substitute dried if necessary).
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Dark Corn Syrup
- Diced Canned Tomatoes (be sure to include the juice).
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
🔪 How to Make Great Northern Beans with Tomatoes
Rinse and pick over the beans.
TIP: Don’t skip this step. Dried beans are actually a raw agricultural product and you may on rare occasions find a tiny pebble or stray piece of grass in the bag. You don’t want anyone biting down on a rock at the table.
Place the beans in a deep pot or Dutch oven with the water, salt pork, and rosemary stalks. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a steady simmer and cook for 2 hours. Add more water during cooking if needed to keep the beans moist.
Remove the salt pork and add the remaining ingredients. Bring back to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for an additional 15-20 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the beans are tender. Remove the rosemary stalks before serving.
🍚 Storage and Reheating
Cool leftovers completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. They also freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for a few months.
I recommend reheating on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- Make a smoky version of this recipe by substituting bacon in place of the salt pork.
- Try your favorite spices to liven up the recipe. Cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika are all great here.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions
You can absolutely use canned beans! To substitute canned beans, you’ll need four 15-ounce cans. Use the canned beans with their liquid and reduce the water to 2-3 cups. The cooking time should be reduced to about 45 minutes. Remember that canned beans are already cooked and won’t absorb as much flavor as dried beans.
If you have nicely ripe fresh tomatoes, by all means use them! You’ll need two cups diced. Be sure to keep as much of their juice as possible.
Test the beans for doneness by tasting or piercing them with a fork. If they still have a bit of “bite” to them, let them keep cooking until they’re soft and tender.
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Great Northern Beans with Tomatoes
- 1 pound dried great Northern beans
- 7 cups water
- 4 ounces salt pork
- 2 fresh rosemary stems (or 1 ½ teaspoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
- 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes lightly drained
- Rinse and pick over the beans.
- Place in a deep pot or Dutch oven with cold water, salt pork, and rosemary stalks.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat to a steady simmer and cook for 2 hours adding more water if needed to keep beans moist.
- Remove the salt pork and add the remaining ingredients. Bring back to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook, uncovered, for an additional 15-20 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and beans are tender.
- Remove the rosemary stalks before serving.
- Substitute other dried white beans such as navy or cannellini for the great northern beans.
- Substitute four 15-ounce cans of beans for the dried beans. Use the beans with their liquid and reduce the water to 2-3 cups. The cooking time should be reduced to about 45 minutes.
- Cool leftovers completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. May be stored frozen for a few months.
- Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.