Today I’m sharing my recipe for Cowboy Stew, sometimes called Calico Beans or Cowboy Casserole.

My extended family makes the Cowboy Stew from the church cookbook for most holiday gatherings, but since that one contains bacon and beef I’ve gradually created my own vegan adaptation that has taken on an identity of its own.

These have a little of everything – sweet, savory, and smoky – making them a real crowd pleaser. Every time I serve these I am shocked by the sheer amount of bean in the crock-pot, and then after the party, I am shocked by how many beans have left the crock-pot. 😂

This is a great recipe for family gatherings when you have a million other things to make because all you need to do is dump everything in the crock-pot and let it simmer for a few hours. If you’re feeling ambitious, maybe stir it a few times!

5 from 1 vote
Cowboy Stew
  • 1 15oz can Light Kidney Beans
  • 1 15oz can Dark Kidney Beans
  • 1 15oz can Lima Beans
  • 1 15oz can Great Northern Beans
  • 1 15oz can Butter Beans
  • 1 15oz can Chili Beans
  • 1 28oz can Vegetarian Baked Beans
  • 1 cup Diced Onions
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 2 Tbsp Molasses
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
  1. Drain and rinse all beans except the Baked Beans and Chili Beans. Combine all ingredients (including juice for Baked and Chili Beans) in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

It has been my intention to post this for years now, but I’ve always put it off because in all honesty, it’s truly impossible to photograph. Beans just aren’t very pretty sometimes. In the last few months I’ve realized that needing Pinterest-perfect photography has been keeping me from blogging during the time of the year when natural light is sparse (practically October through April in Minnesota!) and I’d rather share a recipe with a mediocre photo than not sharing the recipe at all!

3 thoughts on “Cowboy Stew Slower Cooker Beans {accidentally vegan}”
  1. 5 stars
    Good easy recipe. I did add some nice back bacon so mine was not vegetarian.
    Made the mistake of putting in 2 Tblsp dry mustard instead of regular. Whoops…just had to keep adding beans to dilute . Worked out in the end. Now we have one heck of a lot of beans.

  2. This was amazing! I did not have any onions so grabbed a handful of chives from my garden and I added vegan crumbles…..yummy:) Thank you for posting

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