A Meal For Under $2? Baked Beans on Toast

Quick, cheap, flavorful, and healthy — what’s not to like?

Shefali O'Hara
4 min readJun 2


Source: Serious Eats / Diana Chistruga

I am on a tight budget these days, something I am sure others can relate to.

I also have dietary restrictions due to cancer. Again, this is something I think others can relate to, either because of medical conditions such as diabetes, or because of issues like gluten intolerance, or dietary preferences — some go keto, others vegan.

There is one meal that can fit many different diets while also being absurdly cheap and providing you with many nutrients. These include B vitamins, fiber, and minerals such as iron. Because the number of carbs per serving is pretty high, however, it’s probably not for keto-types.

Additionally, a serving of this will only set you back $1.50 assuming you opt out of buying organic but use store-bought broth. You could bring it down to $1.10 if you use water instead of broth.

What is this dish?

The humble but tasty baked beans on toast. I have it for lunch sometimes with a side of home-made sauerkraut or coleslaw. If I go with the latter, it feels like a barbecue, without the meat or potato salad.

For maximum savings and nutrition, make your own baked beans from scratch. That means soaking dried beans overnight, and cooking several hours in a crock pot. Yes, this is time consuming. But it will be tastier, cheaper, and healthier. Plus, the pot does most of the work. Total prep time is about 10 minutes.

One caveat — if, like me, you stick to organic produce as much as possible, the price per serving will probably be over $2 unless you make your own broth with scraps.

One other caveat — beans that are too old will not cook well no matter how long you soak them. Check the expiration date before you start.

Most people use white beans, like Great Northern or Cannellini, but honestly any bean will work. If you’d prefer black beans, go for it.

After draining and rinsing the soaked beans, put into your crockpot with 2 cups of either water or vegetable broth per cup of beans. A pound of dried beans can make enough for 8 small servings — 8 breakfasts.



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.