The Best Baked Beans {Hosting a Gluten Free Potluck}

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Attending a potluck can be terrifying when you have to eat gluten-free. You don’t know if there will be anything there you can eat. You won’t know if Betsy used a soy sauce that has gluten in it to make those wings, or what’s in the mysterious fluffy salad that Tom brought. There’s just so many unknowns to contend with. I get it. I understand. Potlucks are scary for a Celiac. But, there are certain steps that you can take that will make them a lot less scary.

Talk to the host – If they are not aware (or have a tendency to forget things), let them know that you have to eat a meal free from gluten. The host can ask everyone attending to bring along a recipe card with the recipe of the dish they are sharing printed out on it. This lets you see exactly what is in each dish, then you can make an educated guess as to whether or not to take the risk. Not only will this help Celiac’s identify potential sources of gluten, but anyone with a food allergy will also be able to see if nuts, eggs, shellfish, or dairy are included in the dish. With the number of food allergies on the rise, everyone could benefit from knowing the ingredients. Not to mention, when everyone raves about a dish, they can write out the recipe before leaving.

Keep ’em separated – If you have both gluten-free, and gluten-full food at a potluck, a way to cut down on potential cross contamination is to keep the gluten-free food on a separate counter or table. This way, if someone accidentally dips a spoon into the wrong dish, or misses their plate and drops something into another container – all is not lost to cross-contamination.

Serve yourself first – Before everyone else digs-in to the spread at a potluck, everything is perfect. No spoons have been placed in the wrong bowls, no crumbs have fallen into a gluten-free dish, all is alright. Once people start scooping, spreading, and moving along, things become imperfect. Fill up your plate with the gluten-free foods before anyone else to avoid the potential contamination. Take enough for the meal – with carelessness and the risk of cross contamination, you won’t be able to go back for seconds.

Pack your lunch kit – When you attend a social function, like a potluck, don’t expect everyone else to cater to your dietary restrictions. People will still bring gluten-full foods. And that’s OK, because you packed yourself a gluten-free meal before leaving home. Besides the dish that you are contributing to the potluck, there may not be any other dishes for you to eat. At a potluck, it is unlikely that anyone would even notice that you are eating something else. They may just think that you found a dish or two that they missed.

Now it’s time for you to throw your own potluck!

Join Sobeys and Jamie Oliver for the Potluck Challenge! All you have to do is host a potluck and share your potluck pictures between now and May 16th on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #PotluckChallenge and #FRD2014. For every picture shared, Sobeys will donate $1 toward the Cooking Toward Independence Project to help to fund cooking skills workshops across Canada.

Sobeys and Jamie Oliver #PotluckChallenge #FRD2014

Sobeys questioned Canadians, and based on their answers:

  • 62% of Canadians dietary-energy comes from processed food.
  • Canadians who cooked with their parents are 59% more likely to love cooking as an adult.
  • 67% of Canadians who say they love to cook also agree that tasty, healthy, and cost-effective meals can be planned, prepared, and served in a limited time.
  • 59% of Canadians who grew up cooking involve others in the process and enjoy sharing all they’ve learned.
  • Only 18% of Canadians have at least one meal per day prepared from scratch.
  • Only 31% of Canadians aged 18-29 are confident in the kitchen compared to 48% of those over 50.

This is why Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day is so important. And why cooking skills workshops for young people is so important. Cooking is a necessity of life. To thrive, we need to know how to take a few basic ingredients and make something delicious. Young people need to be taught that there is more than just processed foods available for them. I encourage you to pledge to host a potluck today. Sobeys has even included a Potluck Planner to make hosting your own potluck even easier.


The Best Baked Beans from The Baking Beauties


Looking for something delicious to take to a potluck? How about these Best Baked Beans? They start from canned beans, but then get kicked up – guests will be asking your secrets. You don’t have to tell them how easy they are to make though – that’ll be our little secret. 😉


The Best Baked Beans
Beans are great served hot or cold, plus the recipe can be multiplied to serve a crowd. Those are the reasons that baked beans are the perfect addition to a potluck dinner.
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 14-ounce (398 ml) cans gluten free baked beans (I used Bush's Best Vegetarian Beans)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup your favourite gluten free barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • (optional: 4 slices bacon, fried & chopped)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Saute the onions and green peppers until tender.
  4. Add the beans (don't drain them), brown sugar, barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and paprika. If using - stir in the fried bacon. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour the beans into a baking dish, making sure to leave some room so that the beans will not boil over.
  6. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You could also heat them in the slow cooker for 2-3 hours on high.
  7. Serve hot or cold.


Looking for more easy gluten free dishes to bring to a potluck? How about:

Gluten Free Caprese Pasta Salad from The Baking Beauties

Caprese Pasta Salad


Greek Quinoa Salad from The Baking Beauties

Greek Quinoa Salad


Broccoli Apple Salad from The Baking Beauties

Broccoli Apple Salad


Carrot Apple Salad from The Baking Beauties

Carrot Apple Salad


Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing from The Baking Beauties

Winter Fruit Salad


Refried Beans from The Baking Beauties

Refried Beans


Gluten Free and Dairy Free Scalloped Potatoes and Onions from The Baking Beauties

GF & DF Scalloped Potatoes and Onions


Mango, Avocado and Tomato Salsa from The Baking Beauties

Mango, Avocado and Tomato Salsa


Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup from The Baking Beauties

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup


Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Chicken Wings from The Baking Beauties

Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Chicken Wings


Slow Cooker Southern BBQ Sandwiches from The Baking Beauties

Slow Cooker Southern BBQ Sandwiches


Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake from The Baking Beauties

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake (no flours)


Cinnamon Bun Cheesecake from The Baking Beauties

Cinnamon Bun Cheesecake (no flours)


Jell-o Popcorn from The Baking Beauties

Jell-o Popcorn


Peanut Butter Pie with a Pretzel Crust from The Baking Beauties

Peanut Butter Pie with a Pretzel Crust


Flourless Chocolate Cake Trifle from The Baking Beauties

Flourless Chocolate Cake Trifle


Over the Top Peanut Butter Brownies from The Baking Beauties

Over the Top Peanut Butter Brownies


This post is linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays and Whole Food Fridays.


Disclosure: The author has received consideration from Sobeys or Sobeys’ media partners in exchange for this content.  Sobeys has not reviewed these claims and is not responsible for the content. As always, the opinions on this blog are my own.


  1. Lucy says

    Wow Jeanine, those baked beans look great! I haven’t made baked beans like in forever! My youngest just won’t touch them in anything (beans that is). I may have to give these a try and have a sub for her to eat.
    Thanks for the recipe, have a great day!

    • says

      You’re welcome, Lucy! My kids aren’t usually fans of beans either, but they both gave this version a thumbs up. I think it’s the BBQ sauce that they liked in it. :) Enjoy your day as well!

  2. says

    I do love baked beans and so rarely eat them as Mr. GFE is not a fan. :-( Great tips, too! We all share this from time to time, but they bear repeating again and again. The one that folks struggle with is serving themselves first, because they don’t want to seem pushy or stand out, but that is the one that goes the furthest in keeping one safe after determining what is gf from the start because of those pesky cc issues that can sideline us for days.

    Thanks, Jeanine!

    • says

      I hear you Shirley. It isn’t a comfortable thing, to serve yourself before others. It’s not that you’re thinking highly of yourself, impatient, or even that hungry. But at a potluck, after everyone’s gone through there, it’s a gluten-minefield. Gotta do what’s best for us though! :)

      • says

        I actually have no problem doing that myself, but others have visibly winced when I’ve told them to be sure to take that action. Many of these folks won’t even ask questions at all, but would rather guess which food items contain gluten and we all know how that goes. I just urge folks to be polite, but protective of themselves at all times.

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