Latin ingredient of the week: Pinto beans (RECIPE)

Today's Latin ingredient of the week spotlight falls on a VERY popular Latino favorite, pinto beans.

Although they're easily available in the canned and dried variety, it's always healthier and cheaper to buy the beige-and-reddish-brown beans in their dry form--this is because the dried beans are less processed, contain less sodium, and cost about 45 percent less than the canned variety. Plus, I love pinto beans because, like most beans, they are very high in cholesterol-lowering fiber, as well as protein, vitamin B, magnesium, potassium and iron.

There are many ways that we Latinos eat pinto beans but my absolute favorite is in the form of Mexican refried beans. Seriously, who doesn't love these? They make a great topping on tacos or burritos, a delicious dip or even a nice side dish for dinner. Check out the recipe, below!


Read more ¿Qué Más? Latin ingredient of the week: Yuca (EXCLUSIVE RECIPE)

Mexican Refried Beans (recipe courtesy of

2 1/2  teaspoons  salt
1  lb. dry pinto beans
1  tablespoon  olive oil
1/4  lb. salt pork, rind removed, or sliced bacon, finely chopped
1  cup chopped onions
1  serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1  tablespoon finely chopped garlic
6  cups water
1/4  teaspoon cumin seed

1. Soak beans according to package directions; drain.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add salt pork; cook 2 minutes, until browned. Reduce heat to medium; add onions and chile and cook 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add drained beans, water and cumin seed. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add salt and continue to cook 25 to 35 minutes more, until tender. (Can be made ahead. Cool. Transfer to large microwaveproof container. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To reheat: Microwave on High 10 minutes, stirring once after 5 minutes, until heated through.) Makes 7 cups. For Refried Beans, continue to step 3.

3. Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos): Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil or lard in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until browned. Add 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add 2 cups cooked beans and 1/3 to 1/2 cup bean liquid to skillet. (Or, microwave 2 cups refrigerated beans and 1/3 to 1/2 cup bean liquid on High, 2 to 3 minutes, until room temperature, and add to skillet.) Mash beans and liquid coarsely with back of wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more, until heated through, adding more bean liquid or water if needed. Transfer beans to a food processor. Process just until smooth.

Makes 2 cups (4 servings).

Image via NourishingCook/flickr, MaryMakesDinner/flickr

Topics: healthy latin recipes  latin ingredient of the week  traditional latin recipes  mexican recipes