Pinto Beans & What to Do With Them

Pinto Beans and other legumes are an excellent source of Prebiotics needed by your body to support a healthy Microbiome. This means that they are an excellent source of fiber and plant protein, and may have a number of other health benefits. If Pinto Beans are not available, you can substitute cranberry or other similar beans. The following was originally published in my first cookbook: Dining in the Garden of Eden, available for download on a ‘set your own price’ basis.

Pinto Beans

Ingredients

2 Cups dried pinto beans

2 to 4 cloves of garlic

1 medium onion, diced

2 – 3 carrots, diced

2 inch cinnamon stick

1/4 C cilantro, coarsely chopped (with or without stems)

1 fresh green chile, diced

1-2 tsp. salt (add only at end of cooking)

1.  Soak the beans (for a minimum of an hour to overnight) and cook with the rest of the Ingredients in 4 cups of water over medium low heat until the beans are soft enough to mash and the liquid is reduced.  This will take a while, but does not take much supervision.

A pressure cooker speeds things up dramatically – if you are serious about cooking with legumes, buy a pressure cooker.  

Pressure Cooker Instructions:  For a four-quart pressure cooker, you can cook two cups of beans, plus other Ingredients, covering it all with water about an inch higher than the Ingredients.  Do not fill the pressure cooker up more than half full.  Cook over medium heat until the little hat starts its hat dance, and the beans are under pressure.  Once the beans are under pressure, cook for 30 minutes.  If the beans are soft at that point, but too much liquid remains, remove the lid and cook down the liquid over low heat.

2.  Mash the beans to form a paste with a smooth consistency; if you prefer a coarser end product, stop mashing when you reach the desired consistency.  You may want to divide the recipe in half, storing a container full in the freezer, and putting the other half in the refrigerator for immediate use.

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Burritos/Tostadas/Chimichangas

Ingredients

Refried beans (recipe above)

Flour (whole wheat or plain) or Corn tortillas (warmed in microwave or conventional oven)

Grated cheddar and mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, or Mexican cheese mixed

Vegetable for inside/on top:  shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes and onions

1. Burritos:  Lay out a tortilla, and spread the center with approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons of refried beans (in a straight line down the center), depending on the size of the tortilla.  Sprinkle with shredded cheeses, and cover the cheese with lettuce, tomato and onion, quantities as desired.  Fold both sides over around the mixture and fasten with a toothpick or simply turn the burrito over to seal it. Bake the burrito in an oven at medium to medium high heat until heated through and the cheese is nicely melted. 

2.  Tostadas: take a corn  or flour tortilla, and spread the refried beans over the entire surface (about 2 tablespoons of beans for a small tortilla).  Sprinkle with shredded cheese, and bake at 350 degrees or broil at medium to medium high heat until the cheese is bubbling.

3.  Chimichangas:  For Chimichangas, it is particularly important to use flour tortillas that have been warmed in a microwave oven for 20 – 30 seconds in a plastic bag, so that they will be soft and will fold easily.  Lay out a warm tortilla, place one tablespoon of beans in the top quadrant, sprinkle with chopped onion and cheese, and roll two thirds of the way.  Fold in the two sides and roll the rest of the way shut.  Fry in 1/2 to 1 inch of oil, starting seam side down, until brown.  Turn over to brown the second side. 

To Serve:  Top with plain yogurt or sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.  For tostados: top at the table with the other vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, onion) as desired.

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