Pinto Bean Health Benefits and Recipes

Pinto Bean

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Why make pinto beans a household staple

Pinto beans, like other members of the legume family, are a low-fat, healthy and vegetarian alternative to other sources of protein. They also play a vital role in a number of simple recipes from Latin America and beyond. And they are affordable for even the most budget-strapped cook.

Health benefits

Like other beans pintos are a high-fiber food that form a nearly fat-free complete meal when combined with a whole grain like brown rice. In addition to protein, this bean is also an excellent source of B1, iron, magnesium, potassium and other vitamins. Both the Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend them for diabetics because their high-fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising quickly following consumption.


Although canned pinto beans are quicker to prepare, dried beans are cheaper and healthier as they are not prepared with salt. Invest in a pressure cooker, which cuts cooking time down to about 45 minutes, (versus cooking them in a regular pot, which takes about two hours and means the beans need to be soaked in cold water the night before). Whether you use a pressure cooker or not, the beans need to be sorted in order to weed out any pebbles that may have made their way into the bag.


Vegetarians can easily substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth or water, as the recipe includes many flavor-rich ingredients like ancho chilis, cumin seeds, bay leaves and onion. A more traditionally American recipe included on the site is the vegetarian pinto bean, tomato and butternut squash soup.

Pinto beans can also transform the basic side salad into a hearty meal. Lobster-pinto bean salad, a savory-sweet medley with red wine vinegar, garlic, onion and jalapeno. These beans also pair nicely against mango, orange, walnuts, spinach and other hearty greens and succulent fruits.