Pinto beans are widely used in traditional Mexican dishes. This basic recipe is simple and delicious served with cornbread (recipe here) or corn tortillas. It also serves as the “base” for other dishes. You can heat and mash them for Frijoles Refritos (refried beans), add sauteed greens or Mexican Chorizo, or top with cheese and broil until melty. The varieties are endless.


2 cups pinto beans (from the 2012 CSA share)
1 large onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves

Sort and rinse the beans. In a large pot add the beans and enough water to cover by a couple of inches. Soak for 8 hours (overnight or all day). When ready to cook, drain soaking water, rinse well, and add fresh water to cover the beans completely. Quarter the onion and add two of the quarters to the beans. Don’t bother cutting or breaking apart the onion quarters, they will cook down. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the beans are soft (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Stir occasionally and add water if necessary.


When beans are almost done, dice the remaining onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium, add the onion and sauté until soft and slightly brown. Lower the heat, add the garlic and saute for an addition two minutes.

Add the sautéed mixture and salt to the beans and serve with cornbread or corn tortillas.