Black Beans vs. Pinto Beans

July 12, 2018
by Jillian Gordon for Thrive Market
Black Beans vs. Pinto Beans

Thrive Market members know we love finding new ways to enjoy our favorite healthy pantry staples, and beans are no exception. Not only are beans a great way to incorporate extra fiber and protein into your diet—especially if you’re sticking to a plant-based eating plan—but there’s also a wide variety to choose from. We’ve narrowed down the selection to two of our favorites: black beans and pinto beans. Not only do both beans have roots in ancient cultures, but they’re brimming with health benefits and lend themselves to loads of recipes from sweet to savory. Here’s what’s cool about these beans!

All About Black Beans

Black Beans

Also known as turtle beans, caviar criollo, and frijoles negros, black beans are one of 500 varieties of kidney beans. They’ve been a food staple for over 7,000 years, used as a traditional ingredient in South and Central America. Though native to the Americas, black beans have been incorporated into cuisines across the globe, including Punjabi cooking along with Louisiana and Creole cuisines.

How to Cook Black Beans

Canned black beans do the job, but if you’re working with dry black beans, many argue that you should soak them overnight before cooking. It’s thought to help the beans cook faster and prevent digestive discomfort. Some cooks argue that unsoaked beans are actually more flavorful and keep their shape better, but will take longer to cook. The choice to pre-soak or not to pre-soak is up to you, but here are some go-to methods for cooking black beans once you’ve made up your mind.

How to Cook Black Beans On the Stove

Rinse 1 pound of beans to remove any dirt. Soak for at least six hours (or overnight). Drain beans then add them to a large stock pot and cover with at least 1-inch of water. (You can also add extra flavor enhancers here like bay leaves or crushed garlic.) Bring to a slow boil and let simmer, testing after 45 minutes. Keep adding just enough water to keep beans covered, until beans have finished cooking. If you soak the beans, they should be done in under 2 hours, and plan on 3 to 4 hours for unsoaked. When the beans have finished cooking, add salt to taste, then let the beans stand for at least 10 minutes to soak up the flavor before serving.

How to Make Black Beans in the Slow Cooker

Rinse 1 pound of beans and place them in the slow cooker. Add 6 cups of water, along with a peeled and sliced onion, garlic cloves, and a bay leaf for seasoning. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. Season with salt to taste after the beans have finished cooking.

How to Make Black Beans in the Pressure Cooker

Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a 6-quart pressure cooker along with garlic and a bay leaf. Cook on the sauté function until aromatic. Turn off the pressure cooker and add 2 cups of beans, 6 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Lock lid and cook on high pressure for 25 min. Let pressure release naturally, then check for doneness and add more salt, if needed. If the beans still aren’t cooked, pressure-cook on high for 5 more minutes, then release pressure manually.

Nutritional Value of Black Beans

Naturally gluten-free, black beans also contain iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc, plus they pack in protein. Here’s a look at their nutritional breakdown:

(Serving size: ½ cup)

Calories: 110
Total fat: 0g
Protein: 7g
Total carbohydrate: 21g
Dietary fiber: 5g
Sugars: 1g

Black Bean Recipes

These black bean recipes are as unique as they are tasty.

Gluten-Free Migas

This easy, anytime Spanish recipe features cracked eggs over a spicy black bean tomato sauce with crushed, gluten-free tortilla chips.

Black Bean Kale Nachos

Get a dose of leafy greens while digging into a plate of nachos topped with black beans, pepper, radishes, crema, and sautéed kale.

Black Bean Brownie Bites

Cool beans! This surprisingly decadent brownie recipe combines black beans with coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, and cacao for a rich, chocolatey treat.

More Black Bean Recipe Suggestions

Black beans are a welcome addition when you’re looking to add protein, key nutrients, and heartiness to your meal. Plus, they’re extremely versatile. Here are a few more recipe ideas:

  • Fajita Bowls or Tacos: Toss in beans along with grilled onions, peppers, avocado, salsa, and cotija cheese for a filling and flavorful meal.
  • Soups: Black bean soup is a comforting staple throughout the year as is chili or tortilla soup.
  • Salads: For added texture and nutrients, black beans make for an awesome salad topper, especially when paired with quinoa, sweet potatoes, avocado, or tomatoes.
  • Smoothies: Since black beans don’t have an overpowering flavor, they make for a surprisingly delicious addition to a smoothie. In fact, black beans combine well with chocolate, which making for a rich midday snack.

All About Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

A go-to ingredient in Latin American cuisine, pinto beans were first cultivated by Mexican and Peruvian civilizations more than 5,000 years ago. The name “pinto” is Spanish for “painted,” referring to the speckles often found on the bean’s outer casing. Pinto beans continue to be a staple in Mexican food, and are now a beloved bean throughout the world (perhaps it’s because pinto beans contain more fiber than most beans). In fact, Dove Creek, CO has declared itself the Pinto Bean Capital of the World.

How to Cook Pinto Beans

As with black beans, soaking pinto beans ahead of time is up to you depending on the flavor and texture you’re after. Pre-soaked or not, here are some traditional methods for cooking pinto beans.

How to Cook Pinto Beans On the Stove

Rinse 1 pound of beans to remove any dirt. Soak for at least six hours (or overnight). Drain beans before adding them to a large stock pot and covering them with at least 1-inch of water. (You can also add extra flavor enhancers here like bay leaves or crushed garlic.) Bring to a slow boil and let simmer, testing after 45 minutes. Keep adding just enough water to keep beans covered, until beans have finished cooking. If you soak the beans, they should be done in under 2 hours, and plan on 3 to 4 hours for unsoaked. When the beans have finished cooking, add salt to taste, then let the beans stand for at least 10 minutes to soak up the flavor before serving.

How to Make Pinto Beans in the Slow Cooker

Rinse 1 pound of beans and place them in the slow cooker. Add 6 cups of water, along with a peeled and sliced onion, garlic cloves, and a bay leaf for seasoning. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. Season with salt to taste after the beans have finished cooking.

How to Make Pinto Beans In the Pressure Cooker

Add 3 tablespoons oil to a 6-quart pressure cooker along with garlic and a bay leaf and cook on the sauté function until aromatic. Turn off the pressure cooker and add 2 cups of beans, 6 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Lock lid and cook on high pressure for 25 min. Let pressure release naturally, then check for doneness and add more salt, if needed. If the beans still aren’t cooked, pressure-cook on high for 5 more minutes, then release pressure manually.

Nutritional Value of Pinto Beans

Naturally gluten-free, pinto beans not only deliver a dose of protein but also include key vitamins and minerals like copper, manganese, phosphorus, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

(Serving size: ½ cup)

Calories: 120
Total fat: 0g
Protein: 7g
Total carbohydrate: 21g
Dietary fiber: 5g
Sugars: 1g

Pinto Bean Recipes

Once you start cooking with beans, you’ll discover they can be incorporated in just about any recipe, from casseroles to breakfast recipes. Here are a few favorite pinto bean recipes.

One-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

We have a thing for easy, one-pot meals and this recipe checks all the boxes thanks to filling ingredients like chicken, pinto beans, quinoa, enchilada sauce, zesty spices, and, of course, fresh cilantro and avocado.

Chicken Burrito Bowl

Add pinto beans to chopped chicken, pico de gallo, lettuce, sliced avocado, shredded Mexican cheese, and brown rice (or cauliflower rice) for an easy, all-in-one meal.

Sweet Potato Fritters

Smoky pinto beans combine with sweet and creamy sweet potatoes, cornmeal, onion, and peppers before being baked into a hearty bite.

Pinto Bean Salad

Toss pintos with onion, garlic, fresh parmesan, EVOO, white wine vinegar with tarragon, and freshly ground pepper for a zesty salad.

Zucchini & Pinto Bean Frittata

Not just for breakfast, this nutrient-packed frittata includes shredded zucchini, pinto beans, cheddar cheese, onions, and garlic whisked together with fluffy scrambled eggs.

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This article is related to: Vegetarian Recipes, Healthy Ingredients, Bean Recipes, Black Bean Recipes, Vegan Ingredients

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