New cooks often find cooking dried pinto beans quite intimidating. They’re hard, wrinkled seeds that generally come in a boring plastic bag somewhere on the bottom shelf of the grocery store. Don’t let their looks fool you; dried beans are one of the easiest dishes to prepare – especially if you use a slow cook recipe. You just throw in a few tasty flavorings and allow your crock pot to do all the work. At the end of a long day you can enjoy these delicious southwest ranch style beans for dinner.
In addition, a bag of beans is extremely affordable. A bag of dried pinto beans costs about $0.05 -$0.08 an ounce. The 3 lb bag I used in this recipe cost $2.89 and contains about 5.5 cups of dried beans. A 15 oz can of pinto beans costs around $1.30 and contains the equivalent of 1/2 cup dry beans, before cooking. Have I confused you yet? Basically, one 3 lb. bag of dried beans equal approximately 11 cans of beans. You can spend $2.89 in dried beans or $14.30 in canned beans.
Finally, many canned beans are exposed to BPA in the lining of the cans and contain a great deal of sodium. (BPA acts like estrogen in our bodies and can increase your risk for breast cancer and can effect the brain and reproductive glands of fetuses, infants and children.) Dried beans are simply naked beans (how scandalous) PLUS they contain lots of protein and fiber. You can check out all the healthy benefits of beans in your diet here.
Have I convinced you to try cooking dried beans? If the cost and health savings haven’t convinced you I am sure this recipe will do the trick. It is a simple vegetarian dish that cooks all day in your crock pot and results in plump tender pintos in a flavorful sauce. The taste is southwestern with cumin, garlic and chili powder (sometimes called ranch style beans).
The best part about this pinto bean recipe is its versatility. We enjoy pinto beans and rice one night, with cornbread or as homemade refried beans another day (simply mash the beans in their own sauce), made into burritos, as a chili ingredient, and as a topping for nachos. The recipe fills my 6 quart crock pot; after making the recipe I simply cool the beans and divide them into smaller potions to freeze.
- 3 lbs dried pinto beans
- 1 cup diced white onion
- 1 oz – 10 can tomatoes with green chilies
- 3 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 bay leaves remove before serving
- 3 tsp salt (to taste) do not add until fully cooked
- Rinse dried beans in a colander to remove any dirt or dust.
- Pick out any black, discolored beans or stems
- Place beans in crockpot and fill with water until water is 3 inches over beans.
- Cover and let soak overnight.
- Drain water from crockpot.
- Add all additional ingredients except salt (salt can interfere with the water absorption/softening of the beans – wait until the cooking is done to salt)
- Add water until it is ½ inch above the beans and stir to combine
- Set crockpot on low, cover and cook 8 hours.
- Check to see if beans are soft, remove bay leaves, and stir in salt to taste.
- Serve over rice or with cornbread or tortillas. Top with your choice of chopped cilantro, green onions, grated cheese, sour cream, salsa, taco sauce and/or crumbled tortilla chips.
Have your tried cooking dried beans? What is your favorite recipe?