Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Southern Staple-Pinto Beans

The pinto bean is named for its mottled skin (compare pinto horse); hence it is a type of mottled bean. It is the most common bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico, and is most often eaten whole in broth or mashed and refried. Either whole or mashed, it is a common filling for burritos. The young pods may also be harvested and cooked as green pinto beans.

In the southeastern part of the United States, pinto beans were once a staple of the people, especially during the winter months. Some churches in rural areas still sponsor "pinto bean suppers" for social gatherings and fund raisers.

I recently attended a “bean” supper, the proceeds going for the care of a young cancer patient. Pinto beans and “northern” beans were served, along with cornbread, coleslaw, desert, and of course, sweet tea. A bake sale and auction of donated items completed an evening of support and hope.

You can do so much with a pot of cooked pinto beans: make refried beans for burritos, add them to a pot of homemade chili, or stir them into vegetable soup. Really, though, it’s hard to improve on the basic dish itself: a bowl of beans, seasoned either delicately or boldly—whatever your mood dictates.

Several years ago, I discovered a recipe for a pie using pinto beans. It tasted wonderful and I had a lot of fun getting people to “guess” what kind of pie it was. What ways have you eaten pinto beans?


Pinto Bean Pie

½ cups pinto beans, mashed

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

½ cup coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick margarine

1 unbaked pie shell


Mix eggs and sugar together first. Add melted margarine. Mix beans, coconut, and vanilla in with other ingredients. Put in unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees until brown. Let cool and serve.


Today’s writing prompt: The charred black pot hung over the campfire, overflowing with pinto beans, chunks of bacon swimming in their midst. Blake glanced up when…



  1. Pinto bean supper? I had no idea there were so many ways to eat beans - to be honest - not one of my favorites. Difference in geographical areas. Up north in Midwest, I think we're more famous for casseroles. :)

  2. Pinto beans and fried potatoes, cornbread and iced tea: a staple meal in the South where I grew up. Now it's a comfort meal for me. I've heard of the pie, but never tried it. Maybe I shall, now that I have the recipe...

  3. Betty understands! Course my hubby would add fried okra and mustard greens to the dish. Tea sweet of course. The pie is really good, you can't taste the beans :)