Posts Tagged 'pinto beans'

Kale, Pinto and Mushroom Tacos with Guajillo Salsa


This three day weekend was awesome.  Except for the test I took on Saturday morning, the whole weekend was fun: coffee, walks around town, a great swim, and the ZOO!  We finally took Ellie to the Oakland zoo and she loved it.  Especially the petting area.


The squirrel monkeys were also a big hit.  We liked it so much we became members, and I have a feeling we’ll be spending a LOT of time there over the next year.

Afterwards, since we were in Oakland anyway, we went to Subrosa.  Not quite as good as the coffee in SF, but close!  Ellie and Mike had a heart to heart over lattes (or water, in Ellie’s case) in the parklet.



Going back to work on Tuesday was surprisingly not painful. I’ve gotten way better about leaving work at work, and planning farther in advance (three years of teaching and I think I might FINALLY be starting to figure some of this stuff out) so after not thinking about school for three days it was fun to get back to the kids.

Not sure how to segue from that to tacos, so here we go: These are sort of similar to some other kale and guajillo tacos I made, but I think these are a lot better.   They’re more filling, and they’re really cheap to make, especially if you have dried beans lying around.  I used collards instead of tortillas just because they needed to be used up, and NO I will never go paleo or low carb or any of that, swearsies.  I ate PLENTY of carbs for dessert right afterwards anyway.

I think the best thing about these is the beans.  They’re braised in broth with sauteed onions, so they’re full of flavor. Canned beans just wouldn’t be the same.  It takes some planning ahead, but it’s definitely worth it.


(salsa adapted from Hungry Cravings)

Pinto-stuffed Portobellos

Oh Friday, am I glad to see you. Bring on this three day weekend that includes dinner with a friend, lots of running, plenty of Ellie time, and a dessert potluck!

I got some disappointing news on Wednesday morning and although I sort of knew it was coming, it still was not fun.  It did inspire me to go run 9 angry miles at 7:15 min/mile, which was  kind of cool (since I’m nowhere near that fast normally) but I’ll take a celebratory run over an angry run any day.

I had a little of this as well…

In the past when I got stressed, healthy eating immediately vanished from my priorities and I drowned my sorrows in some combination of chips, cheese, and chocolate.  This week, though, I’ve actually been motivated to cook relatively nutritious things.  There’s something really cathartic about chopping up an onion and throwing it into a sizzling pan.  I made a variation of this that included corn sauteed with garlic and chili powder.

Definitely not the last time I do that.

I also filled some portabello mushrooms with chunky refried pintos, and topped them with pepper jack cheese.  They’re pretty easy as well as being nice and filling.  Plus anything topped with melted pepper jack cheese is a win in my book.



Mole Enchiladas with Kale and Squash

I hope you had a great Valentines Day! Mine was nice and low-key and perfect.
Because I love my students, I bought them some treats. And ate waaaay too many of them myself. (That, on top of the cupcakes a couple of students brought meant I was completely over-sugared all day long).

Mike, Ellie and I went for an awesome 5ish mile run after work (which went surprisingly well considering the sugar overload from the preceding several hours). Ellie kind of started to freak out in the stroller, which meant the last mile was a LOT faster than we planned on!

Back at home, I gave Mike a homemade card, which has kind of become a tradition. I have the card-making skills of a 9-year-old boy, but he appreciates the thought.

In case you didn’t completely overdose on chocolate yesterday, here’s a chance to sneak some more into your dinner! I haven’t made mole sauce in years because I thought it was too labor intensive. It turns out it’s really not that bad, especially if you make it the day or two before you plan on using it (it keeps really well in the fridge, and then you just need to thin it with a little broth).

If you get all your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking, it goes pretty fast, and then you have a whole bunch of absolutely delicious sauce to make enchiladas with, or drizzle over roasted squash, or dip chips in… there are so many options!


(adapted from Veganomicon)

3-Bean Slow Cooker Chili

I really don’t understand the obsession with slow cookers. Yeah, I use mine all the time to cook dried beans, but most main dish recipes either have way too much meat and processed food or just seem like they’d be really unappealing.

Chili is basically my one exception, though. The other day I wanted to see if I could make chili starting with dried beans, and I’m delighted to report that it worked beautifully! I was thrilled.

Ellie was thrilled, too.

Basically, I made a fairly standard chili recipe, but added a few extra cups of water. I started it on high for 2 hours, then turned it to low for 5. Because of the toxins in kidney beans, they need to boil for awhile, so cooking on low the full time is not a great idea, unless you’ve boiled the beans for awhile first.

Now that it’s officially Fall, get out your slow cooker, ditch the canned beans, and make a big pot of chili!


1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chopped chipotle chile en adobo
2/3 cup beer (I used amber ale)
15 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup dried kidney beans
1/2 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried black beans
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 1/2 cups water
shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions, for garnish

Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add the chili powder, cumin, and chipotles, and mix well.

Transfer to a slow cooker, add all remaining ingredients, and stir well.

Cook on high for 2 hours, then turn to low and cook for an additional 5 hours. Taste and add salt or other seasonings if needed.

Serve with shredded cheese and green onions.

Hoppin’ Rice and Beans

This weekend involved a couple awesome things.  We were back in San Luis Obispo, hanging out with Mike’s family and this ADORABLE dog, Roo:

I used to say I hated small dogs but she is so cute and sweet that I might actually consider a small dog (if it could be a clone of her).

We also had a repeat of our wedding food, catered by the same family that fed our 100 guests 3.5 years ago:

Some people in our family thought we were nuts for having Middle Eastern food at our wedding, but then a lot of them said it was the best wedding food they’d ever had. I’m totally biased, but I agree with them.


AND to top it all off, I’m on Spring Break for the whole week! Plenty of time for running and cooking healthy food. Although I don’t need quick and easy meals this week, I do appreciate them when Mike and I are both working full time, and this recipe is perfect (if you have a rice cooker and slow cooker you can let the beans and rice cook while you’re out and just assemble them for dinner).

This is adapted from a recipe for Hoppin’ John, but I used pintos instead of black eyed peas, and cut the prep time WAY down. The flavor is awesome, and the leftovers are great for lunches.

(adapted from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry)

2 cups cooked pinto beans, drained (canned works too)
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
choppped cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and add the shallots. Cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spices, salt and tomatoes and mix well. Add the rice and beans and cook until heated through. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve, garnished with a little chopped cilantro.


I love enchiladas, but I think these might be even better. Completely unphotogenic, just like enchiladas, but more fun to say and possibly healthier (at least if you put spinach inside, like I did). There are ENDLESS variations… it would be really easy to make these either vegan or meaty, depending on your preferences.

Lately I’ve been loving living vicariously through bloggers who make beautiful desserts, have awesome jobs, and live in beautiful places. My life lately has been a blur of the gym at 5 AM, a whole day of 13 year olds, and nights of grading labs and tests. I’m happy, it’s just very routine, which is why I’m looking forward to this weekend’s long run much more than usual.

And speaking of being happy, there was a clip on Oprah recently about “America’s Happiest City,” which I guess someone decided was San Luis Obispo, California. I have really mixed feelings about the clip, in which Jenny McCarthy sees about 2 square blocks of town and chats with “happy locals.” (You can watch it here). I lived in San Luis Obispo for 8 years. I went to college, made tons of friends, met my husband, and got married in that town, so of course I have lots of happy memories. But something about the concept of finding the happiest place in America just seems a little ridiculous to me.

I did have a lot of happy times in San Luis Obispo, but I also had a TON of stressful times, and ultimately, I’m realizing now that living here in this nondescript suburb of San Francisco (which will never even make the top 100 for happiest cities in the country, I’m sure) I’m possibly happier than I’ve ever been before. I have a job that I love, lots of great places to run, and I feel like Mike and I are finally moving in the right direction toward our future.

For some reason, San Luis Obispo always felt like a kind of holding pattern. I never found a job that was satisfying, and in a lot of ways the town seemed like an out-of-touch bubble. I think my point, if I can dig one out of this mess of thoughts in my head, is that it shouldn’t matter what the happiest place in the country is. I’m guessing 95% of the country will never be able to afford to live there anyway. I think what matters, as cliche as it may be, is to find your own happiness wherever you are. Even if it’s a foggy suburb you didn’t know existed until you happened upon a job there.

So now that that’s out there, let’s get back to the food. I love this dinner because it’s quick and simple, but feels like comfort food.

There are just a couple steps:
1. Dip corn tortillas in a beans to soften them up.

2. Fill them with a little spinach, mushrooms, and grated cheese.

3. Then roll up and serve with hot sauce. This is our latest discovery from the Mexican grocery store. The lime is key!

(adapted from Herbivoracious)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups pinto beans, with their liquid (2 15-ounce cans)
water as needed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 bunch fresh spinach, leaves only (washed well, then drained)
1/2 cup shredded jack cheese

about 10 corn tortillas
cilantro, for garnish

To prepare the beans, heat the oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Add the beans and cover, then simmer for about 15 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender, adding water as needed (you’re going for the consistency of gravy or hot fudge sauce). Salt to taste. Turn heat to low.

Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium high. Saute the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, oregano, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook just until it wilts. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Using tongs, dip a tortilla in the beans. Hold it there for about 5-10 seconds, until it has softened but isn’t falling apart. Transfer it to a bowl, fill with about 3 tablespoons of the spinach mixture, sprinkle with a little cheese, then loosely roll up. Repeat for all of the tortillas.

Spoon some of the extra beans over the tortillas, then garnish with cilantro. Serve right away.

Pinto and Red Lentil Loaf

It’s been over 6 months since I stopped eating meat and I can pretty much say I haven’t had a single craving for anything meaty except meat loaf. (It helps that Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo is amazing, I kind of got over bacon, and I’ve always liked veggie burgers and soy dogs more than the real thing.)

I was perusing tastespotting looking for something to do with the mammoth quantity of pinto beans we still have (I swear they’re multiplying), when I found this recipe for not-meat loaf. It looked good, but I changed some things up a bit, namely replacing the bread crumbs with oat bran and wheat germ because I had them on hand and they’re a little healthier, and skipping the TVP. I loved all the vegetables, and the cheddar cheese added richness (even if it’s not totally healthy).

It doesn’t have a completely firm texture…the inside was a little soft and reminiscent of refried beans, but it didn’t bother me because I could still slice it, and the flavor was amazing (especially with ketchup on top). If you want your loaf to be firm, you might try doubling the oat bran and wheat germ, or try using 1 cup of bread crumbs.

(adapted from Chef In You)

3/4 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk celery, chopped (including the greens)
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp ketchup
1 15-oz can pinto beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked, rinsed and drained pinto beans)
1 egg
2 tbsp oat bran
2 tbsp wheat germ
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F, and grease a loaf pan.
Combine the lentils and water in a medium saucepan and boil (skimming off the foam) until they have completely disintegrated and the mixture is thick and creamy (about 30 minutes).
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium and add the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add about 1/2 tsp salt, then stir in the ketchup.
Put the vegetable mixture, pinto beans, and lentils in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the egg, followed by the oat bran, wheat germ, and cheese.
Smooth this into the greased loaf pan, then bake for about an hour, or until firm. Remove from the oven, let stand for about 10 minutes, then slice to serve.

Kale and Pinto Enchiladas

For me enchiladas fall into that starchy-cheesy category of food that is so basic and comforting I can’t help but eat far too much of it. (Lasagne and its cousins manicotti and stuffed shells are definitely in that category as well). But these enchiladas are a little different. They’re just as soul-nourishing as the usual ones, but they have kale! and zucchini! and pinto beans! and almost no cheese (which may or may not be a selling point, but if you’re like me and you eat way too much cheese as it is, I think it’s a good thing).

I found this gem of a recipe on a blog I’ve grown really fond of (Daily Unadventures in Cooking ), with enchilada sauce adapted from Mark Bittman, who I’ve only recently started paying attention to and now think is an absolute genius. I’ve seen his books and column around for ages, but for some reason it took me years to sit and look at them with more than a passing glance – which I’m now realizing was my loss!

Anyway, as I’m sure you know, enchiladas can be challenging to attractively photograph, so I’m sorry for the completely mutilated specimen below. I just wanted to show you all the good stuff packed inside these!

(adapted from Daily Unadventures in Cooking)

2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 jalapenos, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 small zucchinis, grated
salt and pepper
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 recipe enchilada sauce (below)
12 small corn tortillas
a handful or two of grated jack or cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and jalapenos and stir for a minute. Add the zucchini, cumin and a big pinch of salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add kale and stir until soft.

Remove from heat and stir in a a few grinds of black pepper, the pinto beans, green onion, cilantro, and a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce.

Put together the enchiladas, prepare the tortillas by warming them in a hot skillet for about 30 seconds per side. Spoon a thin layer of enchilada sauce over the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 pan.

Form the enchiladas one at a time: Put a few spoonfuls of filling in a tortilla, roll up and place it in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enchilada Sauce
(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)

1 large guajillo chile
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes with their liquid
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 tablespoons lime juice

To prepare the chile, pull off the stem and remove the seeds. Turn on a gas burner and hold the chile just above the flame with metal tongs, turning frequently until blistered and fragrant. Cover with cold water and soak for 15 minutes, then drain and chop finely
Put the oil in a medium saucepan and put over medium heat. Add the chopped guajillo, onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften.
Add the tomatoes, sugar and a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until thickened stirring occasionally.

Stir in the cilantro and lime juice, then puree with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the seasonings.


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