16 Recipes That Start with a Can of Pinto Beans

Chicken Tinga Rice Bowls
Photo: Jacob Fox

Grab a can of pinto beans and make one of these healthy dinners. From soups to grain bowls, pinto beans are an affordable, plant-based source of protein in these recipes. Recipes like Chicken Tinga Rice Bowls and Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole are sure to become a weeknight go-to.

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Smoky Chicken Stew with Kale & Pinto Beans

Smoky Pinto Bean & Kale Stew with Chicken
Dera Burreson

Chipotle chile powder is made from smoked jalapeño peppers that are dried and ground, giving this stew a hint of smoky flavor.

02 of 16

Easy Chicken Tinga Rice Bowls

Chicken Tinga Rice Bowls
Jacob Fox

Leftover chicken tinga, pinto beans and bell peppers combine to make a hearty, flavorful rice bowl. Finish with your favorite toppings like avocado and lime wedges.

03 of 16

Stuffed Potatoes with Salsa & Beans

stuffed potatoes with salsa

Taco night meets baked potato night with this simple recipe for loaded baked potatoes with salsa, beans and avocado. This easy, healthy family dinner comes together with just 10 minutes of active time, so you can make it on even the busiest of weeknights. This recipe is just as delicious with sweet potatoes in place of russets.

04 of 16

Chicken Chili Verde


Prepared salsa verde adds tang to this fast weeknight chili recipe and pairs beautifully with the rich caramelized chicken and creamy beans. Don't shy away from the poblano peppers. They offer a mild heat but deliver a depth of flavor you can't find in regular green bell peppers.

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Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole


These bean burgers will even please carnivores. The cornmeal coating gives a pleasant crunch and smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro and guacamole add Southwestern flavor.

06 of 16

Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl


This flavorful burrito bowl features grilled chicken coated in a spicy chipotle glaze. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthier dinner.

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25-Minute Sweet Potato & Bean Enchiladas

25-Minute Sweet Potato & Bean Enchiladas
Antonis Achilleos

These quick sweet potato and bean enchiladas are diabetes-friendly thanks to egg wraps that are lower in carbs than traditional tortillas. The vegetarian filling is both sweet and savory, while the topping adds texture and freshness.

08 of 16

Bean & Beef Taco Soup


This taco soup is filled with quintessential taco ingredients and flavors—from two types of hearty beans, to corn and ground beef—but it's the toppings that really make this soup stand out. Better yet, this healthy soup is easy to make and leftovers freeze beautifully for later.

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Vegetarian Gumbo


This flavorful vegan dinner is a veggie version of the Louisiana classic. It's chock-full of butternut squash, tomatoes, poblano peppers and okra, to name just a few. This vegetarian gumbo is a quick dinner packed with flavor and spice that's done in only 30 minutes. To make it a meal, serve it with cornbread drizzled with olive oil.

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Slow-Cooker Pork Posole


Posole (or pozole) is a thick and hearty soup that originated in Jalisco, Mexico. It's usually made with pork (sometimes chicken) and is especially popular around Christmastime—it's perfect for a crowd with its varied garnishes to customize the soup. Mashing some of the beans and hominy thickens this slow-cooker posole and releases more of their earthy flavor. You may add garlic and dried chiles to bring depth of flavor as well. Garnishing with thinly sliced jalapeño chiles, finely shredded green cabbage, avocado and cilantro leaves in place of (or in addition to) the radishes, scallions and oregano is a delicious way to eat this satisfying soup.

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Creamy Queso Chili

Creamy Queso Chili
Jacob Fox

This mashup of the classic cheesy dip chile con queso with the beans and vegetables of a chili is the best of both worlds.

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Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans


These easy sweet potato fritters have a crispy crust and a tender middle. The beans are flavored with smoked paprika, but sweet or hot would work well too. To give it a Mexican-inspired twist, use chili powder as the spice instead of the paprika.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken & Pinto Bean Enchilada Casserole

a recipe photo of the Slow-Cooker Chicken & Pinto Bean Enchilada Casserole served on a plate
Photographer: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist: Ali Ramee Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

This slow-cooker meal is comfort food at its best: the layers of tortillas, cheese and sauce meld together into a cozy casserole inspired by the flavors in enchiladas. The top tortilla layer gets beautifully crispy in the slow cooker. We use pinto beans, but you could easily swap in black beans.

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Bean & Butternut Tacos with Green Salsa


Beans and roasted butternut squash make an outstanding vegetarian taco filling. For the best flavor, use fresh, good-quality chili powder and Mexican oregano. Look for both at Latin markets or in the bulk spice section at well-stocked natural-foods stores.

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Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup


The flavor of this Mexican-style soup is kicked up a notch with a sprinkling of cilantro and a squirt of lime juice.

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Taco Soup


We gave the plain old taco an easy, one-bowl makeover by turning it into soup! We garnish this zippy dish with pickled jalapeños, Cheddar cheese and tortilla chips, but feel free to mix it up with any of your favorite taco toppers.

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