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Healthy on a Budget

Healthy on a Budget


A common complaint about healthy foods is cost – and often it’s true.  Some fresh vegetables and fruits can bust the grocery budget – especially the organic variety. BUT it’s not true of everything and you can be healthy on a budget.  Example:  the lowly pinto bean.

I love almost all beans and my grandmother used to cook pintos on a regular basis.  I can remember getting the phone call that she had a pot ready and then heading over for a bowl – YUM!  I hadn’t had any for quite some time, but I recently picked up a bag of dried pintos (I think the one pound bag was $1.59) and they transported me right back to her kitchen.  So good, versatile, inexpensive and easy.

Beans are good for you – lots of fiber and protein.  Check out the pinto’s nutritional value here, then run out and buy a bag – good for your wallet and your body!


  • 1 pound bag dried pinto beans
  • 7-8 cups water
  • bay leaf, salt, pepper


  • Pick through the beans quickly to remove any dirt or small pebbles.
  • Since dried pintos are pretty hard, a pre-soak or pre-cook is recommended.  Either cover the beans with lots of water and let them soak (overnight?), or cover the beans with water, bring to boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, drain and rinse.
  • Rinsing the beans after you soak or pre-cook makes them less gassy – and more crowd friendly.
  • Place beans in a large pot, cover with the water, add bay leaf and bring water to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes to hour.
  • Stir and sample, the beans should be very tender, if not cook some more.
  • Once beans are tender, smash some with a wooden spoon – this releases starches and makes the dish nice and creamy.  I think this is very important in achieving the delicious creamy texture for this and any other dried bean.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Tips:  Enjoy a bowl with some brown rice, chopped onion, cilantro and jalopeno peppers or use as filler for burritos or quesadillas.


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