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.