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Thread: Seasoning Vegetarian Pinto Beans?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Lake Jackson, TX

    Seasoning Vegetarian Pinto Beans?

    I'm going to Scotland to visit my daughter @ school and she wants me to cook some "American" food for her house-mates who are all vegetarians. I'd like to try the old southern standby "Pinto beans and Cornbread" but don't know how to get a good flavor in the beans without using any meat. Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Plano, TX
    Not sure if you are looking for a meat flavor or just well seasoned but I never use meat in mine. They don't have a meaty flavor though but they are good. I make mine along the lines of mexican barracho beans and use cumin, chili powder, garlic, onions, cilantro and a couple of tomatoes. Very flavorful and you will never miss the meat!

    Have a good trip!

  3. #3

    Here are two vegetarian recipes I love. Both have a southwestern flair, though they would still be very good with cornbread. If you are looking for a meaty flavor, liquid smoke might be a good way to provide it.

    The first recipe is from Nava Atlas's website,

    Recipe by Nava Atlas
    Serves: 6 or more
    The word borracho was a 19th century term for a drunkard, so this recipe's name literally means "drunken pinto beans." Simmering the pintos in beer, with lots of cilantro, results in a very special flavor.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
    2 large scallions, chopped
    4 cups cooked pinto beans
    1/2 cup beer
    1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
    Salt to taste
    Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the tomatoes and scallions and sauté over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together, then simmer, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes. If there's too much liquid in the skillet at this time, cook, uncovered, until it thickens up a bit. Serve hot.


    These can be made one day before serving.
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 cup chopped white onion
    4 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 large jalapeño chili with seeds, cut lengthwise in half
    1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    9 1/2 cups water
    1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed

    2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
    1 teaspoon salt

    Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, chili, oregano, and cumin; sauté 1 minute. Add 9 1/2 cups water and beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour.

    Discard chili. Add sugar and salt to bean mixture. Simmer uncovered over medium heat until beans are tender and almost all liquid has evaporated, about 1 hour longer. Remove from heat. Using potato masher, coarsely mash most of beans. Season with additional salt, if desired. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm in nonstick saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.)

    Makes 6 servings.

    Bon Appétit
    March 2003

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    South Central Kentucky
    Have you tried dried Cranberry beans? They are very similar to pinto beans but we think they have a better flavor and they are slightly larger than pintos. I just add some olive or canola oil and some kosher salt and simmer away (after soaking and draining them first). Keep adding plenty of water so that they will be a thickened soup at the end. My DH likes to put this over broken up cornbread along with some of the beans. Add a good relish, some vadilas and enjoy!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Houston, Tx
    I use Sazon by Goya, if it isn't in the spice section then look for it with the other Mexican foods. I have used this for years.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    If you check out Southern Living Magazine online, there light living food section featured Mexican food this month. There is a pinto bean recipe if your interested, here is the link:,00.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Charleston, SC


    This is a perfect use for veggie boullion cubes.....just cut off a bit and dissolve it in a very small amount of boiling water and this is excellent bean seasoning. It's what I almost always use to season my dried or canned beans. It does have quite a bit of sodium though, so take into account before you salt.

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