Pinto Beans

The pinto bean is a variety of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). In Spanish they are called judías pintas, literally “speckled bean” (compare pinto horse). It is the most popular bean by crop production in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States, and is most often eaten whole (sometimes in broth), or mashed and then refried. Either way, it is a common filling for burritos, tostadas, or tacos in Mexican cuisine, also as a side or as part of an entrée served with a side tortilla or sopaipilla in New Mexican cuisine.

In South America, it is known as the poroto frutilla, literally “strawberry bean”. In Portuguese, the Brazilian name is feijão carioca (literally “carioca bean”; contrary to popular belief, the beans were not named after Rio de Janeiro, but after a pig breed that has the same color as the legume), which differs from the name in Portugal: feijão catarino. Additionally, the young immature pods may be harvested and cooked as green pinto beans. There are a number of different varieties of pinto bean, notably some originating from Northern Spain, where an annual fair is dedicated to the bean.