Pinto Bean Soup with Fresh Salsa

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 2h 5m

Serves 6

Despite its creamy taste, this simply prepared soup is surprisingly low in fat. A cantina cook might well make up a batch from the previous day’s leftover beans. It is the perfect antidote to a blustery day, and the fresh, sharp garnish contrasts nicely with the natural richness of the beans.


  • 1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • For Salsa:
  • 3 ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 small red (Spanish) onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Crema or sour cream


Sort through the beans and discard any misshapen beans or stones. Rinse well. Place the beans in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the smallest bean is cooked through and creamy inside, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the onions, salt and pepper and sauté until the onions are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes longer. Add the beans and their liquid and the stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans start to break apart, 20-30 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and let cool slightly.

FOR SALSA: In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Working in batches, transfer the bean mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Transfer the purée to a clean saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring frequently, until hot. (If not serving immediately, keep warm over very low heat, stirring often.)

Ladle the soup into warmed shallow bowls and top each serving with a spoonful of salsa and a dollop of crema or sour cream.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2305

nutrition information per serving

171 calories; 10g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 639mg sodium; 13g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 10g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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