Pinto Bean Salad ♥

Pinto Bean Salad, another Fresh & Flexible Salad ♥ Quick to Make. Low Fat. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.
Will this be the salad of the summer? It's so fresh and flexible, it might could be. It's a simple bean salad, just pretty pink pinto beans plus green pepper, tomato and a little onion and cilantro, barely pickled in a light vinaigrette earthy with a little cumin and hot sauce.

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Quick to Make. Low Fat. Low Carb. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

Start Eating Those Beans!

The cupboard here is full of beans, not the metaphorical full of nonsense full of beans but real-life stacked-high-and-deep actual cans containing beans of all colors and shapes. Pinto Black. Chickpea. Red kidney. Cannellini. Navy. You too? For now, the grocery distribution system is mostly holding up so perhaps it's time to start eating those beans instead of saving them for a rainy day. (Word dancers: so many euphemisms!)

First up, a salad that starts with beans that soak in a vinaigrette that's a little bit sharp, a little bit spicy and 100% perfect to convert canned beans into something special.

Ingredients for Pinto Bean Salad

Like all my recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

Pinto Beans Pinto beans are almost creamy, like cannellini, say. And here they add color, protein and sheer bulk. Can you substitute another bean? Sure. Just pick one and move on.
Red Onion Red onion has such pretty color but a yellow onion or a white onion would work too.
The Vinaigrette Choose a clear vinegar, one that won't stain the beans or the vegetables. The other flavors are simple, just a little olive oil, a touch of earthy, smoky cumin, a touch of heat from hot sauce plus the usual salt and pepper.
Bell Pepper Green pepper is my usual choice, they're less expensive plus I just love their almost bitter taste. Only have red or orange or yellow? No stress, just use that! Bell pepper adds that wet crunch we covet in salads, celery would be good too.
Tomato This is the one ingredient which may well be optional. In summer months, I use a wonderful garden tomato and it's luscious. In other months, I use halved or quartered grape tomatoes which have the added advantage that they stay firm, even after a couple of days. Avocado would be a good substitute, so would tomatillo. Tomato does add color and texture contrast along with volume so, well, maybe it's not so expendable after all!
Cilantro What loveliness cilantro adds here! That said, I've also chopped up the green part of green onion, also very good.

More Inspiration for Spring Salads, Spring Soups Too!

~ Seasonal Soups & Salads – May ~

What Makes This Bean Salad Special

Quick to make
Common fridge and pantry ingredients, each one with easy substitutes
Hearty and filling
100% plant-based aka vegan
Low carbs in a serving, thanks to the high proportion of vegetables:beans
An enticing mix of textures, soft and creamy beans and tomato plus wet and crunchy peppers

Pinto Bean Salad, another Fresh & Flexible Salad ♥ Quick to Make. Low Fat. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 5 cups

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 large red onion (about 50g), sliced very thin lengthwise
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar or white vinegar (or another clear vinegar)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Frank's hot sauce (or another hot sauce to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
1 large tomato (about 150g), diced
1/2 large green pepper (about 80g), diced
1/4 cup (15g) chopped cilantro

In a large bowl, combine the beans, onion, vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, cumin, salt and pepper. Let these soak while chopping the remaining ingredients. Once chopped, stir in the tomato, green pepper and cilantro. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

Let the salad rest for at least 30 minutes for the salad to come together, especially for the beans and onions to "pickle" just a little as they absorb the vinaigrette.

MAKE-AHEAD Pinto Bean Salad is best the day it's made but is also good for two to three days afterward.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.