Incorporating beans into taco night is a no-brainer, but there are many easy ways to use pinto beans, including burgers, stews, and even cornbread salad.
After all, the pinto is the most popular bean in the United States, and for good reason!
They’re affordable, packed with protein, and insanely versatile.
They work great as a main dish, like enchiladas or chili, or as a side at your next potluck.
So, if you have a can of pinto beans in your pantry, you are halfway to a tasty and satisfying meal.
And these ways to use pinto beans should get you the rest of the way.
1. Classic Bean Burgers
These pinto bean burgers are a fantastic way to sneak nutrition into your dinner while indulging in something a little naughty.
One can of pinto beans makes five burgers, and you can quickly freeze a batch for a lazy weeknight meal.
While the pinto beans are the star of the show, the added sunflower seeds, almonds, and red onion make this burger shine.
Pair with Mexican-inspired toppings like salsa and avocado, or go with traditional ketchup and mustard. Either way, you’ll be happy.
2. Simple Stewed Pinto Beans and Collard Greens
If you’re on the hunt for unique yet healthy dinner ideas, this recipe is sure to impress!
Mix stewed pinto beans with lightly cooked collard greens, and add a drizzle of tahini to keep this dish light.
It’s insanely healthy and also carb-free!
3. Crockpot Taco Soup
Who doesn’t love an easy Crock Pot meal? This slow cooker taco soup has all the flavor of taco Tuesday without the fuss.
Use any meat you like (I love chicken to keep it light), or omit the meat to keep it vegetarian.
With all those beans, it’s certainly hearty enough without it!
The secret ingredient to this crowd-pleasing dish is the pop of flavor from the Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet! Yum!
4. Sopa de Frijoles
Sopa de Frijoles translates simply to “bean soup.” It’s super popular in northern Mexico and southern Texas, and it’s insanely easy to whip up.
The ingredients in this dish are straightforward, but it’s still packed with tons of flavor.
To make it rich and creamy, blend some or all of the cooked soup. Or, skip this step if you want it chunky.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with fresh radishes for crunch.
5. Cowboy Chili
Nothing beats a good bowl of chili on a cold day.
I especially love this recipe because you can play around with the spices to suit your taste.
Oh, and it’s super easy to make!
Its base features beef broth, onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powder.
Add ground beef (or more beans to keep it vegetarian), and cook low and slow for at least an hour.
How easy is that?
6. Seven Layer Cornbread Salad
Check out this recipe if you want to be the breakout star of your next potluck!
This dish has everything from cornbread to savory pinto beans. The best part? It doesn’t require any time slaving over the stove!
Build your salad in a clear trifle bowl to impress your potluck guests. But, of course, the taste will do that no matter what bowl you use.
Opt for store-bought cornbread to save on time, or whip a batch of your own for that added touch of love.
7. Frito Pie
There’s a soft spot in my heart for Frito Pie. It comes together fast, and it’s super easy to make substitutions as needed.
The pie base uses a layer of Frito chips with a full cup of cheese. From there, top the pie with meat, pinto beans, and delicious seasonings.
If you want it vegetarian, swap meat for tofu “meat” crumbles or shredded potatoes.
8. Paula Deen’s Taco Soup
Paula Deen knows a thing or two about hearty dinners.
And this hearty soup seems to use everything in your kitchen cupboards. That said, it all comes together in delicious harmony.
I love topping taco soup with a dollop of sour cream or avocado for extra creaminess.
Oh, and we can’t forget the jalapeños!
9. Wendy’s Chili
What’s better than Wendy’s Chili on a cold day? How about Wendy’s chili without leaving the house?
To capture the essence of this classic fast-food fave, you’ll need pinto and kidney beans, diced tomatoes, vinegar, green peppers, onion, and seasonings.
The secret ingredient of this chili lies in ground beef. But, instead of using plain old ground beef, use hamburger patties instead!
This infuses your chili with a fabulous, heart-warming smoky flavor.
10. Quick Taco Salad
Need a taco fix without the heavy carbs? Try this yummy taco salad!
As the name suggests, it whips up in a flash. And it’s an excellent option if you don’t have the energy to make dinner.
It’s incredibly filling with a leafy green base and a hearty helping of beef and beans. Plus, you can dress up your salad however you like!
Add a dollop of sour cream with avocado and a handful of Fritos or tortilla chips. Finish with a drizzle of lime juice, and you have a simple yet filling meal!
11. Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans
These sweet and spicy baked beans give your BBQ ribs a run for their money!
The beans get a spicy kick from the chopped, canned chipotle chilis, Dijon mustard, and sweet notes from a secret ingredient.
What’s the secret? Peaches!
I know it sounds strange but adding this summery fruit helps lift the smokey and spicy notes from the bacon and beans.
Take them to your next BBQ, and be prepared to share this unique recipe.
12. Dutch Oven Pinto Beans (Refried Beans)
Buying canned refried beans is fine if you’re in a time crunch. However, canned pinto beans are often flavorless and don’t add much to your meal.
Luckily, making refried beans at home is super simple and a terrific way to elevate taco night!
To infuse flavor into the beans, cook a diced onion in a 1/4 cup of lard or bacon drippings.
Sure, it’s not healthy, but it takes these beans to the next level!
13. Bean and Cheese Burritos
These bean and cheese burritos are impossibly filling with some incredible flavors.
The mix of rice and beans, along with Mexican seasoning, packed quite a punch.
Top-tip: make sure the tortilla is warm before rolling. It makes them more pliable and less likely to tear.
14. Butternut Squash Quinoa Chili
This fun take on classic chili adds a generous helping of extra nutrition from quinoa and butternut squash.
If you are tired of the same old chili recipes, this option is a great way to spice up dinner!
It’s rich, hearty, and low in calories. So, go ahead and have a second bowl.
15. Smoky Southern Baked Beans
These smoky, flavorful baked beans are loaded with molasses, dark brown sugar, and bacon fat, making them insanely rich.
It’s important to note that there are a lot of ingredients in this dish.
So, be sure to make a checklist of all of everything you need before setting off for the grocery store.
And while the ingredient list is long, it’s well worth the extra effort. This dish is so packed with flavor that it’s likely to steal the show.
16. Crockpot Mexican Chicken
Crock Pot Mexican chicken? Yes, please.
This chicken dish gives me some serious buffalo chicken dip vibes. It’s an excellent recipe for those lazy fall evenings, and it’s super satisfying to boot.
Pop the ingredients (chicken, salsa, cream cheese, pinto beans, seasoning) into a slow cooker and set it on low.
Omit the cream cheese to keep calories low.
17. Chicken Enchiladas
These chicken enchiladas are a wonderful weekday meal that comes together fast.
They also freeze incredibly well, so you can make a big batch and freeze them ahead of time.
The filling calls for chicken, pinto beans, onions, green chiles, and shredded cheese.
Fill the tortillas, cover them with your favorite enchilada sauce, top with cheese, and pop in the oven.
Serve with a side of Mexican rice, a nice salad, or classic chips and salsa.
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