Growing up, my sister and I spent a lot of time with our Grandparents. My Grandma loved to cook and one of her favorite dishes to make was a big pot of pinto beans.
As I watched her cook, she would explain to me the step by step process to cooking the perfect pot of beans. She would always tell me that the most important step was to not add salt until the beans were completely cooked. If you added salt before they were done, it would make the beans hard.
She loved to tell me stories of her childhood growing up in Statesville, NC. She grew up in a very poor family. They rarely had money to buy meat, which they considered a luxury.
She told me that as an inexpensive substitute for protein, they cooked pinto beans many times a week. Pinto beans are a great source of both protein and fiber. They also contain high amounts of B Vitamins…Thiamin, Roboflavin and Niacin. As an added bonus, they are rich in Folate, Magnesium and Potassium.
Traditionally, I have always cooked pinto beans the same way my Grandma taught me…simmering for hours and seasoned with either a ham hock or fatback. This is definitely not the most healthy or practical way to cook when you are trying to lose weight and are headed out to church.
I started looking for a more healthy recipe that I could make in the crockpot. I came across a couple recipes and combined some of their ingredients to suit our family’s tastes. We…well, mostly me, like things with a lot of flavor and SPICY!
The best part of cooking the beans in a crockpot is that you literally just dump all the ingredients in, add the water, put the lid on and turn on the heat. There is no watching and adding more water and constant monitoring.
I love a lot of flavor in my beans. I decided to add chopped onion, fresh garlic, ground chipotle pepper, crushed red pepper and black pepper.
After the beans were finished cooking, I felt like they were missing something. They tasted good but not great. I added my secret ingredient…beef broth base. It was a great addition to add that necessary meat flavor but without the added fat from the ham hock or fatback that I normally used.
I added a couple shakes of salt and Creole Seasoning right before I took them out of the crockpot. These beans were flavorful but not heavy tasting because they were not cooked in fat.
My Grandma used to eat them plain with a green onion on the side and salt on the table to dip the onion in. I prefer to eat mine topped with fresh chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, reduced fat sour cream and skim milk cheese.
Out of my 3 boys, one loved them and ate 2 helpings. My husband actually loved them and requested a 2nd helping as well with all of the toppings! I hope that you enjoy!
1LB. Bag of Dried Pinto Beans
1 Onion – Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves – Diced
1 TSP. Ground Chipotle Pepper
1 TSP. Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 TSP. Black Pepper
7 1/2 CUPS Water
Salt or Creole Seasoning To Taste (After the Beans Are Done)
2 TBSP. Beef Broth Seasoning (Optional)
Optional Toppings – Diced Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Reduced Fat Sour Cream & Cheese
Place dried beans in bottom of crockpot.
Add chopped onion and diced garlic, along with your dried spices.
Add water and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. The longer the beans cook, the more they will absorb the water.
After the beans are finished, season with beef broth seasoning, salt and creole seasoning.
You can eat these plain or topped with any/all of the optional toppings.