Pinto Bean Balls



Pinto beans are such beautiful legumes; looking at them, it seems like each bean has different numbers and positions of dark red spots. Many, many years ago Spanish people named these legumes pinto beans, which literally means painted beans. And they really do look like some great artist decorated each one of the fabulous tiny seed. Unfortunately, people eat only cooked beans, and during the cooking process pinto beans loose their crazy spots. Nevertheless, they still offer us many nutritive goodies. Pinto beans are especially rich in dietary fibers and proteins, and being low in cholesterol, these bean balls are just the perfect food choice for vegetarians and vegans.

If you are lucky, you can purchase fresh beans on the market, but usually we use canned and dried pinto beans. If you are interested to try this bean balls recipe, use dried beans instead of the canned ones – it just isn’t the same thing if the canned beans are used.

Pinto Bean Balls
  • 2 big or 3 smaller leaks
  • 500 grams dried pinto beans
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of finely cut parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of curry
  • half a teaspoon of dried oregano (or Italian seasonings)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • flour
  • colander
  • pot
  • larger cooking pot
  • heavy-bottomed pot
  • sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • frying pan
  • bean masher
  • spoon
  • plate
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  1. Rinse the beans well under running water, then put them into a larger pot, cover with triple amount of water, and let it soak over night (8 hours at least). Rinse the soaked beans again in the morning. When you are ready to cook them, put them into a larger cooking pot, add about double amount of water, cover and bring them to a boil. Let them simmer until they are cooked. Time of the beans cooking varies; it can be done in 40 minutes and up to an hour, so check frequently if they are done by poking them with the fork. When they become soft and a bit mushy, turn the heat off, pour the excess water, cover the pot, and let it cool a bit.
  2. When you put the beans to cook rinse the rice, put it in a heavy-bottomed pot, pour two cups of water, cover with the lid and cook on low heat for approximately 20 minutes, then remove it from heat and let it rest covered for additional 15 minutes.
  3. While the beans and rice are cooling, prepare the leeks. Leek is one tricky vegetable to clean. It can hide a little bit of dirt here and there very successfully, so you should cut it lengthwise twice and wash thin leek stripes under plenty of running water. (If you purchased big leeks, they usually have one or two tough outer leaves, which should not be used in this recipe). Cut them into fine stripes 1 in / 1.5 cm long. Heat the olive oil over a low heat in a frying pan and sauté the leeks for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they turn soft and tender. Stir in sweet smoked paprika, turn off the heat, and let it cool.
  4. Put the pinto beans in a larger bowl and mash them roughly with the bean masher. Add the leeks, rice, parsley leaves, curry, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper. Blend well all the ingredients. Now taste it and add more seasoning if you like. Add egg, and mix it again. Let the mixture cool for at least 1 hour in a refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C.
  6. Take the mixture out of refrigerator; put some flour in a plate and using a spoon scoop the small amount of a mixture into the plate – the balls should be approximately big as a ping pong balls. Roll the mixture in a plate to cover it with flour first, then take it into your hands and form into smooth bean ball. Place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. These bean balls from the oven will come a little bit dry and hard, but when topped with some nice sour cream sauce, and some green salad on the side, they will be just the perfect main dish. Also, the bean balls recipe can easy become vegan, if you replace that one egg with some eggs substitute, like the ground flax seeds.


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