Healthy crock pot pinto beans are perfect for tortillas/burritos or nachos, and you can always serve them with bacon or cooked beef. Beans are rich source of protein and fiber and have low percent of health. Vegetarians use beans as a replacement for meat.
- 1 pound dry pinto beans — 2 cups
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion — chopped into 1/4-inch dice
- one jalapeno — cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt — divided
- 3 cloves garlic — minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- one teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper — optional
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth — or vegetable broth divided
- For serving: queso fresco or shredded Monterey jack cheese — diced tomatoes, diced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado (optional)
Place the pinto beans in a large colander. Thoroughly rinse them. Pick the beans over, removing any damaged or clearly misshapen beans and discarding them. Transfer the rinsed beans to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. After that add the onion, jalapeno, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Also Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and let cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. As a result transfer to the slow cooker. Add the sautéed vegetables, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and remaining teaspoon salt. Pour the broth and water over the top.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 to 10 hours, until the beans are tender. All slow cookers are different and can heat things differently, so if yours tends to run hot, check it earlier on. Depending upon your model, there may be some liquid still in the slow cooker. Discard the bay leaves.
FOR REGULAR PINTO BEANS (not refried): Drain the liquid if you like, or leave the liquid in the crock pot and serve the beans with it (I like them a bit soupy over rice), or use a slotted spoon for serving and drain the beans at the end prior to storing. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
REFRIED BEANS ADVICES: Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the beans, and return them to the slow cooker (if you don’t have that much liquid in your slow cooker, you can use regular water instead). With a potato masher or pastry cutter, mash the beans until they reach your desired consistency, adding some of the reserved liquid as needed. (You can also scoop the beans into a blender in batches and puree them that way—be sure to let the beans cool somewhat first so that they do not splatter). Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Sprinkle with any desired toppings, serve, and enjoy!