Pinquito Beans & Okra

Pinquito beans are small pink beans from the Santa Maria Valley on the Central Coast of California, where I spent 22 years living and raising my kids. To the best of my knowledge, they are not grown anywhere else. Imagine my excitement when I found a bean company that ships them all over the US! (thank you Rancho Gordo) Pinquitos have a distinct strong bean taste and firm texture. I like to think of them as small but mighty. Like all beans, they are an incredibly healthy part of your diet. It is so important to eat a variety of legumes, if not daily then several times a week. I promise, the side effects will go away in a couple of weeks.

For this recipe, I wanted to keep it really simple. I wanted the beans to be the super star. I cooked a big pot of the soaked beans the day before, using a few bay leaves, large onion, salt, pepper and cumin. The next day was spent pondering how I wanted to fix them for dinner. Tacos? Over rice? Bean Curry? Finally, I decided to stick to my Southern roots and make them with okra. I’m sure many of you cringe at the thought of slimy okra but I assure you, this recipe is slime free. Okra adds a creamy texture along with a ton more health benefits than beans alone. I recommend frozen cut okra to make life a little easier and I also threw in a cup of frozen sweet corn. There is no shame in buying frozen veggies, by the way. If it helps you save time then do it! Sometimes I think we get caught up in thinking we have to live up to these standards that we see on t.v or you tube videos or from a health guru, and that’s often not realistic. Let’s give ourselves a break and take the easy route when it benefits us. Ok, soap box moment over, back to the recipe.

This pot of beans made 3 different dinners as well as a couple lunches. Very budget friendly. On my 3rd night I made taco’s with the leftover beans with okra. I finely shredded some purple cabbage soaked with a squeeze of lemon and salt, sharp cheddar and salsa. They were delicious. You can sub any kind of lettuce or spinach for the cabbage, (omit lemon) toss on some onion or tomatoes. Use what you already have. Now for the recipe:

4 cups cooked pinquito beans (use small red beans if you can't get pinquitos)
1 cup frozen okra
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup water
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 T garlic- fresh or jarred
optional- salsa for garnish

In a medium saucepan simmer all the ingredients over medium heat for 10 minutes, to marry the flavors. Top with salsa or serve over rice. I paired mine with a side of sautéed yellow squash and onions. If you still have leftovers, make tacos the following night!

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