A small, flavorful bean with reddish-brown streaks on a pale pink background (pinto is Spanish for "painted"). Pinto beans are popular throughout the United States and most Spanish-speaking countries. They're often served with rice or used in soups and stews. The pinto can be used interchangeably with the pink bean, which is lighter in color prior to cooking but looks the same afterwards. Both the pinto and pink bean are commonly used in the preparation of refried beans and chili con carne. Pintos are available canned and dried year-round. They are also called red Mexican beans. See also beans.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.