Recipe courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Pinto Bean Soup with Salsa Fresca

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 20 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 2 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Salsa Fresca:

3 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped

Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tablespoon)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bean Soup:

1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans

7 cups water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 medium onions, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water

1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche, for garnish


  1. To make the salsa, mix all the ingredients together in a glass bowl. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and reserve, covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the beans and water in a soup pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the beans are soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onions, salt and pepper together, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes longer. Add the beans and their liquid, and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree in batches until smooth. Keep warm in a pot over low heat, stirring frequently, until ready to serve. Serve in warm soup bowls with a spoonful of the salsa fresca and a dollop of sour cream.