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Pinto Bean Salad

Lisa Kalabokis

Soups & Sides
All seasons

"These days, it seems like everybody has a can of beans hanging around in their pantry. 

This recipe can be made with any variety of bean you may have — black, white, kidney or even garbanzo beans, making this bean salad one of our favorites! This is a great recipe to cook with kids, as it doesn’t require any cooking and  is incredibly versatile. Kids will also have the opportunity to make their very own homemade vinaigrette, giving this recipe the flavor punch it needs while providing the opportunity to learn a new skill."

-Lisa Kalabokis

Little Chef recipe involvement:

Kids ages 3-6: Make the vinaigrette! In a mason or glass jar with a tight fitting lid, combine all vinaigrette ingredients and shake vigorously. Watch as the vinaigrette slowly begins to separate after shaking the contents. Be sure to shake again before dressing the salad.

Kids 7 and up: Complete this recipe with adult supervision. Refer to Chef Lisa’s knife skills videos for dicing and mincing

Food for thought:

Ask your kids these questions while cooking this recipe!

  • Name other types of beans. (Answer: kidney, black, garbanzo, navy, red, lima, to name a few.)

Download the full recipe + market shopping list.


For the dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider, white or red wine)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons green garlic, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 charred poblano pepper, small dice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • ½ small yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chiffonade
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Make the dressing — Combine or blend all ingredients together in a blender. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside.

  2. For the salad — Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, except for cilantro and salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Top with cilantro and toss to combine.

  3. Serve cold or at room temperature. The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Yield: 4 servings.

Tips: Don’t like spicy food? No problem! Remove pepper pith and seeds by simply using a small spoon and scraping the inside of the chili until they have freed themselves from the pepper’s flesh. Remember to wear gloves and/or wash your hands thoroughly when working with chili peppers.

Hint: Cilantro stems are completely edible. Simply mince them finely and incorporate into your salad along with the leaves.

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