Pinto beans and black beans are both legumes popular in central and south America. Both are members of the Fabaceae family.
Exploring the what's the difference between black beans vs pinto beans started with a definition.
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Pinto Beans vs Black Beans
Pinto beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris) are a type of bean that gets its name from their mottled appearance in shades of brown, yellow, and red. They have a slightly sweet flavor with earthy undertones and are often used to make refried beans, burritos, and Tex-Mex dishes.
Black beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris) also known as turtle beans, have an intense flavor with smoky and nutty notes. They are typically a small kidney shape with a glossy dark-grayish/black outside coating and a creamy inside texture. These versatile Latin American legumes can be used in soups, salads, stews, chili, tacos, or as a side dish.
Taste and Flavor
When it comes to black and pinto beans, the taste and flavor you find throughout southwestern and Caribbean dishes.
Pinto bean has a creamy texture; they offer a sweet edge with notes of earthiness that taste better, while black beans may offer an intense flavor profile, including smoky and nutty nuances.
Thanks to their ability to take on the flavors of other ingredients when cooked together, both types of legumes can be easily incorporated into any dish for added complexity and depth.
Regarding texture, Pinto Beans are typically softer than Black Beans and take a shorter time to prepare.
Additionally, the outer layer of black turtle bean is much firmer than Pinto beans - making them a great choice for salads or meals that require crunchiness.
However, in order not to dry up while being cooked, you should use ample amounts of liquid when cooking your pinto beans - as they have a tendency to soak up more moisture.
Appearance and Size
Distinguishable by their unique coloring, pinto beans boast an oval shape with brown and caramel spots, while black beans are small ovals that stay pitch-black when cooked.
After being heated, the flecked pinto bean transforms to a light brown shade, whereas the black beans are slightly steadfast in their midnight coloration.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Pinto and black beans are a nutritious addition to any diet, being a source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, they are low in calories yet high in essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, or vitamin B6.
While both types of legumes have similar nutritional content profiles overall, black bean varieties boast slightly higher levels of protein and dietary fiber – plus contain naturally occurring compounds that promote cardiovascular wellness.
Both are also low in purines, a naturally occurring chemical that can lead to gout and kidney stones.
Differences Between Black and Pinto Beans
Although both black beans and pinto beans are highly nutritious, there are subtle differences between them. As for the macronutrients, protein and fiber content is higher in black beans than in pintos.
Furthermore, due to its robust flavor profile, black beans tend to be used more often in heavier dishes, while pinto’s milder taste makes it perfect for lighter fare.
Cooking with Dried and Canned Beans
Both dried and canned pinto along with dried and canned black beans, can be used in various dishes. Dried beans need to be soaked overnight before cooking, while canned beans can be used directly from the can after rinsing.
Dried beans tend to have a firmer texture and a more pronounced flavor than canned beans, while canned beans are more convenient and slightly softer. Both options can be used in dishes like Gallo Pinto, a national dish of Costa Rica that combines rice, beans, and spices.
Popular Dishes with Pinto and Black Beans
Pinto bean is commonly used in dishes like refried beans (frijoles refritos), while black beans are often used in Caribbean dishes, black bean soup, and black bean burgers. Both beans are frequently used in Mexican dishes, salads, and bean dips.
Beans at Chipotle
At restaurants like Chipotle, pinto or black beans are popular choices for burritos, bowls, and tacos. The choice between the two often comes down to personal preference, as some people prefer the creamier texture of pinto beans, while others enjoy the firmer texture and richer taste of black beans.
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