Turkish Beans: Pinto Beans in Olive Oil

High angle view of beans in a bowl
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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
297 Calories
12g Fat
38g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 297
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 479mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 12g 42%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 12mg 61%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 741mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There's nothing like the color and texture of fresh-picked pinto beans. Their cream-colored hulls covered with lovely speckles ranging from pink to purple make preparing and cooking this dish a pleasure. No one knows this feeling better than Turkish cooks. Different varieties of fresh and dried beans are staples in Turkish cuisine. It's no wonder that in Turkey you can find so many delicious recipes with beans.

This recipe for pinto beans, or in Turkish, barbunya (bar-BOON'-yah), cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and carrots are no exception. It makes a perfect, lighter alternative to sugary baked beans. This is a perfect accompaniment hot dogs, sausages, and other barbecue favorites—the only difference is that they're served cold. Pinto beans in olive oil also make a great side dish or buffet platter.

Vegetarians and vegans take note: Pinto beans are very high in protein and fiber so this dish can also be eaten alone as a meatless main course. In this recipe, fresh pinto beans work the best, but depending on the season, you can also use dried or even canned pinto beans. If you choose to use dried beans, soak them in water overnight, then rinse well and cook them in a pressure cooker according to the directions until tender. Then, use in the recipe. For canned pinto beans, rinse them under a lot of cold water. Make the recipe without the beans and let the liquid cook down. Add the rinsed beans about 10 minutes before you're ready to serve. Canned beans are delicate so stir them in gently with a wooden spoon.


  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh pinto beans, in their hulls, or 1 pound hulled, fresh pinto beans

  • 1 large onion, finely diced

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 to 4 large cloves garlic

  • 2 to 3 fresh tomatoes, grated, to make about 1 cup

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced into small cubes

  • 3 rounded tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. First, peel and dice your onion and garlic and put them in a covered saucepan along with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until they're soft and reduced.

  2. Add the beans, carrots, grated tomato, tomato paste, sugar, and spices. Add enough water to just cover the beans and stir until combined.

  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let the beans simmer gently until much of the water is reduced and the beans and carrots are tender.

  4. When the beans are tender, turn off the heat and let the pan cool down. After it cools, spoon the beans gently onto your serving plate. Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the top.

  5. Cover with cling wrap and chill until ready to serve.

  6. Just before serving, sprinkle the top with your chopped Italian parsley leaves for garnish.