Pinto Beans Vs. Red Beans – What’s The Difference?

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Beans are perhaps the most commonly used legumes in our diets; we eat them in many different dishes. They come in many different shapes and forms and give us the option to make plenty of tasty dishes that would have been simply impossible without these tasty, nutritious, and hearty food. But we never understood, how do most people choose between one bean on the other?

While some people may choose one bean over the other because of their taste, others might be impressed by how a certain type of bean looks or its nutritional composition. But no matter what kind of beans you choose, they all have certain nutritional benefits and essential nutrients to help the body grow, maintain, and build.

The Beans also taste good on top of that. But there are so many beans that it can get difficult to keep track and differentiate between them. And in this article, we will make things a little easier and differentiate Pinto beans from Red beans. So, please keep reading to find out more about these magical seeds!

How Are They Used?

Before we start talking about the differences in these beans, let’s take a moment and talk about how You can use pinto and Red beans. If you happen to be in a hurry, please skip to the end of this article, and you’ll find a summary of all the differences between these beans. So, what do people frequently use Red and Pinto beans for?

You can use beans in various ways; the options are endless. If you are a person that’s trying to avoid eating meat for some reason, then Beans can be a lifesaver for you. Beans have a good amount of proteins that can make up for the lost proteins due to low consumption of meat.

However, you can eat meat and still use beans in your diet; there is no specific requirement for consuming beans (imagine if there was). But before we use beans, we have first to soak, ferment, or sprout them; This is important because when the beans are in a dried state, they can have a buildup of anti-nutrients (yes, that’s a thing!). These anti-nutrients are the super-villains in the world of nutrition; once in the body, they may inhibit the absorption of essential nutrients.

Dishes Involving Pinto beans: 

  • Mexican Pinto bean
  • Sothern Pinto beans
  • Refried Pinto beans

Dishes Involving Red Beans: 

  • Certain types of Asian Desserts
  • Nato (made from fermented red beans)
  • Louisiana’s’ authentic Red bean and rice

Red Beans

Traditionally, Red Beans have always been grown in the Eastern Parts of Asia throughout history. These small and bright Beans are also known to many as the Adzuki beans, but it’s more convenient to call the red beans due to the ease of pronouncing the latter. Red beans have found their way in various cuisines; for instance, they can be found being used in the Caribbean and Cajun cuisine.

These Cuisines honor the traditional foods and use them in a way where their nutritional value is preserved. One example of such dish is the Classic Louisiana Beans and Rice. The Red Beans are perfect for these dishes because they might have a slightly nutty flavor with a bit of sweetness.

Additionally, their small size means that they won’t overwhelm the dishes you use them in, so if you are new to the world of legumes and beans, red beans might be the one for you. But keep in mind that the term red bean can refer to various plants, including the red variety of Kidney beans, Vigna Umbellata, and others, but we are using it here for Adzuki bean (scientific name: Vigna angularis).

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans might be among the most commonly grown and harvested beans in various parts of the world, including northern Mexico and parts of US. The name Pinto bean is given to these beans from the Spanish word judías pintas which can be translated as speckled beans. A similar name is also used for the speckled horse or Pinto horse.

Generally, Pinto beans can be mashed and refried or used as fillings for traditional Mexican dishes such as tacos and burritos. They are also eaten whole, usually simmered in hot broth. These beans have interesting names in different cultures. For instance, in South America, they are known as Strawberry beans (poroto frutilla). In Portuguese, they are named after a pig that resembles these beans (feijão carioca).

Before we cook these Beans, they usually have a simple speckled appearance, but that changes after cooking them. Their color changes to a pinkish-brown, and they become softer. Most people prefer to eat Pinto beans because of their ease of preparation and the variety of ways they can be made. And then there is always the option of buying canned beans and using them in your dishes; this makes it even easier to use and eliminates the need for soaking and cooking.

Nutritional comparison

Pinto beans and Red beans have almost the same amount of nutrients. The Difference lies in the number of calories each has; some of the other micro and macronutrients might also differ. There are around 245 kcals in 1 cup of cooked Pinto beans, while the same amount of Red beans has 294 Kcals.

However, the amount of fat is lower in Red beans with only 0.2 grams per 1 cup of cooked Red beans and 1.1 grams in the same Pinto Beans. Red beans have higher amounts of proteins, so if you are consuming these beans for the sake of getting more protein, Red Beans is the way to go.

So What’s the Difference Between Pinto Beans and Red Beans?

  • Red beans contain fewer calories in comparison with Pinto beans.
  • Pinto bean is widely eaten in Latin American and South American Cuisine, while Red beans have traditionally grown and are widely consumed in Asia.
  • Pinto beans have a speckled appearance, while red beans have a solid red color.