Frijoles de la Olla (Mexican Pinto Beans with a Twist!)

Here’s an authentic Mexican beans recipe for frijoles de la olla. Essentially, these are Mexican pinto beans infused with the flavor of epazote leaves, which gives them a distinct flavor that is a little unusual, but very delicious, which is why I’ve decided to share this recipe with you! I’ve read that in large amounts, epazote can actually be poisonous, a little bit like alcohol, but that’s certainly not going to be the case with this recipe. With that tidbit out of the way, here we go:

Ingredients (serves 6 people as Mexican side dishes):

250g pinto beans
salt (2 table spoons)
1/4 white onion (medium size)
2 garlic cloves
10 branches of epazote (this herb is the special flavor that makes this entire dish what it is. It’s indiginous to Mexico, so you’re going to find it at the latin market/hispanic grocery store. If really can’t find it, then you’ll have to leave it out of the recipe because there isn’t really anything that can replace it flavor-wise.)


1. Use a Mexican clay pot (I know there’s a special name for these but it’s not coming to mind for me right now–like the one in the photo, above. Some call would just call this an “olla”, but there’s a more specific name…) to make this if you have access to one, otherwise use a normal pot, soak your pinto beans for as long as you can (overnight if you can). This will dramatically reduce the cooking time, which is a good thing whenever you’re cooking beans from scratch!

2. When you’re three or so hours out from serving dinner, it’s time to start cooking the beans. Start by adding the onion, garlic, epazote, and salt to the pot, along with an amount of water that is about 3x the depth of the pinto beans in the pot.

3. Cook the beans. This will take a couple of hours. You’re going to have to fill up the pot with water again a few times throughout this process, so stay near while they’re cooking. You’ll know they’re done when the beans are tender and soft to eat (you’ll have to test them to be able to tell).

4. Serve and enjoy your traditional, delicious side dish of epazote flavored Mexican pinto beans! Provecho!

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