Pinto Bean and Corn Dip with Cilantro

Chris Kimball has five bean dip recipes in this month’s issue of Cook’s Illustrated. As I mentioned earlier, I made this Latin version of a bean dip for Cinco de Mayo. It came out fabulous, and was not a lot of work. This recipe included enough fresh ingredients; corn, cilantro and lime; to prevent it from becoming dense and pasty like most bean dips. 4-stars. I still plan to try another of his bean dip recipes, probably his Butter Bean and Pea Dip with Mint or Pink Bean and Lima Bean Dip with Parsley.

Latin-style bean dip


  1. I already had 1/2 bag of dried pinto beans in my cupboard, which I used in lieu of the canned pinto beans specified in the original recipe. I soaked the dried beans in salt water overnight, rinsed them the next afternoon and cooked them for about 45 minutes until they were tender. I substituted some olive oil for the two tablespoons of reserved bean liquid. However, I still left the canned beans in the recipe below, because canned beans make more sense in a recipe that lacks a long cooking time.
  2. I used regular plain yogurt rather than Greek yogurt, because that’s what I already had in my kitchen.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $3.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low.
Started: 3:00 PM.  Ready at:  4:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

1 small garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup frozen corn
1 can pinto beans (15-ounce)
1 scallion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Table salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
Extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Remove your corn from the freezer and allow to thaw.
  2. Peel the garlic and press it into a small bowl, then mix together with lime juice and zest. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Pat the corn dry with paper towels, and reserve 2 tablespoons for later as a garnish. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bean packing liquid by adding to the bowl of a food processor, then rise the beans. Cut your scallions in two ways, first cut the white and light-green parts into 1/2″ pieces. Second, slice the darker green part thin and on a bias.
  4. Add the following to the bowl of the food processor: rinsed pinto beans, corn (except for the reserved garnish), white and light-green parts of scallion, cilantro, 3/4 teaspoon table salt, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and lime/garlic mixture. Pulse between 5 and 10 times until completely ground. Scrape down sides of food processor with a rubber spatula. Continue processing for 1 minutes, scraping down sides of food processor two more times.
  5. Add yogurt and process for 15 more seconds.
  6. Empty into a serving bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to serving.
  7. Sprinkle with salt according to your taste. Top with remaining corn and scallion greens. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

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