Monday, July 23, 2012

Slow Cooker Recipe for Spicy Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos

In this Slow Cooker Recipe for Spicy Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos, pinto beans and swiss chard cook in the slow cooker to make a delicious filling for vegetarian burritos.

Slow Cooker Recipe for Spicy Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos found on

I think it was a recipe I came across for swiss chard sauteed with cumin (plus an abundance of swiss chard in the garden) that inspired me to create this slow cooker recipe for a spicy vegetarian mixture of pinto beans, swiss chard, spices, and salsa that's stuffed into burritos.  These Slow Cooker Spicy Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos are definitely one of those recipes that produces a somewhat unphotogenic mixture when it comes out of the slow cooker, but if you like swiss chard and pinto beans, please don't let that keep you from making this.  I loved the combination of flavors with the pintos and swiss chard, and other than chopping the swiss chard a little smaller next time, this was a lucky recipe experiment where I wouldn't change a thing!

Definitely these burritos are a perfect Meatless Monday main dish, and if you skip the cheese or use some type of vegan cheese, this recipe could be easily be made vegan. The recipe makes quite a bit, and I froze the extra filling for an easy dinner another time.

(You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)

I have a good post about cooking dried beans in a slow cooker, and soaking is optional, but I did soak these beans overnight to be sure they wouldn't take too long for such a large amount of beans.

The next day drain the beans, add 6 cups fresh water, ground cumin, garlic powder, and a chopped onion.

Cook the beans on high until they are quite soft.  For me this was a little over 4 hours, but the age of the beans will affect how long they take to cook.  When the beans are done, drain them, saving 1/4 of the cooking water.

Stir in the salsa and hot sauce into the beans and continue to cook while you chop and wash the chard.

Cut off chard stems, stack up the leaves, and slice then chop the chard leaves until you have 6-8 cups of chopped chard leaves.  (If you're using garden chard, wash it in a salad spinner after it's chopped.  Next time I would chop it a bit more than shown in this photo.

Add the chard to the slow cooker, pressing down to get it all in if needed, cover the cooker and continue to cook and let the chard wilt.)

When the chard has all wilted down (about 30-45 minutes) stir to combine, cover and cook about another hour on high.

Here's the unphotogenic mixture I warned you about after the beans and chard have all cooked together.  If the mixture seems dry at this point, add the 1/4 cup of cooking water you saved.

I can't seem to find large burrito sized tortillas that are low carb, so I use these soft taco sized ones and consider two small burritos to be a serving.

You'll need about some thinly sliced green onion and grated mozzarella blend to make the finished burritos.

Warm the tortilla in the microwave for a few seconds, then spread on about 1/3 cup of the filling mixture, a sprinkle of cheese, and some green onions.

Fold up the bottom to make the end of the burrito, then fold the sides in and serve, with extra hot sauce if desired.

Slow Cooker Spicy Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos
(Makes about 12 small burritos; can be cut in half but the mixture freezes well.  Recipe created by Kalyn.)

1 lb. dry pinto beans (2 heaping cups)
6 cups water
1 chopped onion
1 T ground cumin
1 T garlic powder
1 1/2 cup salsa (I used Pace Picante Sauce medium)
1 tsp. salt
2-4 T Cholula hot sauce (or other hot sauce of your choice; hot sauce is optional but I liked the spiciness of this.)
6-8 cups chopped swiss chard leaves
1 pkg. whole wheat or low carb flour tortillas (I used soft taco size which made small burritos)
low-fat grated mozzarella blend cheese (for making finished burritos; I used about 2 T per burrito)
thinly sliced green onions (for making finished burritos; I used about 1 T per burrito)

I recommend pre-soaking the beans for best results, but if you forget to soak them, add 1-2 hours more time for cooking the beans.  I used a Crock-Pot 5-Quart Smart-Pot Slow Cooker for this recipe so I could fit a generous amount of chard into the slow cooker.)

Soak beans overnight in cold water to cover by several inches.  (I just soaked them in the crockery part of the slow cooker.)  The next day, drain beans, then add them back to the slow cooker with 6 cups water, onion, ground cumin, and garlic powder.  Cook on high until beans are quite soft.  (I cooked my soaked beans for a little over 4 hours to get them as soft as I preferred.  Unsoaked beans or beans that aren't fresh may take a couple hours longer for this step.)

When the beans are soft, drain them and return to the slow cooker, saving 1/4 cup of the bean cooking water.  Add the salsa, salt, and hot sauce (if using) and let beans continue to cook on high while you chop and wash the swiss chard.  Cut off chard stems, stack up some chard leaves, and then slice and chop the leaves until you have 6-8 cups of chopped leaves.  If you're using garden chard, wash with a salad spinner.

Put the chopped chard leaves in the slow cooker, pressing down to get them all in if needed.  Cover the slow cooker and continue to cook on high to wilt the leaves.  When they're all wilted (about 30-45 minutes) stir to combine and then continue to cook the beans and chard leaves about an hour longer, or until the chard leaves are very soft and beans are nearly falling apart.  Check to see if the mixture seems dry and add the saved cooking water if needed.

Instructions for Assembling Burritos:
Thinly slice enough green onions for the number of burritos you're making.  Have grated low-fat mozzarella blend cheese ready.  Heat a tortilla in the microwave for a few minutes (or for making a lot of burritos at once, I like to wrap them in a double layer of aluminum foil and heat in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.)  Lay the softened burrito on a plate or cutting board, add about 1/3 cup of the bean/chard filling mixture, spreading it in a line from the outside edge of the tortilla to about 2/3 of the way down (leaving about 1/3 of the end to fold up to hold the mixture inside.)  Top with about 2 T grated cheese and 1 T thinly sliced green onions (plus extra hot sauce if desired.)  Fold up the end of the burrito, then fold in the sides over the end so you have one open end and one end that's closed to keep the filling in.  Serve hot.

The burrito mixture and extra tortillas will freeze well if you don't eat this all right away.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Lots of people don't realize that low-glycemic dried beans are permitted for all phase of the South Beach Diet.  Of course with the tortillas, this recipe would be Phase 2 or 3 for South Beach Dieters, and it's also important to choose whole wheat or low-carb tortillas and use low-fat cheese.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Slow Cooker Spicy Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos found on

More Tasty Vegetarian Bean Dishes in the Slow Cooker:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Slow Cooker Cuban Style Black Beans and Rice from Andrea Meyers

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Lime from Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Black Beans with Sofrito and Chilantro from The Perfect Pantry

Slow Cooker Black Beans with Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Mung Beans and Rice with Indian Spices and Caramelized Onions from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. I love adding greens to my burrito fillings and the fact that this is all cooked in the slow cooker is awesome! Makes life so much easier.

  2. Just what I want to eat right now Kalyn. You never fail to make my mouth water. Pity I don't have the ingredients to make them today. To-do-list it is then.

  3. Hey Kalyn, what a hearty satisfying meal! I'm thinking dinner tonight. :)

  4. I am a Swiss chard lover, although I've heard so many people that are puzzled by what to do with it. Great idea, putting them into these vegetarian burritos!

  5. I love that you added greens inside. You are the queen of all things beautiful AND healthy!

  6. Thanks everyone. I am so happy to find some fellow chard fans who appreciate this.

  7. this recipe seems great and i bookmarked this page so i can make it hopefully soon
    uh, but, one thing, did you mean cholula hot sauce? i've never heard of chululu. i only ask because cholula is one of my favorite hot sauces
    also, i am a college student, is chard expensive/if it is is there a cheaper alternative?
    i bet the whole point is the flavor, so you probably couldn't substitute with spinach or something without compromising the dish

  8. rem, thanks so much; I did indeed mean to write Cholulu. You could substitute other sturdy green like kale or red kale for the chard if they're cheaper. Spinach is much softer, so if you use that I'd cook it only about 30 minutes in the slow cooker. Best thing is to find a farmer's market and get some cheap swiss chard or kale.

  9. so next question: being a bit of a hot sauce aficionado, is cholulu an awesome brand i should check out or is it cholulu for marketing/legal purposes?

  10. I thought you said it was one of your favorite hot sauces?

    Anyway, I'm not quite sure what you are asking, but if you're wondering if I mentioned that brand because it's a sponsored mention, I don't take money to mention products. I just mention the brands I personally use, and I do love Cholulu for Mexican dishes.

  11. No, Cholula ( is one of my favorite brands, but I have never tried Cholulu.

  12. What a great idea! Somehow I've never thought to do anything much with chard other than steam or saute and eat on its own as a side. You've opened my eyes. I'm about to embark on some chard experiments of my own!

  13. Rem, Oh my, I feel like an idiot. Of course it is supposed to say Cholula. Editing again!

  14. Wow! I never would have thought of pairing chard with pintos - another KK masterpiece!

  15. Thanks Donna! You are always so kind.

  16. Thanks Mimi. I loved it; lately I am dreaming up ways to use Cholula as I'm infatuated with it.

  17. I loved this post and have included it in my July 2012 roundup of meatless meals. Thanks for the fresh approach and the inspiration!

  18. These look delicious. I was recently given a free bad of fresh, organic groceries and there was some chard in the bag. I've never cooked with chard, so I'm looking for recipes and this should be perfect. There was also onions and green onions. How lucky is that?!

  19. My son has recently been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We use these same wraps for sandwiches. I'm always on the look out for low carb meals and meals that are low fat since fat can keep his blood sugar up way past meal time. Thank you.

  20. Glad the recipe is helpful for you!


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