"Black or pinto beans?" is a question burrito-loving people hear whenever they stop by Chipotle for their weekly fix. We may have grown up with the "Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit" song and the lyrics "the more you eat, the more you toot," but we're so glad that we've shed that mentality because beans are actually pretty great. Along with improving gut and heart health, beans are full of vitamins and nutrients and act as a great source of protein—something that comes in handy for vegetarians.
With so many to choose, from red beans to black-eyed peas to pinto beans, it can be hard to know which is best. Continue reading for a battle of the beans as we dish on which packs the most nutritional value. It's the mighty black bean against the small red bean, kidney bean, and pinto bean. Game on.
Small red beans vs. black beans nutrition
Starting with appearance, small red beans have a somewhat firm texture (perfect for serving with rice), red skin, and small, oval shape. On the flip side, black beans are a black matte with a medium, oval shape. They are great to use in burritos, rice, and tacos. Both provide a delicate flavor and texture, although black beans are known to be sweeter.
As for the nutritional value, black beans appear to have the upper hand, as they are high in magnesium and antioxidants and pack more fiber than small red beans. One cup of black beans is roughly around 227 calories, making it the perfect accompaniment to many healthy dishes. It's also a great protein. Red beans, while still healthy and beneficial for the body, contain less fiber and iron. Just be careful with how you prepare both types of beans, as certain cooking methods can reduce the nutritional value.
Black beans vs. kidney beans nutrition
Kidney beans are a common bean found in popular dishes that take a while to cook, such as chilis and soups. There is a big difference in appearance between black beans and red kidney beans. For instance, one is red and kidney shaped, while the other is black and oval. We've given the details on the black bean's nutritional value; it's time for the red. Kidney beans are a popular choice for substituting protein (one cup carries about 15 grams of protein!), and they are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, folate, copper, and potassium, among others. Just be careful because raw or improperly cooked kidney beans could be toxic.
Black beans vs. pinto beans nutrition
Pinto beans are one of the most consumed beans in the United States. That counts for something, right? Its appearance can be described as mottled beige and brown skin with a medium, oval shape. When cooked, the color becomes a light pink. You can use them as a meal of its own or as a topping to many popular Mexican dishes, such as burritos, rice, or corn tortillas. Despite common misconceptions, pinto beans are not the same as Roman beans. This is because Roman beans, also known as cranberry beans, are smooth and oval in shape with dark red speckles. They make a good addition to pasta and salads.
Pinto beans' nutritional value when compared to black beans is actually quite similar. Both offer a similar calorie count, packed with all the usual benefits: high fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals. The biggest difference that gives black beans an edge is that pinto beans are heavier in carbs and fat due to the starch content.
So, the next time you go to top that burrito with delicious beans, you can feel good about it regardless of which you pick. Black bean, small red bean, kidney bean, or pinto bean, the gang all provide a whole lot of texture, flavor, and health benefits that have you coming back for more (especially when accompanied with guac).
- The San Diego Union-Tribune: Nutrition Wise: Which Beans Are Best, Black, Kidney or Garbanzo?
- Diffen: Black Beans vs. Pinto Beans
- Healthline: The 9 Healthiest Beans and Legumes You Can Eat
- Medical News Today: What Are the Health Benefits of Beans?
- The Bean Institute: What Type of Bean Should I Use?
- The University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences: Pinto Beans
- Healthline: Kidney Beans 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
- Michigan Bean Commission: Small Red Bean
- Fine Cooking: Cranberry Beans
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.