Recipe: Red Bean Stew

To celebrate Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, try this baked kidney bean recipe.

Beans are a staple food in many Latin American cultures around the world. Cooked kidney beans, usually served with rice, make a delicious protein-rich meal. It is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium and potassium.

This recipe calls for the addition of sofrito and sazon, which is considered a staple in Latin Caribbean cuisine. They lend an abundance of flavor to many dishes. Making your own sofrito and sazon at home is quick and easy to prepare and puts you in control of ingredients, like salt. Packaged dried beans can be used, or for a quick and healthy meal, canned beans will work just as delicious.

This simple recipe can be included in any vegetarian or vegan diet.

Ingredients for the cooked red beans:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp minced garlic or 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 oz calabaza (West Indian pumpkin) or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces carrots, chopped
  • 1 jar of pimientos, drained and finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito (mashed condiments) (see homemade recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons sazon seasoning (see homemade recipe below)
  • 1 whole oregano leaf
  • 2 sprigs of fresh cilantro, torn
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 cans (15.5 oz each) kidney beans


  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Cook the onions, garlic, bell pepper, pumpkin, carrots and peppers. Stir occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, sofrito and sazon seasoning. Cook and stir occasionally, until the tomato mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in beans and 1/3 cup water. Add the oregano leaf, coriander and salt.
  • Cover the pan and cook until the pumpkin is tender, but not mushy. Stir occasionally.
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the lid and continue cooking the beans until the sauce thickens to your preference, about 10 minutes. Or add more water for a runnier consistency.
  • Serve with rice and a side of vegetables.

Sofrito recipe:

  • (for a single meal) Increase ingredients for larger quantities and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green peppers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pepper or cubanelle peppers, chopped
  • 2 small coriander leaves (or coriander leaves), chopped


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl or blender and blend until smooth

Seasoning Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground annatto (achiote)


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Store the extra spice mix in an airtight container.

Next steps and resources:

  • Recipe shared by oncology dietitians at the John Theurer Cancer Center

The material provided by HealthU is intended to be used for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your doctor for individual care.

Michael M. Tomlin