Chipotle baked beans with cilantro pesto 

Chipotle baked beans with cilantro pesto recipe with Primary Beans Ayocote Morado beans


This recipe was just made for the plump, sturdy, and creamy nature of our Ayocote beans (Morado or Blanco). These large beans really shine when bathed in the smoky chipotle-tomato sauce and topped with bright cilantro pesto. Plus, it’s a meal in and of itself and the components can be prepared ahead of time. This recipe comes from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, a Bay Area author we have admired for over a decade for her fresh and delicious approach to plant-based eating. Her key tip for wonderful beans at home? “Buy beans from a place that has good turnover, or from a farmer or company you know and trust. Buying beans that have been sitting around or stored for years can be a problem.”

Which beans to use? Large, substantial beans like Ayocote Morado or Ayocote Blanco.

The details

  • Serves: 4-6
  • Time: 50 minutes (plus bean cooking)
  • Cookware: medium saucepan, food processor, skillet, large baking dish or dutch oven, bean cooking vessel of your choice

What you’ll need

The beans

  • 1 lb dried beans (makes ~7 cups cooked), flavored with 1 bay leaf, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1-½ tsp coarse salt

Chipotle-tomato sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches coarse salt
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 1-½ tbsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers

Cilantro pesto

  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, tough stems removed
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Big pinch of coarse salt

The rest

  • ⅔ cup packed kale, washed, de-stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup queso fresco or feta cheese, or a combination 
  • 1-½ cups breadcrumbs, toasted in a skillet with a little olive oil


Prepare the beans: Cook beans according to our guide in the cooking vessel of your choice. Once cooked, remove bay leaves and strain. 

Make the tomato-chipotle sauce: Meanwhile, place olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and saute ~45 seconds until everything is fragrant (you don't want the garlic to brown). Stir in tomatoes and fresh oregano and heat to a gentle simmer. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the adobo sauce. Salt to taste and set aside.

Make the pesto: Combine garlic and cilantro in a food processor. Pulse while you drizzle in olive oil until smooth. Season with a bit of salt and set aside.

Assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a baking dish or dutch oven, toss beans with tomato-chipotle sauce and kale. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the top-third of the oven for 25-40 minutes or until the cheese starts browning. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Top with breadcrumbs and just before serving drizzle with cilantro pesto.

Adapted slightly from 101 Cookbooks. For the full story, head here.

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