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Menestra de Frijoles (Ecuadorian style beans)

Serves 4-6 Prep 15 mins Cook 30 - 45 min Ready 1 hr

Menestra de frijoles is one of the most popular side dishes in Ecuador. Its found in every region and typically paired with rice, and accompanies steak and fried plantains. There are many different varieties, but I especially like my family's version because they add in green plantains.


  • 1 lb of dry or canned pinto beans

  • 1 chopped green plantain

  • 1 white onion

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 large tomato

  • Abuelita’s aliño

  • 1 bunch of cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon of achiote

  • Salt & Pepper

  • 4 cups of water

  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil


NOTE: If using dry beans, you must soak in water overnight.

1. First, make the refrito in a deep pot. Finely Chop the onion, garlic and tomato and add to the pot along with a few tablespoons of Olive Oil.

2. Once the refrito is thoroughly cooked and the onions are translucent, you can add in 3 tablespoons of abuelita’s aliño, the achiote, finely chopped cilantro and the diced green plantain into the pot. Mix in the Achiote thoroughly.

3. Add in 4 cups of water, along with the canned or drained soaked beans and salt and pepper to taste. I add 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

*If you’re using dry beans, you will need to add in 2 more cups of water.

4. For canned beans, let simmer on medium heat for 30- 45 mins or until the liquid has reduced and thickened.

*For dry beans, depending on the size and freshness, it could take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.


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