Umami ingredients boost the flavor of my Instant Pot Vegan Borracho Beans, and you won't miss the bacon (I promise)! Chock full of healthy ingredients, these beans are a great side dish or even a main dish with rice or tortillas.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks (About Healthy Borracho Beans)
Borracho Beans are a quintessential side dish with Mexican food (at least in south Texas they are!). Traditional borracho beans are definitely NOT VEGAN. All. The. Bacon goes into the pot. 😲
While I am not a "vegetarian," we do limit meat, and especially fatty cuts like bacon. We only occasionally indulge. I have made borracho beans with bacon (they're delicious), but when I decided to create a recipe for the blog, I was committed to coming up with a much healthier version.
I have been completely underwhelmed by store bought vegetable broth. It seems "one note" to me. I have found a couple that I liked including Kitchen Basics Vegetable Stock. If you're feeling motivated, or love all things homemade like I do, you might want to try my Instant Pot Umami Vegetable Broth. My recipe reinforces the umami flavor by including kombu and dried shiitake in the ingredients list.
So, good vegan borracho beans start with a good foundation - flavorful broth. Canned beans have their place, but when I'm making a dish that features beans, I prefer to use dried beans. The flavor and texture are so much better!
I am not one to do "dump meals" in my IP/pressure cooker... I do love it for making beans, broths and stocks, making short work of tenderizing foods, etc. Your Instant Pot saves a lot of time with this recipe - 10 minutes to pressurize, 35 minutes under full pressure, and 10 minutes before releasing pressure. In basically an hour, you can go from dried beans to yummy Instant Pot Vegan Borracho Beans.
What are "borracho" beans, and how do they differ from "charro" beans. I hope you'll laugh... "borracho" is "drunk" in Spanish. Other than a bottle of beer, they're probably no different than charro beans. No need to worry about the alcohol, it cooks out. Only the beans will be "drunk." Lol.
- 1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 jalapeños (or more to taste)
- 1 pound dried pinto beans (see notes)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (see notes and post)
- 1 12 ounce bottle of Mexican beer (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons miso paste (I use either shiro or shinshu miso)
- 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 cups fresh tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- salt and ground pepper to taste
- avocado (for garnish)
- jalapeño (for garnish)
- lime wedges (for garnish)
- cilantro (for garnish)
Don't look at the long ingredients list and get worried! Several ingredients are garnishes that you can prep while the beans cook.
The "secret" to these flavorful beans lies in the "fifth" taste - umami. As I mentioned above, my vegetable broth recipe includes kombu and dried shiitake (and other mushroom bits). The vegetables are roasted first, and the maillard reaction adds additional umami. The pot of beans includes a generous scoop of miso paste (umami!), so even if you use store bought vegetable broth, you will get the additional depth of flavor from the miso.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
- Sauté the aromatics - With the pot on sauté mode, add the oil, onion, garlic, and cumin. Sauté until fragrant and onions start to show some color. Add the jalapeños, and cook an additional minute.
- The pinto beans - Add the pinto beans and vegetable broth. Whisk the beer and the miso paste together. Add to the pot along with the tomatoes and Mexican oregano.
- Start the Instant Pot - Lock the lid, and set to 40 minutes high pressure (I use "beans" setting and adjust the time). When the cycle is complete, wait 10 minutes before releasing pressure. While the beans cook, prepare desired garnishes.
- Season the borracho beans - Add sea salt (I start with ½ teaspoon), but you may want to taste first. Miso is salty. Add fresh ground pepper as desired.
- Serve - Ladle into bowls, and garnish with avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, lime wedges as desired. Enjoy!
💭 Tips and FAQ
- Are borracho beans gluten free? They can be if you choose a gluten free beer or omit the beer entirely!
- Make sure you start with good dried pinto beans. If your beans have been hiding in the back of the pantry for years, it's more difficult to properly cook them!
- How to Store and Reheat? Store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and then reheat on the stove on gentle heat or in the microwave. If your beans have gotten too thick, add additional broth or water.
- Can I freeze my cooked beans? Yes, let them cool completely and then place them in a "freezer" zip bag for up to 3 months in the refrigerator freezer, or up to a year in a deep freezer. Thaw before re-heating.
- I cannot stress the importance of using a good vegetable broth enough. If you're not into making your own vegetable broth, use a good commercial vegetable broth like Kitchen Basics. That is my preferred brand!
- I specify canned tomatoes, but fresh will work well too.
- Borracho beans are typically soupy, but if you don't want all that liquid, use a slotted spoon to serve them. We spoon up every bit of that delicious broth!
- While the beans cook, I cut up some fresh garnishes - avocado, cilantro, lime wedges.
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Serve your Instant Pot Vegan Borracho Beans with your favorite Hatch green chile enchiladas, alongside Lengua Tacos With Salsa Verde and Caramelized Onions or for a strictly vegan #meatlessMonday meal, try them with Mexican Cilantro Rice. Don't forget to pour yourself a cold one!