May 22, 2023 4 min read

Small red beans, also referred to as Mexican red beans or just red beans, have grown in appeal recently as more people become aware of their numerous health advantages and delectable flavor. In this piece, we'll look at small red beans' rising popularity and how they can be a nutritious and adaptable part of any diet.

Origin and History of Small Red Beans

Small scarlet beans have been a traditional food in Central and South America for countless years. They were one of the primary sources of protein in the diets of the Maya and Aztec civilizations after being domesticated. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers introduced small red beans to Europe. They eventually made their way to the United States, where they have since established themselves as a favorite ingredient in many classic Southern recipes.

Nutritional Benefits of Small Red Beans

A meal that is rich in nutrients and offers a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is small red beans. The following are a few of the major nutritional advantages of tiny red beans:

  • Protein: Small red beans are a great supply of plant-based protein, which is necessary for the body's tissues to grow and heal. Small red legumes that have been cooked have about 15 grams of protein per cup, making them a great protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Fiber: Small red beans are high in fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. One cup of cooked small red beans contains approximately 13 grams of fiber, which is about half of the recommended daily intake for adults.
  • Iron: Small red beans are an excellent source of iron, which is necessary for the development of red blood cells and the distribution of oxygen within the body. About 3.6 milligrams of iron are present in one cup of cooked small red beans, which is about 20% of the daily allowance for women and 45% for males.
  • Potassium: It is abundant in small red beans, which is crucial for preserving a good blood pressure and electrolyte balance in the body. There are 600 milligrams of potassium in one cup of cooked small red beans, which is roughly 13% of the daily allowance for people.
  • Antioxidants: Substances that shield the body from harm by free radicals, are abundant in small red legumes. Flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids are some of these antioxidants, which have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

 How to Cook Small Red Beans

There are many different methods to prepare small red beans, including boiling, pressure cooking, and slow cooking. Here is a straightforward method for preparing tiny red beans:


  • 1 pound of small red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, combine the small red beans, water, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1-2 hours, or until the beans are tender.
  • Drain any excess water and serve the beans hot or cold, as desired.

Popular Small Red Bean Dishes

Small red beans are a versatile food that can be used in a wide range of dishes, such as soups, sauces, salads, and more. Here are a few of the most well-known tiny red bean recipes from around the globe:

  1. Red beans and rice: This classic Southern dish feature small red beans cooked with rice, onion, garlic, and spices for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  2. Brazilian feijoada: This traditional Brazilian dish is a stew made with small red beans, beef or pork, and a variety of vegetables and spices. It is typically served with rice and garnished with orange slices.
  3. Mexican chili: This spicy and flavorful dish is made with small red beans, ground beef, tomatoes, chili peppers, and a variety of spices. It is often served with cornbread or tortilla chips.
  4. Cuban black bean soup: While this dish is traditionally made with black beans, it can also be made with small red beans. The soup is made with beans, vegetables, and spices, and is often served with rice and garnished with sour cream and fresh herbs.
  5. Chinese red bean paste: Small red beans are also used in sweet dishes, such as red bean paste, which is a popular ingredient in Chinese desserts. The beans are simmered with sugar and mashed into a smooth paste, which can be used as a filling for pastries, cakes, and more.

Small red beans are a nutritious and versatile ingredient that has gained popularity in recent years due to their many health benefits and delicious taste. They are a great provider of fiber, iron, potassium, plant-based protein, and antioxidants, making them a nourishing addition to any diet.  Whether you prefer them in savory dishes like red beans and rice or sweet desserts like red bean paste, small red beans are a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals. So why not try incorporating them into your diet today?

  Try our USDA certified organic Organic Small Red Beans  

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Cathie Stewart
Cathie Stewart

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