October 27, 2021/Recipes

Recipe: Pinto Bean, Charred Corn and Onion Salsa

Spice up your next party with this flavorful dip

A bowl of salsa made of charred yellow corn, pinto beans, onions and tomatoes

Molecular gastronomy may be trending, but dinner doesn’t have to be high-tech to be delicious. Simple, whole foods, thoughtfully combined, can yield delicious, satisfying meals. Case in point: this salsa recipe.


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Whether you use canned beans (it’s okay!) or cook your own, the pinto beans make a savory, hearty foundation. Then, when you make the homemade salsa, things get really interesting! With grilled corn, onion, jalapeño peppers, fresh tomatoes, cilantro and lime, there’s a whole lot of pop — plus that smoky, fabulous flavor from the grill. Rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, this dish is as nutritious as it is delicious. And you can whip it up in a snap.


1 1/4 cup dried pinto beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans (no salt) pinto beans
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ears corn, shucked
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/4 -inch thick rounds
2 jalapeños, halved and seeded
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 beefsteak tomato, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


  1. If using dried beans, put them in a medium saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil (stir occasionally). Cover partially with a lid, reduce the heat, and gently simmer until very tender, 2 to 2.5 hours. Be sure to check the water level as they cook, adding more water as necessary to keep them submerged. Once the beans are tender, let the water cook down to the consistency of gravy (this liquid is very flavorful). Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Alternatively, if using the canned beans, drain and rinse them, and put them in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until heated through. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt
  2. For the salsa, heat the grill to medium-high. Drizzle the ears of corn, sliced onion and halved jalapeños with 1 teaspoon of the oil and rub to coat. Put them on the grill and cook, turning, until charred, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Over a medium bowl, hold each ear of corn upright and use a serrated knife to shave off the kernels. Chop the onion and jalapeños and add to the bowl. Add the diced tomato, cilantro, lime juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Divide the beans among bowls and top with the salsa.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Makes 4 servings


Calories: 258
Total fat: 5.8 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Protein: 14 g
Carbohydrate: 413 g
Dietary fiber: 10.3 g
Sugar: 6 g
Added sugar: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 863 mg

Developed by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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