We’re definitely a family that likes to ‘stock up’ on things. From deals on diapers and wipes to dried beans and rice. I like to have things on hand to be prepared for situations. It’s really nice to have a stock of the dried legumes being we make a lot of meals with chickpeas, beans, and lentils. We buy these from the Asian market, along with most of our spices and rice because they sell these items at a discount and in larger quantities than the grocery store. Stocking up on dried beans makes making dishes like pinto bean rajma masala much easier.

That being said, it’s easy to over buy on things. I was digging through the cabinet and found an unopened bag of pinto beans. I made a batch in the Instant Pot and overshot how many I’d need for my quinoa and bean stuffed bell peppers.  Being I had half a batch of them leftover, I figured we better find a use for them before they go bad. I slightly over cooked the pinto beans so they were a bit soft to be frozen, so I needed to use them within a couple of days – and that’s where I decided I should try pinto bean ‘rajma’ masala. 

Pinto Bean Rajma Start

Why Try Pinto Beans

My husband loves rajma, which is a kidney bean dish. I make it occasionally and it typically gets devoured. That was why I figured we should at least try it with pinto beans. As I’ve made more Indian food, I’ve realized that most dishes are based with the same things so I just prepared similar to what I’d do if I made chana masala (curried chickpeas) or similar dishes. I tried something a bit different with the pinto bean rajma masala though by pureeing the onion, tomato, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger. This makes the gravy sauce smoother and allows for the beans to be the more prominent texture in the dish. I actually really liked it like this and will definitely be trying chana and other bean dishes like this. 

Methods for Making

I started cooking the bay leaf and cinnamon stick in olive oil and pureeing an onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño in a food processor. Once a puree was made, I added it to the pot with olive oil and allowed it to sauté. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes, in the meantime chop or puree tomato. Chopped is shown in the photo above, but pureed creates a smoother sauce. Once the onion puree has cooked for about 5 minutes (add a few minutes if you have a really large onion or a lot of moisture in the pot, it should be fragrant). Add the tomato and allow it to cook for about 2 minutes or until the chopped tomato is softened.

Cream added Rajma

The next step is to add the spices (cumin, coriander, chili, turmeric, garam masala). Once the spices are in the pot, mix and cook for about one minute to allow them to get fragrant. Then add the pinto beans to the pot and mix them into the gravy. Once the beans have been added, cook for 2-3 minutes to allow them to be heated and then turn the heat down to low and add the cream or coconut milk. Finally top with chopped cilantro leaves. 

Pinto Bean Rajma
Pinto Bean Rajma Masala Closeup Shot Plated

Pinto Bean Rajma Masala Curried Pinto Beans

Pinto Bean Rajma Masala is an Indian curried pinto bean dish. It’s vegan friendly and made quick for a busy night.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 bowls
Calories 76 kcal


  • 1 can of pinto bean
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 ½ tbsp heavy cream or coconut milk
  • salt and pepper too taste
  • cilantro to top


  • Make a puree of garlic, ginger, onion, and jalapeno by placing these ingredients in a food processor and blending.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add bay leaf and cinnamon stick and allow them to become fragrant.
  • Add the puree to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes. It will not brown as an onion would normally, but it will become fragrant.
  • While the puree is cooking, chop or make a puree of the tomato.
  • Add to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes while the tomato is softened.
  • Add the spices and mix into the gravy, cooking for one minute.
  • Stir in the pinto beans and allow them to heat through. ~3 minutes
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream or coconut milk.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve alongside basmati rice or bread such as naan or roti.


Serving: 1bowlCalories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 11mgPotassium: 134mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 370IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
Keyword curried pinto beans, rajma masala, vegan rajma masala
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Make this dish vegan by omitting the heavy cream and adding coconut milk instead. I’d recommend canned since it’s thicker and the extra fat makes this dish all the better. The nutrition facts do not account for whatever you serve this with (naan, roti, rice, etc.). This was also calculated using heavy cream so the nutrition may fluctuate some if you use coconut milk.

Let me know what you think of this dish in the comments below!

-Cassie 🙂

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