Pinto Fuul


If there is a highway that links Gluttony and Hunger, and if on that highway there is a small cafe that occupies the space halfway between Gluttony and Hunger, then on their handwritten menu would be Fuul.

As we journey out of the holiday season and the heavy eating that goes with it, the butter and cheese and paté and dips and stuffing and gravy…. not unlike the bacchanalia and feasting of Mardi Gras or Carnival and waking up to the cleansing of Ash Wednesday (or choose your own metaphor), we now look to calm foods to bring us back down to earth, foods like fuul.


Coming from the other direction on the map, fuul pacifies hunger in an elemental way.



In her book Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton writes about hunger being part of the envisioning process for her restaurant, Prune.  Hunger that she experienced traveling Europe in her youth, where she was gratefully sated by the simplest of foods…things like good boiled potatoes, bread and butter.


My early years in Minneapolis I remember being hungry much of the time….being young, broke, occasionally couch-surfing, and hanging out on the West Bank.  Eritreans ran the Chili Time Cafe, and printed on their menu after “Bowl of Chili” was “Fuul”.  Chew and Sop, ravenously I ate my way from an empty belly to total satisfaction whenever I could scrape together $4.

Life was pretty good.


Fuul’s origins are in Egypt and northern Africa, and fava beans are the traditional ingredient. But in my current abode just outside of the middle of nowhere, there are no favas to be found.  So I feed my love affair with the pinto.



Soaking the beans for at least 6 hours reduces cooking time.  As does a pressure cooker—pintos cook in around 20 minutes!  These are not the pressure cookers of old, like the one that exploded when my mother was cooking beans when we were in rural Mexico.  This Duromatic is a whole new breed, very safe.



I think the olive oil and raw onions are crucial, and the rest are tasty add-ons.  Yes, I often opt for substitutions—but not this time!   It should be olive oil and raw onions.


Pinto Fuul has become one of my staples.  It’s easy to cook a mound of beans, freeze them in small containers, then at any time I can have my little fuul fix.

And life is pretty good.



Pinto Fuul

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cooking Time: up to 2 hours for the beans

No measurements this time.  Trust yourself.


Soak at least 6 hours (if possible):

Pintos in Water

Cook until soft:


Water  (around 2 times the amount of soaked beans, 3 times the amount of unsoaked beans)

Add near the end of cooking time:

Sea Salt

Taste and adjust the salt. 


Spoon the pintos into individual bowls and top with:

Plain Yogurt

Onions, diced

Jalapeños, diced

Drizzle over everything:

Olive Oil

Eat with a crusty White Bread, or something to mop and sop it up.  I like Udi’s Gluten Free bread.


Other Tasty Toppings:

-Pickled Beets

-Rutabagas, grated



-Fresh Lemon

-Chopped Hard Boiled Egg



Another bowl from Elisabeth Maurland, from her early days.


1 thought on “Pinto Fuul”

  • This looks very interesting, and perfect for the current economy that has many people facing some degree of food insecurity. Beans are affordable, of course, and the flexibility offered by this recipe allows folks to use what they have on hand. I really like what you are doing here and look forward to your future postings!

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