Pinto beans (in Greek “barbounofasoula” or “chantres”), falling into the category of legumes, are the most popular beans in the USA and parts of Mexico. They are also popular in South America, Spain and Portugal. There is, however, one important difference between the pinto beans consumed in the places mentioned before and the Cretan pinto beans; the former are first dried up, whereas Cretans eat their pinto beans fresh after they have been harvested from vegetable gardens across the island. It is therefore a very summery dish, as this is the season when pinto beans are collected. As the pintos in Crete are eaten fresh, Cretans cook them together with the tender parts of their pods and leaves (they are sold on their pod and sometimes with some of their foliage!); this greatly contributes to the taste and pleasure of the dish. As with almost every dish, Cretans cook fresh pinto beans with fresh tomato juice and extra virgin olive oil. Cretan pinto beans with their accompanying greens is a starchy and rather light dish that is perfectly comforting after a “tiresome” day full of summer activities. This is one of the first dishes we crave for when summer time arrives. This dish is one of the basic ones of the Cretan vegan cuisine.
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