Pinto Posole

Outside, it’s still chilly! Let’s cuddle up with some soup and hope for warm spring weather. You will adore this pinto posole if you like tortilla soup and bean-based chili dishes.

This stew is vegan since I substituted pinto beans for the meat found in traditional posole recipes. It is also flavorful, spicy, and hearty.

This stew just requires one pot, and I chose to use canned beans to reduce the cooking time to roughly 30 minutes. The leftovers from this dairy-free dish freeze well for subsequent use and taste even better the next day.

Describe posole.

Mexican stew known as posole, pronounced poh-sOH-lay, frequently includes shredded pork, dried chilies, hominy, and cumin. It’s frequently served on festive events like Christmas and New Year’s in Mexico and New Mexico, but it’s also delicious on chilly days.

Although my version, which substitutes pinto beans for the pork, is not entirely authentic, it is nonetheless rich in protein and fiber, which is a plus. I’m referring to it as both a soup and a stew since it falls somewhere in the between.

Describe hominy.

Hominy is a type of dried corn (maize) kernel that has been given an alkali treatment, such lye, to make it more easily digestible. You may purchase it dried or in cans from a well-stocked grocery shop in Mexico (search in the international section or close to the canned corn). For this recipe, I used canned corn, but you could also use freshly cooked hominy.

What do guajillo peppers do?

I’ll never forget the first time I ate enchilada sauce made with guajillo chilies. Changes your life! In contrast to cayenne, which is quite hot, guajillos offer a rich, intriguing mild-to-medium spice component. In a well-stocked grocery store (again, check the international section) or Mexican grocery store, dried chilis can be found.

For moderate soup, use two chilies; for spicy soup, use four (I like my posole spicy). Before toasting the chilis against the pan for a short time, remove the seeds because they are the most hot. You may even save those seeds to taste-add after the soup has cooked if you want a very hot soup.

I merely added the chilis to the soup during cooking and threw them out afterward. I recently read a recipe in Bon Appetit that called for puréeing the chilis that had been simmering with some stock and adding the mixture back to the soup. If you want an extra-rich chili flavor and don’t mind using the blender, you might do that; just add the purée to taste rather than adding it all at once.

Also read: Thai-Spiced Rice Bowls


  • 2 to 4 guajillo chili peppers*
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 32 ounces (4 cups) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Recommended garnishes: sliced avocado, shredded green cabbage, chopped radish, onion and/or jalapeño


  1. Cut off the stem ends of the chilis and shake/flick the chilis to remove as many seeds as possible (it’s ok if some remain). Rinse them and pat them dry.
  2. Heat an empty Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat until a few drops of water evaporate quickly from the pan. Toast the chilis in the dry pan, pressing them flat with a spatula for a few seconds until fragrant, then flip them over and press them again for a few seconds. Remove the toasted chilis and set them aside for now.
  3. In the same pot (still over medium heat), warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
    Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant while stirring, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, while stirring, for 1 minute.
  4. Add the toasted chili peppers, bay leaf, hominy, beans, vegetable broth and water to the pot. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the chili peppers and bay leaf from the soup and discard them. Stir the cilantro and juice of ½ lime into the soup. Taste, and add more salt (I usually add at least ¼ teaspoon more) and/or lime juice if necessary. For extra richness, add a little splash of olive oil and stir it in.
  6. Cut the remaining lime into small wedges. Divide the soup into bowls and garnish with lime wedges and other garnishes of your choice.