Pinto Bean Hummus (ish) Dip

Pinto Bean Spread

I spent the last week at my mum’s house in the ‘burbs of a tiny town called Baraga. To give you an idea of what I mean by tiny, the L’Anse/Baraga metropolitan area roughly consists of 4,000 people. I graduated with a class of 46 students. While it’s not quite a one-room schoolhouse story, this is a decidedly small population of people. Not only that, the closest “big” city is Green Bay, which is a four hour drive away and if you want something more cosmopolitan you’ll need to drive six hours to Minneapolis or seven hours to Chicago. Furthermore, my mum lives outside of the tiny town of Baraga where her house sits on four acres of land and where she owns another 40 acres across the street.

Pinto Bean Hummus

It’s a six mile drive to the nearest grocery store so when you’re out of a particular food like I was that day, you’re SOL, in a way. It was hummus that I was looking to make as I had been craving it all day, but there was a problem—I was lacking a lemon. Yes, it was a single lemon that stood between me and a freshly whipped up batch of hummus. So I decided to improvise and create a creamy bean spread with a different bean and a few different ingredients. And happy was I when this spread turned out so awesomely, despite the minimal ingredients I had on hand.

As I sat relaxing in the beautiful bay window in my mum’s dining room eating my Pinto Bean Dip, I was able to observe an industrious little squirrel who enjoyed hoarding and gorging on sunflower seeds from the bird feeders. He repeatedly ran back and forth from his stash under the deck to the tree where the feeders hung. After all of his hard thiefery work, he was so pleased with himself that he just had to do a little jig.

Squirrel Jig

While he was congratulating himself on the deck, the blackbirds safely returned to the tree to snack on any seeds that may have fallen to the ground. Every few seconds another bird would land for a snack until the ground looked like this.

Red Wing Black Birds Michigan

But that didn’t last long as Mr. Squirrel became a little envious and launched himself towards the birds, which in turn provided us with this beautiful site of colorful feathered wings.

Red Wing Black Birds Flying Michigan

It wasn’t just blackbirds that we saw. That morning we were graced with the presence of an immense variety of birds. Who would think that you can see goldfinches and purple finches, blue jays, red-wing blackbirds, mourning doves, chickadees, sparrows, and rusty blackbirds all in a 10 foot radius in Michigan? There were moments where all of the birds were in the tree together, but most of the time the colorful finches, sparrows and chickadees would feed together, leave, and then a variety of blackbirds would show up and all feed together like school children attending their separate specified lunch breaks.

Finches Jays Song Birds Michigan

Pinto Bean Hummus (ish) Dip


  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (to 2) teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of each paprika and cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Puree: Throw all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve with fresh chopped veggies.

Note: While I thoroughly enjoyed this spread, Alex was not terribly fond of it, which is why I *had* to eat the entire dish myself…in one sitting. 🙂 All I’m getting at is that perhaps it’s not for everyone. I think that the vinegar what might have been what turned Alex off to it so if you’re not a huge fan of balsamic vinegar perhaps you want to start with a smaller amount and increase if you like it.


11 Responses to Pinto Bean Hummus (ish) Dip

  1. Aaron says:

    This is just great Christina.

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  3. Elisa's Spot says:

    Do you have a non allergic tahini recipe? All of it that I can find here, states that it is pnut and tree nut contaminated. Someone suggested attempting to whirl the teeny tiny nut free sesames in my GIANT food processor, but I think it would all just go beneath the blades. Heck even if i have to order an already made one online that you know is nut safe…
    Recently had to stop having wheat and gluten too!!! 😛

    • Christina says:

      That’s an interesting question, Elisa. Looking at the jar of tahini I currently have, I see that it’s ingredient list is purely organic sesame seeds, but that it’s manufactured in a facility that proceses peanuts, and on equipment that processes other tree nuts and seeds. Are you sensitive enough to other nuts that the potential cross contamination is an issue? Or is the issue that some brands make tahini with peanut oil (which I’m learning from doing some online research)?
      Making your own tahini is definitely an option! I have made sunbutter a number of times in my food processor and had so much fun doing it (read about it hear: and it would be interesting to try it with sesame seeds. I hear your concern about the seeds being to small, though…but it’s definitely worth trying. Another option is that you could make hummus in a blender (which I’ve done before) and throw in sesame seeds directly in the blender with everything else (you just need to add a little extra water and you get a super creamy hummus.)
      Bummer to hear about the wheat and gluten allergy too—but I know how you feel about it as I recently have developed a sensitivity to it as well 😦 Ugh! Needless to say, I am doing a lot of cooking sans wheat/gluten lately!
      I hope this is at least somewhat helpful!

  4. susanblake says:

    Hi Christina! I’m here from Kathy’s – LOVE your blog…..AND the recipes! AND the photos! I’ll be back!!!!

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  6. Jeanne Baumann says:

    Found your blog from my location in the ‘burbs of Marquette. Hope to try this soon! It is just what I was looking for…. Jeanne

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  8. Cindy says:

    We like this (hummus-ish) dip, but increased the oil & vinegar a little to get a smoother consistency.

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