Diabetic Cooking

Puerto Rican small red bean stew

Preparation time: 25 minutes. Soaking time: 8–12 hours. Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours.


  • 1 pound dried small red beans
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces extra-lean cured ham, chopped finely
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 green pepper, chopped finely
  • 3 sweet chilies, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed


1 1/4 cups cubed, fresh calabaza or pumpkin (may substitute canned pumpkin)


Rinse and drain dried red beans. Place in a pot, cover with water, and soak for 8–12 hours. Drain beans and place in a large, heavy pot with 2 quarts water. Add calabaza or pumpkin, cover pot, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil over medium heat for 1 hour. If using fresh pumpkin, slightly mash the pumpkin. To prepare sofrito, heat vegetable oil in a heavy pot. Add all sofrito ingredients and sauté for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sofrito and tomato sauce to cooked beans and pumpkin mixture. Cook for an additional 30 minutes to allow mixture to thicken, stirring occasionally. May need to add additional water, as mixture should be moist.

Yield: 9 cups.

Serving size: 1 cup.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 203 calories, Carbohydrates: 36 g, Protein: 13 g, Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Sodium: 81 mg, Fiber: 9 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 1 nonstarchy vegetable, 1 very lean meat. Carbohydrate choices: 2 1/2.

This recipe was developed by Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian and freelance writer in Southern California.