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What Are Small Red Beans?


  • Popular in Caribbean & Central America
  • Smaller & darker than Red Kidneys
  • Rich flavor & firm texture

The Small Reds Story

Scientific name: Phaseolus Vulgaris

Small Red Beans (Frijoles Rojos Pequeños) are part of the “common bean” family, for which the Latin or scientific name is phaseolus vulgaris. They are thought to have been cultivated as early as 8,000 years ago and were probably distributed by migrating tribes, serving as an important protein source in the diets of the indigenous cultures of Central America and beyond.

Small Reds hold their shape during cooking, making them perfect for simmered dishes. They are featured in soups, stews and chilis across the Caribbean and the Americas. Like their “cousin” the Red Kidney Bean, they are versatile: they can be seasoned with sausage or ham, but can offer plenty of rich flavor when prepared vegetarian or vegan. When combined with rice, red beans make a complete protein source, and, therefore, are ideal as a substitute for meat. Small Red beans, like many kinds of legumes, must be fully boiled or otherwise cooked before being eaten as they contain natural toxins that are destroyed in the cooking process.

Our favorite Small Red Beans links:

How to Cook Beans and Peas

How to Soak Your Beans

Small Red Beans Recipes