Frito Pie

Frito Pie is one of those Southwest Chicano inventions that would make a traditional Mexican chef like Diane Kennedy cringe, but it is one of the most kid-friendly, festive and delicious stews you can eat in the street or in your own home. New Mexicans and Texans fight over who invented this famous concoction on an on-going basis. I don’t know who would win that feud, so let’s just say that it was a happy evolution!

My own favorite experience is the memory of sitting on the grass on the Santa Fe Plaza and having my husband hand me what looked like a bag of Fritos brimming with what I mistakenly called chile con carne. I said, “What is that?” and he said, “Frito Pie, Man.” When I asked where it came from, he said, “Woolworth’s.” And when I dipped that plastic spoon into that glorious hot mess I was a changed woman. Chicano food at its very best! They still sell it on the Plaza in Santa Fe, so hurry up before it goes away. The next best thing is to make it yourself. Lori and Malena “hacked” it with ground turkey instead of beef, but it has so much New Mexico red chile in it that no one will ever know you didn’t use beef. It’s a lot healthier and just as delicious.

Reminder: This recipe falls squarely in the ‘Poquito de Todo’ category. We don’t want to give up our beloved foods but we want to go easy on the portion sizes! One cup is plenty! Use the Fritos like a garnish and not like a staple. If your hijitos are still developing their chile tasting buds, cut back on the chile or use a milder version. And please serve it with a tossed green salad!

This one will take you home, Sister!

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until just golden. Add the garlic.
  2. Add the ground turkey, red chile, salt, pepper, oregano and cumin. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add 2½ cups of water.
  4. Add the rinsed and drained pinto beans. (Of course, you can add pinto beans cooked from scratch).
  5. Add the green chiles and mix well. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes on low. If you add more red chile powder, you might want to add more water.
  6. Place 20 Fritos in each of the 6 bowls. Serve the chili over the Fritos.
  7. Sprinkle each bowl with finely chopped onion and 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese.
easy Level | 40 minutes Total time | 360 Calories


  • olive oil
  • chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • lean ground turkey
  • New Mexico red chile powder (hot or mild) (More if you dare!)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • 2 water
  • pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • hatch green chiles
  • fritos (for topping)
  • finely chopped onion (for topping)
  • shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)

Nutrition Information:

Total fat: 20g; Saturated fat: 6g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 70mg; Sodium: 500mg ; Carbohydrates: 23g; Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 2g; Protein: 23g; Vitamin D: omcg; Calcium: 168mg; Iron: 2mg; Potassium: 311mg

%d bloggers like this: