Homemade refried beans make the perfect side dish with Mexican food or stuffed into your taco or burrito. They’re a great way to gets the health benefits of beans during the summer months, too, when you’re not feeling like chili or bean soup. The storebought versions can have some sketchy ingredients like trans fats in them. I have had some luck with organic canned versions being clean of junk (Meijer brand, around $1 on sale — The fewer the ingredients, the better!), but I prefer to make my own for budget reasons.
Refried beans aren’t very photogenic, but there they are behind the yummy Mexican rice.
- 1 ½ c. dried pinto, black or red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed
- 6 c. water
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 c. finely chopped onions
- 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds or ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ c. grated jalapeno jack cheese
- ½ to 3 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice, plus ¼ to ½ tsp. grated zest (I never have zest)
- ¼ c. toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Soak the beans overnight (see here for details).
- Drain soaked beans, add fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook a few hours.
- Drain the cooked beans. Reserve the cooking liquid to thin the refried beans.
- In the pot or a large skillet, heat the remaining Tbs oil.
- Add the onions and cumin and cook over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are limp, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are lightly browned, 2-3 minutes more.
- Stir in 1 cup of the bean cooking liquid.
- Lower heat to medium and add half the beans.
- Use a potato masher or fork (or hand mixer) to mash them.
- Add remaining beans and mash. You can leave the mixture quite coarse, with some beans intact, or continue mashing until fairly smooth.
- Stir well and make sure the beans are thoroughly heated.
- When most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat.
- Stir in the cheese, 2 Tbs lime juice, lime zest, and salt to taste.
- Add more lime juice, if needed to create a citrus edge.
- Serve hot, with a sprinkling of grated cheese and pumpkin seeds (if using).
-Add 1 tsp. chili powder when you add garlic and oregano.
-Use sharp cheddar or feta instead of jalapeno Jack.
-Stir in ½ c. thinly sliced scallion greens when you add cheese.
-Do as the Mexicans do and garnish with chopped radish.
Timesaver: Author recommends cooking a whole pound of beans and freezing extra for use later. You can cook the beans traditionally and use about 3 ½ c. cooked beans for this recipe. The refried beans freeze excellently - I freeze in ice cube trays, dump bean-cubes into a Ziploc, and heat what I need for a Mexican dish or side with tacos. I often make a double batch!
Pressure cooker recipe from Pressure Perfect
Remember that pressure cooking is less nutritious...
In a 4-qt or larger pressure cooker, combine beans, water, ½ tsp. salt, and 1 Tbs. oil (needed to control foaming).
Lock lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for the maximum suggested minutes (pinto = 19-22). Turn off heat. Allow pressure to come down naturally. If beans are not very soft, replace (but do not lock) the lid and simmer until done.
Cost: $1.50 (Less than $1.00 if you cut the cheese, which is not usually included in storebought, and it tastes fine without it)
Compared to canned refried beans, this recipe makes about 2-3 cans worth — a great deal!
Super Foods: 3; 4 with pumpkin seeds
Other Great Recipes:
- Mexican Beans and Rice
- Homemade 100% Whole Grain Tortillas
- Veggie Bean Burritoes
- Homemade Guacamole
- Frugal Homemade Pizza Sauce
- Jamaican Meat Marinade
Find great tailgating appetizer recipes at Life as MOM’s Ultimate Recipe Swap.
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