Friday, September 4, 2009

Guest Post - Refried Beans

Today Katie from Kitchen Stewardship shares her recipe for refried beans. I'm thinking tacos!

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.

Sub-Limey Refried Beans

Pressure cooker recipe from Pressure Perfect, but pressure cooking beans is less nutritious than long, slow cooking after an overnight soak.

1 ½ cups dried pinto, black or red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed
If not using a pressure cooker, soak the beans in water overnight.

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!

6 cups 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)

In a 4-qt or larger pressure cooker, combine beans, water, ½ tsp salt, and 1 Tbs oil (need 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.

If not using a pressure cooker, start here: Drain the soaked 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 chedder 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.

Cost: $1.50 (Less than $1.00 if you cut the cheese, which is not usually included in storebought)
Compared to canned refried beans, this recipe makes about 2-3 cans worth — a great deal!

Katie blogs at Kitchen Stewardship, where she shares weekly Monday Missions to challenge you to take baby steps towards being a better steward of God’s gifts of your health, earth, time and money.

1 comment:

  1. I also do a double batch...why not? It doesn't take any longer to cook and the beans freeze wonderfully! We often do just bean burritos, with all the traitional toppings. Cheap, easy, and really tasty!


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