This refried beans recipe is a delicious and healthy addition to any Mexican meal. There’s no need for lard in these vegan refried beans. These beans get their flavor from onions, chiles, and spices while still tasting like restaurant quality!
Many think of refried beans as a fattening, indulgent food which is not always the case. When you make refried beans from scratch, you can skip unhealthy ingredients like lard or refined oils.
The trick to perfecting homemade refried beans is to use dried beans. By making beans from scratch, you’re able to inject them with more flavor and control the texture. Plus, you’re skipping the sodium and BPA that is associated with canned beans.
Pinto Beans Nutrition
Fortunately, the fat associated with refried beans does not come from its key ingredient, pinto beans. On the contrary–pinto beans are extremely low in fat. One cup of cooked pinto beans contains just 2.4 grams of fat.
Pinto beans are a great source of folate, fiber, copper, manganese, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B1 and B6, magnesium, potassium, and iron. All of those nutrients are essentials and each boasts their own health benefits.
According to a study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, consuming legumes can have heart-healthy effects. The study found that eating legumes may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in patients with type-2 diabetes who follow a low glycemic diet.
Eating high-fiber foods like beans comes with more positive health benefits. The fiber in beans may help prevent overeating and curb cravings which helps to promote weight loss. Beans are also linked with lowering LDL cholesterol levels due to their soluble fiber content.
While cooking beans from scratch may seem like a daunting task, it is well worth the effort and not as hard as it seems. Really! Cooking dried beans actually only requires about 15 minutes of active prep time and the rest of the cook time is hands-off. Plus, each batch will produce so many servings that you will be able to enjoy the beans throughout the week.
There are many benefits to cooking dried beans including easier digestion, increased flavor, and less sodium. The digestive benefits come from soaking beans prior to cooking. By soaking and then rinsing, a portion of the indigestible oligosaccharides will be removed which will result in easier digestion of the beans. You can add a piece of kombu seaweed to the beans to further improve their digestive qualities.
When planning to make this refried beans recipe, you’ll want to prepare in advance. Plan to soak beans the night before making this recipe. One pound of dried beans will produce about five cups of cooked beans. You only need three cups of cooked pinto beans for this recipe so you’ll be able to refrigerate the rest for later use.
- 1 lb dried beans
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup hatch (aka New Mexico) chiles, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- water as instructed
- Add the pinto beans to a large bowl. Sort through and remove any shriveled beans or stones. Cover beans with eight cups of water and soak for 12 hours. Beans should expanded and nearly doubled in size after soaking. Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly.
- Bring six cups of fresh water to boil in a large pot. Add the beans, cover, and reduce heat to low so beans are slowly simmering. After an hour, remove the lid and add one teaspoon of sea salt. Cover again and cook for 15 minutes more. Beans should be fork tender and soft.
- Meanwhile, heat sunflower oil over medium to large skillet. Add chopped onion and sauté for about six minutes, until onion is translucent and lightly browned. Add the hatch chile and saute for an additional two minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out three cups cooked beans from the pot. Add the beans to the skillet with the onion. Add the spices and one teaspoon sea salt and stir.
- Using a potato masher, smash the beans a bit. Then, gradually add ½ cup cooking liquid from the bean pot. Stir the beans and mash until desired consistency is achieved.
- Serve refried beans immediately or store in an airtight container for up to three days. You can also save the leftover whole pinto beans for up to three days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Images via Karissa Bowers