Let’s face it … Homemade Refried Beans are homely, brownish, mounds of smashed beans. I’m not sure anybody can make them photogenic. I tried by putting the beans in a colorful bowl and covering them with shredded cheese. You can still see them and they’re still smashed beans. But don’t let their drab appearance scare you away. If you like refried beans, these are so much better than the ones you can buy in the can, that look like puppy chow. All kidding aside (maybe) pinto beans are a versatile side, a great meat substitute and are very low in saturated fat. Pinto Beans are also good source of protein and a very good source of dietary fiber … so you have been forewarned, just saying.
Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5th)? The true holiday has nothing to do with food but commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla. The American version of the holiday has turned into a food fest for those of us that love a good guacamole, Margaritas and salsa. I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating food, and most cultures have plenty of food centric holidays. It’s an honorable holiday celebrating an unlikely victor … and in a weird way these beans are also the underdog. Chicken, beef and steak always get center stage but I say let the beans shine today! I love refried beans, especially on a tostada so that’s what we have for you today.
Beans are inexpensive and easy to make. They’re filling and healthy and can be used in dips, burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas and anything else you can dream up. Personally I like their creamy texture against a crispy shell and I love the way they hold onto the toppings and don’t slide off the tostada! In our version, these simple beans are served with lettuce, avocado, queso fresco cheese and my favorite Sweet Corn Salsa. I also made a simple sauce of mayonnaise and Cholula hot sauce for drizzling.
Give it all a big squeeze of lime juice and you’re done! Perfect for a meatless Monday meal, a Cinco De Mayo celebration or an easy weeknight dinner.
- 8 ounces Pinto Beans
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ large white onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 4 cups water
- Sort the beans and discard debris.
- Rinse the beans and drain. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by a few inches. Cover and set aside to soak overnight.
- Drain the beans and put back into the pot with 4 cups of clean, fresh water. Add the garlic and heat over medium until the beans come to a boil. Cook the beans maintaining a simmer for 1 - 1½ hours or until the beans are tender. Add additional water if needed during cooking.
- Drain, reserving ½ cup of the liquid. Mash the beans, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until tender. Add the mashed beans to the onion and cook until the bean liquid is absorbed. Salt and Pepper the beans to taste and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, adding a little reserved cooking liquid if needed.
Feel free to add other seasonings to taste - cayenne, cumin, chili powder, etc.
Many traditional refried bean recipes call for bacon or lard to be used in place of the oil. We try not to eat cured meats so we created this version as a healthier alternative. Olive oil is not the authentic choice in traditional Mexican cooking.
Don’t forget the Sweet Corn Salsa!
Thanks so much for stopping by!