After my last post about making beans from scratch, it may come as a surprise that in the past whenever I’ve had a hankering for refried beans, my own methods were on the low-key side. I just popped some pintos or black beans into my food processor, added garlic, paprika, and cumin and gave it a thorough blending. My “refried beans” were oil-free and worked well enough for stuffing into burritos or sliding between taco shells in double decker tacos (a whole wheat tortilla wrapped around a crispy corn shell stuck together with refried beans). However, they lacked that pillowy texture that you find in real restaurant-quality refried beans.
Enter Viva Vegan’s Home-Style Refried Beans. These light beans have the consistency of mashed potatoes and could easily be eaten on their own with a spoon. (Guilty as charged.) I made one minor adjustment on the recipe and reduced the oil in the beans to one tablespoon instead of two. Much of the liquid in these beans is simply water, and I think a person could use no oil at all (just sautéing the vegetables in a tablespoon of water instead) without losing any flavor. The beans are packed with the flavors of sautéed garlic, onion, jalapeño peppers, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. They are slow cooked for twenty minutes and then mashed until smooth.
I don’t have to tell you what to do with refried beans. But I will. Roll them into a whole wheat tortilla with some chopped onion, hot sauce, and cilantro and carry it to work for lunch. When lunchtime comes, microwave all of it together for a warm handheld bit of comfort food. Biting against the soft tortilla and being met with creamy refried beans is heavenly. Add a dollop of refried beans to Mexican rice or barley. For a hearty snack or appetizer, make a layered dip of refried beans, avocado slices, olives, and chunky salsa.
My preferred salsa is my husband’s creation, his own fresh and garlicky salsa: