Refried Beans


This recipe is a healthy substitute for canned refried beans. The beans are tasty and have no added fat. You can use any type beans you want to with this recipe, not just pinto beans. I used small red beans this time, but I have also used Anasazi beans, which are delicious and beautiful.

Refried Beans
2 cups pinto beans (or any beans),  sorted and washed
2 tsp. granulated garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 cups water
6 bouillon cubes, either chicken or beef
2 tsp. crystallized ginger, chopped
If you don't have a pressure cooker, you need to soak the beans before you cook them. You can see a chart and instructions for cooking beans in a pot here.

Rinse the beans well, sorting out any bad beans, checking for dirt or rocks. I rinse my beans while stirring them with my hand for about 4 minutes, shake the water off, and then let them finish draining over a clean paper towel. If there is a little dirt puddle on the paper towel under the colander after a few minutes, I rinse the beans even longer until they are very clean.

Dump the beans into your pressure cooker. Add all the spices. Don't forget the ginger. The crystallized or candied ginger is a natural digestive that reduces the gas-producing effects of beans. Dice the ginger into tiny pieces. You can substitute 1/8 tsp. ground ginger for the crystallized ginger.

 Add the water and bouillon cubes to the pot of beans. Stir the beans a bit.

Follow the directions for cooking beans in your pressure cooker. Mine takes an hour or two to cook most types of unsoaked beans. If you don't have a pressure cooker, use the directions from this post with instructions for cooking beans.

Taste your beans to make sure they are completely cooked. If you want to refrigerate them at this point, dump the whole pan into a container for the fridge, and drain them when you need them.

At this point, you can make the beans into refried beans, or serve them as they are. To serve them as they are, drain the liquid, and serve the beans, or use them in place of canned beans. They taste much better than beans from a can.

To continue making the beans into a canned refried bean substitute, drain and reserve the liquid. To mash the beans, pour the drained beans into your stand-alone mixer appliance. Using cookie paddles, mash the cooked beans, adding enough of the reserved bean liquid to make the desired consistency. Add liquid a bit at a time. The longer you mix the beans, the smoother your mixture will be, so stop mixing the beans when they look like they are the texture that you want. It only takes a minute or so to mash the beans. You don't have to use all the reserved liquid – only the small amount you use to make the right consistency. (You can also use a fork or potato masher on the beans, but it will take longer.) Season to taste with salt, if needed. Add shredded cheese if desired. Use in place of canned refried beans. Makes about 5 cups of beans.

Melinda's Notes: This recipe is not in the cookbook, because I found it after the cookbook was published. It should be in the cookbook, because my entire family loves the recipe.

The original recipe had a "Mexican Spice" blend. If you actually have a "Mexican Spice" in your cupboard, use that as your spice instead of the long list in the recipe. Substitute 2 Tb. of the "Mexican Spice" blend, 1 tsp. cumin, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder for the spices. Don't forget the ginger!


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