Not Your Mama’s Spicy Vegan Refried Beans

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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I had extra pre-soaked pinto beans from my Vegan Pozole recipe.  I was considering throwing them away & then a wave of shame hit me.  Wasting food is such a sin so I looked about my kitchen for inspiration & came up with the idea to make a clean & healthy refried bean recipe.  Refried beans.  The name sounds loaded with calories.  But here is what they say on Wikipedia about the name:

The name is based on a mistranslation: in Mexican Spanish, the prefix re is an informal form of emphasis meaning “very” or “well”, which has been confused with the English re, which more often indicates repetition. Thus, frijoles refritos really means “well-fried beans”, not “refried beans”. In this dish, the beans are often fried, but may also be baked, thus making the term “refried” a misnomer on two counts.

So – do not be afraid of this dish.  It only uses a little olive oil & these beans are so fresh tasting & bursting with flavors – you will never look the same way at those lard-laden, baby food bland refried beans they serve in Mexican chain restaurants.

Look how pretty they are with the green flecks of cilantro & the red of the smoked paprika!  So give these bad boys a try next time you have a Mexican themed meal!

UPDATE – heat these up with a lot of grated cheese & serve it up as a dip!!!


Not Your Mama’s Spicy Vegan Refried Beans


4 cups cooked pinto beans (or 3 15 oz cans)

1-2 cups of stock

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded & chopped

1/4 cup cilantro

1 small onion – diced

1-3 chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce (I used 3)

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

olive oil

S&P to taste

Extra cilantro, chopped jalapeno & smoked paprika as garnish



Cook your beans.  It is best they soak overnight or that you quick-soak them.

To soak beans overnight, rinse the dried beans and pick out any stones. Place the beans in a large bowl or saucepan and cover with water. Leave overnight.

The quick-soak method is terrific when you don’t have time to let the beans soak overnight. Put the beans in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by three inches. Do not cover. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.

If you are substituting canned beans for dried, 1 cup of dried beans produces 3 cups of cooked beans. 1 can contains 1/2 cups of drained beans.

When the beans are cooked (or when your caned beans are drained & rinsed) – take a 1/2 cup or so & set aside.  Put the rest of them in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Adding as much stock as needed, puree the beans.


Add the chipotle and the dry spices & blend.  Add the cilantro & blend.


In a large frying pan – heat about 1 TBS of olive oil & cook the onions & jalapeno until the onions are translucent – or soft.  Add the garlic & saute two more minutes.  Add to the blender or food processor & puree the onions etc into the beans.  Leave the pan on the stove – as you will need it again in a minute.  Add stock as needed to puree the beans.  Do not be afraid you need more water to blend them than seems right.   Once they are completely smooth – put the bean puree in the frying pan and “fry” them in the residual oil until they thicken to the texture you like.  Add the reserved whole beans & stir them in.  Add S&P to taste.


Once the beans have reached the texture you like – serve them up.  I grated a little cheese on mine.  You could go heavier & use a pepper jack or cheddar – or lose the cheese entirely.  Your call.  Garnish with cilantro and/or jalapeno & some more smoked paprika.  Crack open a cold one!  Ole!



One thought on “Not Your Mama’s Spicy Vegan Refried Beans

  1. Pingback: Taco Pizza with Hominy & Greens & Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette | Delightful-Delicious-Delovely

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