Taking Control of My Kitchen Challenge #3: Refried Beans

Whenever I tell people about the yummy things we make at our house, everyone almost always assumes the dishes are made by me. However, Craig is an excellent cook and has great ideas in the kitchen. He will eat anything (Organs? Yum. Leftovers from two weeks ago? Please!), and knows his way around kitchen gadgets and terms. We make a dynamite pair in the kitchen. But do you know what his favorite thing in the world is?


Beans! Beans are the most boring things on earth. They smell weird and look funny. They can easily be bland, and they make you feel full too fast. Stupid beans! Full of protein!

I guess you can tell whose favorite food ISN’T beans…

It’s not that I have a serious vendetta against them, but I didn’t grow up in a house that served beans regularly. My mom doesn’t care for them, and since she cooked the majority of the meals in my family, we didn’t get a lot of them. It wasn’t until I started dating Craig that I realized that maybe, JUST MAYBE, beans aren’t so bad.

It started with my love for hummus. I could eat hummus with or on anything–it’s my fave. And guess what it’s made of? BEANS. Oh man. So I started edging my way into beans–beans in chili, beans in salsa and tacos, Craig’s baked beans from scratch…and eventually, I caved in and started incorporating beans into my diet. And you know what? It’s working out just fine.

Because I live with a bean fiend (ha!), we always have a crazy amount in our pantry. Canned, dry, whatever. We buy sodium or salt free, and it has worked out pretty well. However, there is one type of beans that we use that I always struggle to buy in the store: refried beans.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t like the idea of buying beans that have been cooked in animal fat or lard. It grosses me out. Also, when you get refried beans out of a can, it looks totally unappetizing–like brown mush. So when I found a recipe for refried beans to make at home, I jumped at the chance–we don’t use them often, but if it could eliminate another processed food item in our kitchen, I am totally down.

I’ve played around with a recipe from Vegan Richa, and have never loved beans so much in MY LIFE, y’all.

Here’s the recipe, and enjoy!

  • 2 teaspoons oil (I used canola, and recommend a healthy, neutral flavored oil)
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (whatever onion you like best! we used vidalia)
  • 1 can of tomatoes, drained (use “no salt added” to keep this low sodium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder (depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  •  1 can pinto beans, drained or 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup water

In a large frying pan, add oil and heat on medium. Then, add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are clear and the garlic has a good aroma, about 5 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes and spices. Make sure you mix them all around so the tomatoes are well covered with the flavors of the spices. Cook under tomatoes are tender & soft. Add the beans, water, and salt, and mix again. Let this cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Then, with a potato masher or whatever you have, mash the beans well. This is the best part! Then, let them cook for another minute or so to get the consistency you want.

We make this deliciously vegan pizza with these refried beans!


There you have it! Super easy, super tasty, and much better for you than canned stuff. Enjoy!

One thought on “Taking Control of My Kitchen Challenge #3: Refried Beans

  1. Pingback: What We Ate Last Week: 2/8-2/14, 2015 |

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