Perfect refried beans – low-fat, high protein!

Refried beans, known as frijoles refritos, are a staple in Mexican and Mex-inspired cuisine. It translates into “well-fried beans”, which is an accurate description. Most often pinto beans are used, though sometimes pink or red kidney beans can be used as well. The beans are fully cooked, and any water or broth is drained from them. Then they are mashed well, and put into a frying pan to be cooked again over low heat. Refried beans tend to be made with bacon grease and/or lard and/or bacon added, which sure boosts the flavor, but also may boost your hip size. It’s super simple to make your own at home with only three ingredients and no added fat.

Ingredients:
1 can pinto beans, drained (use no added sodium kinds if you can find it)
2-3 bay leaves
1 tbsp cumin
Step 1: Drain the beans. Rinse them as well if not low-sodium to remove some excess sodium. (You can also use dried beans. Soak them overnight in the fridge and boil until soft, then drain.)
*Side note: bean cooking water is apparently awesome for watering gardens
or house plants. So if you cook beans from raw, keep that in mind!

Step 2: Pour the beans into a frying pan. Add about 1/4 cup water, and cook on low until the water bubbles and beans are heated through. Mash with a fork or potato mashed until mostly soft and creamy. 

Step 3: Add bay leaves and cumin. You can also add salt and pepper if you like. Mix well, continue to cook on low heat for 10 minutes to an hour. Add more water periodically if they seem to dry out too much. Enjoy as a side dish, on tacos or burritos, or with eggs at breakfast.


Think Geek has more in-depth info on how they are prepared and when to eat them, Food Timeline has a neat comparison of various historical accounts of what refried beans are and when they originated, and Wikipedia covers why the mistranslation into “refried” is wrong on two counts.

What is your favorite way to cook beans?
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