vegan refried beans.

One of the first things I discovered when I switched to a plant-based, gluten-free lifestyle is that there are certain cuisines that do not {easily} lend themselves to veganism or gluten-freedom.

Barbecue is #1. Italian is #2.

I was not particularly discouraged by this, as there are usually options in either situation that can be modified or craftily combined as needed to create a whole meal. 

Mexican, however, was a pretty close third and perhaps most heartbreaking: we grew up having taco night at least once a month, and fajitas, burritos and nachos were regular (delicious) occurrences. When you eliminate cheese and dairy, meat and animal products, and wheat, the Mexican menu (at least as I knew it) started to look a little less than exciting.

But! As I'm sure you're experiencing, adjusting your perspective on menus and embracing a little creativity can make the dining out experience a little easier, and often ends up with a happier diner - in both brain and body - the next day.

vegan refried beans 2

As my food adventure began in university in Vancouver, my first attempts at modifying restaurant offerings were at Las Margaritas. If you haven't been, go. It's awesome. The best option I found there was the vegetable fajita platter: hold the tortillas, the sour cream, and the cheese. I was one happy camper. A sizzling skillet of peppers, onions and tomatoes, plus a pile of beans? Fabulous. I knew I'd have to figure out how to recreate the pinto beans on my own. Traditionally, refried beans are well-cooked in bacon grease or another rendered animal fat. Fun factoid: technically, they're not 'refried'... the frying only happens once, it's just very thorough, which is why they become so deliciously mashed and spreadable.

Nutritionally, beans are an awesome addition to any plant-based diet (and really, the high fiber content, protein and folate is beneficial for everyone). They add delightful heft to a meal, and particularly in this preparation, they're lusciously smooth. I would eat everything pureed if I thought I could get away with it. Bean ice cream, anyone? :) 

[By the way, if you're reading this and thinking, "No way would I ever eat beans... they're the magical fruit...", never fear. Cook beans with a piece of kombu (seaweed) and eat with garlic to help the body break them down more easily. No worries about any, erm, unwanted gas.]

Would you believe that this vegan take on refried beans is super simple, requires 4 ingredients, and takes less than 10 minutes total to make?

vegan refried beans 1

Fact! Let's get started. 

Feel free to use soaked, cooked, and drained pinto beans, or a canned version (BPA-free lining, please, and rinsed well). Either will do, depending on how much time in advance you have to prepare. 

Toss the beans, a little olive oil, some chili powder and minced garlic into a food processor. Blend until chunky-smooth. 

Then heat a little more oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. When it glistens, toss in your bean mixture and cook 4-5 minutes. I use a spatula when I make these, and move the beans around every 30 seconds or so to prevent them from sticking. You'll start to see some crisped brown edges happening around the sides of the pan. This is good! Continue to mix and move everything around to incorporate the crisped bits into the middle. 

vegan refried beans closeup

When everything is heated through, remove from the stove. Sprinkle with a little more chili spice if you'd like. And tah dah, refried beans!

This is uber versatile and could be used in a variety of dishes, including:

  • vegan tacos or burritos
  • a dip for crudite or homemade crackers (like the ones featured in the Eat Deliciously, Live Vibrantly eCookbook)
  • a warm salad topper, to make those otherwise boring ole' salads a little more fun

How will you use this simple refried bean adaptation? Feel free to share below. And hey, we're covering lots of fun 'how to eat out and still love it' ideas in Rewire Your Food Brain. The next session of this online course opens in a couple of weeks: check out the details here.

Enjoy!

 amy be well signature

 

 

 

vegan refried beans
Yields 1
A creamy versatile refried bean adaptation for use in everything from Mexican tacos to summer salads.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  2. (or about 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans)
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 tbsp chili powder (or more to taste)
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the pan
Instructions
  1. 1. Toss the beans, a little olive oil, some chili powder and minced garlic into a food processor. Blend until chunky-smooth.
  2. 2. Heat a little more oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. When it glistens, toss in your bean mixture and cook 4-5 minutes. Use a spatula to move the beans around every 30 seconds or so to prevent them from sticking. Incorporate the crisped bits into the middle as they cook further.
  3. 3. When everything is heated through, remove from the stove and use in your favorite recipe.
From The Ground Up Wellness http://fromthegroundupwellness.com/
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Posted in dinner, gluten-free recipes, health coaching info, homepage featured, kid-friendly recipes, lunch, nutrition for families and children, recipes, side dishes
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  1. […] is awesome on everything from vegan tacos (try this refried bean recipe), with your favorite cracker, or to give some kick to a veggie burger or […]

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