Refried beans… a lot of people love them, others can take them or leave them and some people avoid them completely. I admit refried beans on their own are not the most appetizing looking dish. Try and convince a kid to eat a glop of something on their plate that resembles brown (or even black) mashed potatoes!
Mix it up! Here’s a little trick that is delicious and may even help to get some extra fiber into some of those picky eaters (young or old). Mix warmed up refried beans into prepared taco filling. This works best with any ground meat you use to make your tacos (beef, chicken, turkey etc.). It will even work with shredded cooked meat, but really picky eaters might call you out with this one!
If you don’t prepare taco filling using the packets (or your own homemade taco seasoning mix), you can also try adding some of your favourite salsa. Mix it together in the pan with your cooked meat and beans. Just keep adding a little salsa at a time. You want the mixture to stay thick enough to spoon into your taco shells or tortillas without dripping everywhere or turning them into a soggy mess.
Now onto my quick and easy not-so-refried beans…
While there are low-fat canned options, the second thing you’re likely to notice about canned refried beans is how expensive they are (at least where we live)! A can of refried beans usually costs about 3 times as much as a can of plain beans.
Now, I know the die-hard cooks out there might tell you to cook your beans from dried. There are plenty of recipes out there on how to do this, even ones using your slow cooker. That’s great if you plan a few days ahead. These beans are for those days when you want something quick and easy, like maybe on a day you decide to have tacos an hour before dinner time rolls around. It happens!
The following recipe is basically an easy method we use to make plain, mashed beans to add to our Mexican meals. Real refried beans usually have added spices and sometimes onion and chile peppers. Once you’ve made the basic beans recipe, you can always add extra spices if you like. We don’t bother, since we always add this to a meat mixture that is already seasoned.
- 1 can of pinto or black beans
- 1-2 TBSP cooking oil (corn, vegetable, olive etc.)
- Drain and rinse your beans
- Place beans in a small pot and add 1 TBSP of cooking oil. You are just using the oil to moisten and help the beans mix together more easily.
- Start warming the beans on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring regularly.
- After a couple of minutes start mashing your beans (a potato masher works best, but a large fork will do in a pinch) until it looks more like a paste than actual beans. You should be able to stir them with a spoon (but the mixture will be thick). Add the second tablespoon of oil if your mixture still seems a bit dry.
- Heat for a few more minutes, until the bean mixture is warm.
- Add to your favourite mexican dish and enjoy!
Beans, Beans.. good for the heart!