Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Never Fried Refried Beans

My husband served an LDS mission to Mexico, so he LOVES Mexican food.  We got pretty hooked on tacos earlier in our marriage because they're quick, easy, and healthy...if you do them right.

One of the keys to having them be quick, easy, and healthy (not to mention cheap!) is to leave out the meat and replace it with beans...preferably beans and rice because then you get a more complete protein.  No meat means you don't have to buy the meat, make sure to cook it before it goes bad, or have the added fat that taco meat (for most people that's hamburger) adds.  Adding a lot of veggies, like tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bell peppers or whatever else you can think of also adds a lot of nutrition.
When we first started eating tacos, we bought canned refried beans.  Then our ward (church congregation) came out with a ward cookbook, and one of my friends Maria submitted her recipe for homemade refried beans.  When we saw it, we were excited!...until we saw that it called for something like a pound of bacon and about as much cheese.  {One of my biggest tips for eating healthy is to bypass unhealthy looking recipes before we try them.  That way we're don't get hooked.}  To Maria's credit...I don't know how much she used that recipe because she has this great post on her blog about cooking beans that is also very healthy.   
We decided to adapt the original recipe though, and this is how it came out.  We try to always have beans on hand in the fridge for a quick meal when we don't have time to cook much else.  If your little kids have a hard time holding and eating stuff in a tortillia, we've mixed the filling up in a bowl for them and served it that way!  Sorry that the pictures die off about halfway through and the amounts aren't exact.  I forgot to take pictures when Hubby was doing the second half of the prep.  This is a pretty forgiving recipe.  You really can't mess it up!  The pictures show us using black beans, but pinto beans work great too!

Put a pound of beans in a crockpot. 
Rinse the beans. 
Fill up the crockpot with quite a bit of water

Generously sprinkle with garlic powder

Generously sprinkle with dried onion

Cooking times will vary depending on your crockpot.  In our old one it took cooking on high for about 8 hours or low for about 24 hours until the beans are very soft.  In our new crockpot it takes cooking on high for about 4 hours.  Add water as needed during cooking to keep the beans covered.

Scoop the beans out and put them in a bowl.  (We like to use our spaghetti scooper.)  Mash them up with the masher of your choice.  (We have at various times used an electric mixer or potato masher, but my husband prefers the pastry blender.) 

Add a little of the cooking liquid to bring to desired consistency. 

Add about a cup of salsa, some hot sauce (if you want them spicy) and several generous squirts of lemon or lime juice.  (The lemon juice gives it some flavor, but more importantly acts as a preservative.  The beans last at least twice as long in the fridge with the lemon juice.) 

Mix well and serve on tacos with lots of veggies. 
They're not much to look at, but they are delicious!  Refridgerate leftovers. They will keep in the fridge for a week or more.

Did you know I also write for The Skinny?  I wouldn't know it to look at me...and it's been quite a while since I posted on The Skinny, but this is one of the great Frugal Food Friday tips I wrote a while back.  It's still one of our very favorite recipes.  You can see other tips here...and I just might start writing my Frugal Food Friday posts again.


  1. I hope you will start up your Frugal Friday posts again - I enjoy trying out your recipes.

    One question about the refried bean recipe - could I do this if I'm away at work all day? I worry about needing to add more water from time to time.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I have dried beans that I didnt know what to do with and this will be a yummy way to use them!


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