Have I mentioned that I used to be a waitress on a Mexican restaurant in my college years? I think yes! so many friends and good experiences I have from that period of my life, including recipes!
Mexican food is very well known and appreciated by the world, is a big part of their rich culture that bring us joy on every bite. And the better is that many of their recipes can be easily veganized, like these refried black beans!
I learned to make them while I was working on that restaurant, the place where I become a vegetarian (ironically). At that time, these beans were prepared accidentally vegan, from scratch, because the cans of refried beans and many other ingredient weren’t available in Chile, including tortilla wraps. The restaurant invested on a tortilla machine, and imported directly the corn flour from Mexico to make them, which are the base of their menu. So while you were working, there was a lot to learn.
The recipe was very simple, but they used an especial spices combination, adjusted to our “Chilean taste”, according to what they said: “These beans are mild, usually it should be very spicy for the Chilean folks!”.
When I start a vegetarian diet, I really put my willing power at a test, but I did it! These hearty beans were, without a doubt, part of my transition because I took the recipe and make it at home to combine in many ways.
A creamy, thick and chunky in parts, these beans will make you forget the “refried beans cans” because are superior to any brand in flavor, nutrition and budget. Here is the recipe:
Easy Refried Black Beans
1 Cup of dried black beans
2 Cups of water
1 bay leaf
1/2 Onion, diced.
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced.
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp oregano
1/2 Tsp black pepper
1 Tsp sea salt
1 Tsp smoked paprika
Making delicious beans
- Rinse, clean and soak your dried beans on fresh water, along with a bay leaf, for about 15 minutes. Then drain them and cook them until soft and tender, or for about 30 minutes. Also this could be done using a pressure cooker, in that way you’ll be saving at least 15 minutes.
- In the mean time make a flavorful base in a pot, sauteing the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes, then add the spices and let it cook for 1 more minute and reserve.
- Once your beans are done, drain them and reserve about 1 cup of beans cooking liquid, then add the beans into the onion pot and mix.
- Take about 2/3 of your beans to a food processor and blend them along with 1/2 a cup of the bean cooking liquid, to get a nice and smooth paste. Use the remaining liquid if your paste is too thick, it should be a “hummus” like paste. Return it to the beans pot and mix well together with the 1/3 of whole beans you left there.
- Bring to a simmer for a few minutes, just to incorporate all together. If you like your refried beans spicy, feel free to add chili powder, or pickled jalapenos in cubes. Also if you have on hand a fresh herb called “Jesuit’s tea”, add 1 chopped leaf at this moment. That is a traditional herb used in Mexican cuisine which not only gives a special flavor, but also its beneficial properties helping with the digestion.
This recipe can take only 30 minutes to make if you have a pressure cooker, if not, 45 minutes. But is up to you using a can of beans. I really prefer doing it from scratch since allows me to add a bay leaf on the pot and have a nice flavor on those beans. Also always I’ll prefer fresh homemade food, without chemicals or preserving.
The uses for this beans are multiple, classic as a dip, on burritos and tacos, also can be part of other traditional Mexican dishes as “molletes” (over bread), “sopes” (corn flour cups), or to make a “enfrijolada” (like a enchilada but using refried beans to cover).
It is so easy to make, that there is no excuses to not include them on you menu.
Hope you like my version of this classic Mexican recipe, and if you try it let me know in the comments or through Facebook or Instagram, I’ll be glad to see there!