This is my tried, trusted and well loved recipe for vegan refried beans, and it is one I make all the time. It's so delicious, so easy, so quick, so nutritious and needs just a few ingredients. If you try it, I wager you'll be making it over and over.
The great thing about refried beans is that everyone seems to love them. You can scoop them up with a tortilla chip, scoop them into a taco, scoop them on a bowl of Mexican rice...the possibilites are endless. And all this with a recipe that takes one pot and five ingredients to make. In 15 minutes.
What we love about these refried beans
- They are super delicious
- They are super healthy
- They need just five ingredients
- They take all of 15 minutes to make
- They are so versatile, you can use them as a dip to scoop up with tortilla chips, roll them into a burrito, serve them on rice or even as a side to a thick, juicy tofu steak. Vary the soupiness of these beans to make them fit in just about any meal.
How to make the best vegan refried beans
- Refried beans are usually made with pinto beans, but you can make them with red kidney beans or black beans as well. I like using a mix of beans just because the colors make a dish that otherwise is not as great looking (albeit great tasting) look beautiful. If you eat with your eyes first, use a mix. Otherwise go with one or the other. It won't really make a big difference to the taste.
- There are just a few flavorings here, but they pack a wallop. Start out with aromatics--onions and garlic--and then spoon in chipotle chili with some of the adobo sauce it comes packed in. A dash of roasted cumin and you're done.
- Refried beans typically contain a meat component, like pork fat or chicken broth or bacon. For our vegan version you don't need any of these, and your refried beans will be just as delicious.
- Add vegetable stock to your refried beans, if you have it, but water will do as well. Turn off your stove while your beans are still slightly soupy and not very dry. They will continue to thicken. You might want to leave more of the stock in if you plan to serve the beans with rice (I made them soupier this time as I was serving them with my Mexican Green Rice.) Or you can make them drier if you plan to serve them in a burrito.
- Mash your beans, but not too much. Again this is more cosmetic, but I find that leaving about half the beans unmashed gives nice texture and looks far more appetizing on the plate than a mushy, shapeless pile of refried beans. But that's entirely up to you.
Make these refried beans your own
- Add some herbs to give your beans a nice kick. I sometimes sprinkle on a half a teaspoon of dry sage when I add the beans to the pot and let them simmer together.
- Smoked paprika can make a nice substitute for the chipotle and add more smoky flavor. Use it judiciously though and start out with just a quarter of a teaspoon as it can be strong. Add more if you want to.
- Or you can use jalapenos and throw in a dash of adobo seasoning. Habaneros are also great in refried beans, adding a unique and amazing flavor. If you use it, be careful because habaneros are incredibly hot. A quarter of a pepper, deseeded and finely chopped, goes a long way in making this perfectly delicious for me.
- You can add in veggies here. Finely chopped zucchini or roasted red bell peppers are great choices. Roasted, mashed eggplant, albeit an unconventional choice, is superb.
Refried Beans with Chipotle recipe
- 28 oz pinto beans (or black beans. You can use one can of each as I did. If you cook your own beans use about 3 cups in total)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 canned chipotle chili (with 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce it comes with. It's spicy so use less or more if you like yours milder or spicier)
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a saucepan.
- Add the onions and garlic. Season with salt and ground black pepper (optional) and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until they are translucent and soft.
- Add the chipotle chili with adobo sauce and cumin. Stir them in, then add the beans and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil.
- Let the beans simmer about 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, but don't let them dry out completely as they will thicken further as they cool. Use the ladle or a potato masher to mash some of the beans. I don't mash mine completely because I like the texture.
- Turn off the heat. Serve.