Homemade Healthy "Refried" Beans

I have an obsession for Mexican food, I know I have said that a million times before. But they say the first step is admitting you have a problem. I don't think it is a problem at all really, but tell that to Kevin please. Kevin is my polar opposite when it comes to Mexican food. While I am thinking about when I might have more, he is thinking about anything but that!

When I was young, and living in San Diego, I ate tons and I mean TONS of Mexican food. There was pretty much a taco shop on every corner. You know, kind of like Starbucks in Seattle. Now being young, my metabolism could handle a ton of Mexican food. But as I got older...mmmm not so much. Which really isn't fair in my mind. 

So whenever I can I try to take something I love, that is less than healthy, and make it new by removing fat and calories. I decided that beans were a huge one that I wanted to tackle. You don't even want to know how much fat and how many calories we in my favorite restaurants refried beans!! One word.....LARD!! So I totally removed the "refrying" process. I went with a little bit I had learned from living in So Cal and made up the rest. I mean what could go wrong right? Ya I am the queen of epic fails so I knew anything and everything could go wrong. 

Well, with the help of my daughter, the beans came out really good. It doesn't exactly match the beans from my favorite San Diego taco shop, but everyone loved them! The great thing is that you can freeze them. So go ahead and make a big batch, you won't waste a thing!

Homemade Healthy Refried Beans

1 pound dried pinto beans
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Queso Fresco cheese

Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them water. You want as much water as possible because the beans will double in size at least. Let them soak overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse the beans and discard any stones or hulls. In a large pot, cover them generously with fresh water and simmer on the stove. Begin checking the beans in about 1 to 1 /2 hours. They should be tender at this point. Add the onion powder, garlic, powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has cooked down to a thick gravy constancy. If you want a smooth consistency, you can use a potato masher to smash the beans. I leave them whole since the cooking process tends to lend to a lot of the beans "melting" into the liquid.

Continue to simmer if you want your beans thicker. Adjust seasoning, and serve topped with crumble Queso Fresco cheese.



  1. Nice and simple but informative. I grew up in Reno and ate tons of mexican growing up. Still my favorite comfort food.

    I'll try your refried bean recipe next time we do tacos.

    1. I lived in Reno, well SParks to be exact, until I was 14. My babysitter when I was young was Mexican and she made some fantastic food. My Mom had a lot of her recipes, but they have been lost through the years. It makes me sad because they were terrific!

  2. Good info. Lucky me I found your site by accident (stumbleupon).
    I've bookmarked it for later!