Refried Black Beans

I was preparing dinner (a vegetarian Chinese dish) and I asked my husband to grab a can of black beans from the pantry. As he reached for the can opener he asked,

“What do you do when people don’t like beans?”

I was perplexed.

Not so much from the question itself, because I hear, “I don’t like beans” every day. I work with kids, so you can imagine the faces. I was more puzzled from how someone comes to the conclusion that they don’t like beans.  I think of it the same way people tell me they don’t like vegetables. Have you tried all the vegetables? Have you cooked them in all ways possible? I’d make a sizeable bet that every person could find one vegetable that they enjoy eating when prepared correctly.

So, if you’re like the squishy faced kids I try to feed hummus to, I’ll ask the same question.

Have you tried all the beans?

Have you cooked them in all ways possible?

I started making refried black beans once I realized it was infinitely more delicious than the canned version and took minutes to prepare. These hearty, nutritious, zesty beans are a great plant-based protein for tacos, salads, quesadillas, or grain bowls.

Refried Black Beans

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked black beans
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


  1. Add chopped onions, olive oil, and salt to a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until onions are softened.
  2. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds. Add drained beans and water. Cover your pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Uncover and reduce heat. Use a potato masher to mash the beans to your desired consistency. Aim for mashing at least half of the beans.
  4. Continue to cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Taste and add salt as necessary.


Nutrition Information


  • 135 calories
  • 20 g carbohydrates
  • 3 g fat
  • 8 g protein



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