I’ve always loved Mexican style meals; salty and creamy beans, crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, tangy salsa and perfectly ripe avocados. Wrap that up into a burrito, dip a chip into it, throw it into a bowl, in all the ways it can be served the combination is delicious.
Nutritionally speaking, pinto beans, the bean of choice here, are a great source of protein, fiber and iron, all music to the ears of a vegetarian. The problem with conventional or canned refried beans is that the ingredients and taste don’t always work for my family. If you eat refried beans in a restaurant you are running the risk of eating lard or bacon fat, the traditional fat used to fulfill the “fried” in “refried”. As for canned, I’ve never enjoyed them, finding them thick and pasty and generally unappealing to the eyes and palate. This is where I come in with some kitchen magic! Once you have made these homemade refried beans you will never buy the canned version again.
Here is where a mortar and pestle will really serve you well. It gives you the ability to control the texture of your spices. And nothing compares to the wonderful flavour of freshly ground cumin. You can tweak the spice level to suit your families needs. I will often take a portion out for the girls and then add more heat for Adam and I. Enjoy!
- the basics
- 1 15 oz can of Pinto Beans rinsed or ½ cup dried beans soaked and cooked
- 1 small onion, red or yellow, diced small
- 2 garlic cloves, diced small
- 2 tbsp of oil (olive or coconut)
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- ⅓ – ½ cup water
- the spices
- 1½ tbsp cumin seeds
- ½tsp chili powder (to taste)
- 1 tbsp oregano
- ½ tsp herbamare salt (to taste)
- Using a mortar and pestle crush the cumin seeds to a powder. If you do not want to have any larger pieces of cumin in the beans, substitute the cumin seeds with ¾ - 1 tbsp of cumin powder.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. When hot add in onions and garlic on medium. Sauté until translucent, or for a few minutes.
- Add in the spices and tomato paste. Sauté for a few more minutes to eliminate the raw taste from the spices.
- Add in beans and about ⅓ of a cup of water. Using a potato masher crush the beans and onion mix until you get the consistency you desire. If beans get too thick add more water.
- Turn heat down to low and stir constantly. If beans soak up all the water add more, they should to be smooth and creamy. Cook for a few more minutes for flavors to come together.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.