Gluten-Free Frugal South American Cuisine: Vegan Vegetarian Black Refried Bean Recipe

When I posted my recipe for Green Chili Corn Arepa biscuits, one of my readers recommended that I try Venezuelan black bean refried beans as they contain more antioxidents and are just as tasty as pinto beans. I thought that was an interesting idea. Personally, I love vegetarian refried beans made from scratch. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never found those cans of refried beans where the contents are all mushed into an unidentifiable copper-colored block like canned kitty food all that appealing. I want to see and taste all of my ingredients- and I definitely don’t want to taste the can that they were stored in. And what is more economical than dry beans? I can get a whole pound of dry beans for the price of a can, but using dried beans, I can make get enough for a huge batch of refried beans AND beans to freeze, and enough beans for another recipe besides. I also like my beans a tad softer than when they are canned, and soaking overnight and simmering in my slow cooker results in soft, melty beans that I just can’t resist. Some time back I developed a recipe for Perfect Refried Pinto Beans (scroll down), but I’d never tried making them with black beans. When I went to Whole Foods this weekend, I picked up a bag of black beans to try making a version with black beans, also known as turtle beans. I looked at various recipes online, and then started experimenting. Carrot might be an unconventional ingredient, but we have a huge bag of lovely organic carrots in our refrigerator, and I like the unexpected sweetness it added to the recipe. The DH was a big fan of the green chilies that I added to the recipe on a whim. He said “it’s the perfect degree of spiciness- flavor without too much heat.” I have to agree- I could eat this stuff like candy. Is that weird? Although this recipe is vegan, I used it in a quesadilla “lasagna” lunch for my non veg hubby, layering a corn tortilla with black refried beans and then cheese, covering it with two corn tortillas and adding another layer of cheese and tortilla. Although the refried beans take a little time to make, once it was made it was a matter of minutes to assemble and microwave the quesadilla. These quesadillas would also be tasty made in a cast iron pan. For me, I was perfectly happy with a vegan taco filled with refried beans. You can take a vegan taco to the next level by topping it with homemade pico de gallo, guacamole, or even avocado cubes. And now, if you don’t mind, I think me and my spoon will be heading for the refrigerator to eat some of this refried bean stuff cold…. because it is THAT good.

Oh yes, and about those antioxidents… According to the World’s Healthiest Foods web site,

“When researchers analyzed different types of beans, they found that, the darker the bean’s seed coat, the higher its level of antioxidant activity. Gram for gram, black beans were found to have the most antioxidant activity, followed in descending order by red, brown, yellow, and white beans. Overall, the level of antioxidants found in black beans in this study is approximately 10 times that found in an equivalent amount of oranges, and comparable to that found in an equivalent amount of grapes or cranberries. ”

Not to mention that black beans are high in protein, folate and magnesium. Sounds like a good excuse to make some yummy refried black beans to me! Got any other great ideas for using this black refried bean recipe? Tell me in the comments!

Vegetarian Refried Black Bean Recipe
3 or 4 cups black beans, homemade or canned
1 tbsp. peanut oil (or favorite oil)
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium carrot, diced
1 can mild green chilies (4 oz) or roasted, diced anaheim peppers
1 tsp or more cumin seeds
1 tsp oregano
generous amounts of salt, pepper
dash of apple cider vinegar
fresh cilantro, to taste
Prepare beans and rinse. If using homemade black beans, you can reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Heat oil in a cast iron pan to medium and saute your onion until almost translucent. Add garlic clove and diced carrot and continue cooking until carrot softens slightly. Toss in your cumin seeds and oregano, letting them heat and release their fragrance. Mix in your can of chilies and season with salt and pepper. Take out 1/2 cup or so of the onion mixture and combine in blender either with reserved cooking liquid (1/2 to 1 cup) or water. Add your beans to the cast iron pan and combine thoroughly. Add extra cumin and/or oregano if you think it needs it after tasting. Let beans heat and flavors permeate. After at least 10 minutes fold your blended liquid into the other ingredients in the pan. Let cook for another 10-20 minutes (adding extra water or cooking liquid if it gets too dry) and then taste again, adjusting seasonings- you may need more salt. Sprinkle in a dash of apple cider vinegar and fold in some fresh cilantro. A few minutes later, take the pan off the burner and serve.

DH loved this recipe!

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2 Responses to “Gluten-Free Frugal South American Cuisine: Vegan Vegetarian Black Refried Bean Recipe”

  1. I love homemade refried beans! We make them alot since Mexican doesn’t exist in Brazil. Ever since my youth group in the states made a gross game where the guys had to eat refried beans out of a baby diaper ( * gross gross gross* ) I haven’t ever trusted canned refried beans!!! I’m glad to see I’m not alone in the dislike for refried beans from cans:]

  2. Hi Rebecca,
    heh heh. I can see how canned refried beans wouldn’t be appealing after your youth group experience!
    I lived in Japan for two years so I can identify with missing certain kinds of cuisine… it is really hard (almost impossible) to find good Mexican restaurants in Japan… I was so homesick for salsa my Dad ended up sending us two (glass) jars of it- one broke in the mail, so you can imagine the mess. But it was very sweet of him.


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