May 4, 2012
Homemade Refried Beans

Refried beans are something I love.  LOVE.  They aren’t supposed to be all that good for you because, well, they’re fried.  But they’re beans!  Beans are superfood superstars.  How bad can they be?

These refried beans are fast, easy, and nutritious — no deep frying or excess fat to speak of.  Kick the health factor up a notch by soaking and cooking dried beans from scratch (I took the last-minute way out and popped open a can).

In a greased skillet over medium-low heat, combine half an onion (chopped), 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (about 1/4 teaspoon, depending on how spicy you like your beans), and a pinch of sea salt.  Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups beans (I used kidney beans; pinto or black or other beans would be fine too) and 1/2 cup vegetable stock, stirring to combine.  Cook for another 5 minutes, until beans are heated and flavors have melded.

Remove from heat.  Blend with an immersion blender until smooth, adding an extra splash of vegetable stock if needed (keeping in mind less is more).  Season to taste.

Subtly sweet, spicy, creamy, and deeply satisfying — this is like the whipped version of baked beans.  Pair refried beans with rice and salsa, spoon into tortillas, or enjoy them on their own.  As Pops says, these beans are tasty bueno!

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