Homemade Refried Beans – no BPA!

homemade refried beansMy kids looove their refried beans. It’s one of the few foods we regularly buy that are in cans likely lined with BPA. The Eden brand ( BPA free cans for most non-tomato products) refried beans can be bland and stiff compared to Amy’s or WF 365 brand. Tho a good starting point (if you add spices, heat and lime), they are a bit difficult to find in stores around here. But the botheration all this BPA causes me  to explore making them at home.

What a pleasure to discover that it’s pretty darn easy!

Encouraged, I also wanted to see if it would freeze well, so that I could make it in big batches a month or so at a time. More success! You’d be hard pressed to detect the freezer in it’s past. The recipe below let me freeze 4 Chinese takeout containers filled PLUS 1 and a half glass storage dishes (6″ diameter, 2″ high).

And the best thing is I can now control the spices more easily and make various versions. We used pinto beans, but are making some refried black beans this week. I imagine these could be the start of bean burgers, but I suspect that will require some trial and error.

But I digress. Here’s the recipe and process for super easy (with just a tad of planning) refried pinto beans.












BPA-free Refried Beans

  • 6 cups dried beans, soaked, cooked, drained
  • vegetable stock as needed
  • 3-4 large onions, chopped fine or pureed
  • 1 head garlic, minced or pureed
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 lime, juiced
  1. Soak beans overnight at least. You can also sprout them by soaking 12 hours, draining, rinse 2-3 x the next day and they should be ready to work with the following day. Very little hands-on time is required, but some planning ahead and knowing if your calendar will allow for cooking when you will be, but it’s worth it. Worth the benefits to sprout nuts, seeds and beans before using them. This makes them easier to digest; therefore less likely to cause you grief of the gut.
  2. Rinse soaked beans, put into pot and cover with 2 inches water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer until done. Depending on age of beans, 45 mins-2 hours. Drain and rinse. This is a great stopping point if you need it, you can pop the beans in the fridge and pick up here within a few days.  Or if you’re in the kitchen all day, keep on.
  3. Roughly chop the onion, toss it into the food processor and puree it. You can certainly just dice the onion and sautee it that way, but the kids were firm on wanting the bean dip to be “just like the can” so I was worried the cooked onions wouldn’t puree as nicely and I figured the puree would cook down quicker. The vidalia onions made the refried beans pleasantly sweet.
  4. onion + spices

    However you chop the onion, put it in a pan with a tbsp of oil and sweat it down until bubbling and aromatic, 5-10 minutes.

  5. Add minced garlic, spices,and lime juice and stir for one minute to let spices cook. Remove from heat til beans are ready
  6. Puree beans in food processor. I added just enough veggie stock to get it moving. You can leave some of them whole if you like your refried beans a little chunky. Again you could probably puree the entire concoction once finished, but I wanted to be sure the texture would match expectations so I pureed them first.
  7. Add bean puree to pot and return to heat. Cook 10 minutes and voila! Refried beans!

Not sure if I wanted to use all the pinto beans for this recipe. I measured it out in 3 cup batches. Three cups cooked beans to one onion, one garlic clove and spices to taste (about 1 tsp). The kids were “testing” it frequently and ate lunch from pot to table: a heaping spoonful of beans on top of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onion and guacamole, with some Miranda’s hot sauce if you like.

We packed up the containers and defrosted them a week later for bean dip, party size. We put two containers of beans on the bottom of a 9×13 oven-proof pan. Topped it with black beans,  kidney beans, sliced black olives, and topped with salsa. Pop this in a 350-degree oven until it starts bubbling and serve with chopped avocado chunks on top, guac on the side, put some vegan Daiya or localish raw cheese and some chips for dipping.

We were too busy noshing to take a picture of the finished product, but it was as pretty as refried beans can be, I guess. Definitely worth giving it a try, if you suffer from BPA guilt as I did.

And don’t forget — most receipts (the ones that feel like old fax paper used to) are likely to be absolutely dripping with un-bonded BPA. So think twice about what you do with those receipts, or if you even need them! (google it!)

Heaped on top of a salad, refried beans goes a long way toward helping my kids eat their rainbow!