Friday, April 20, 2012

Three ways to use refried beans

Since it's exam period and my life has been extremely boring lately, I've been getting my thrill through buying new products at the grocery store. Actually, who am I kidding? Even when my life isn't consumed by studying, I still find buying new foods to be exciting. ;)

The last time I was at the store I picked up these Eden Organic refried beans. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the label that I realized that they're essentially just mashed up beans with some salt. Regardless, they were still good and they gave me an excuse to try beans in a new form.

And since they didn't have any added ingredients other than salt, the nutrition stats were pretty stellar:

Per 1/2 cup serving: 90 calories, 1g fat, 7g fibre, 6g protein, 8% DV sodium, 12% DV potassium, 8% DV iron, 8% DV zinc, and 15% DV magnesium + some vitamin B1, B2, B3 and folate.

However, having never used refried beans before, this can sat in my cupboard for a few days while I contemplated ways to use it. And finally my first inspiration hit: quesadillas!

Refried bean quesadilla
Serves 1

2 6" whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup refried beans
1/4 cup corn kernals
1/4 cup diced fresh tomato
1/4 of an avocado, diced
Generous handful of shredded cheddar cheese
Salsa and plain Greek yogurt for dipping

A few days later I used them again to make a beans 'n rice bowl. I already had some leftover brown rice in the fridge, so this lunch took literally 5 minutes to throw together!

In the bowl: brown rice, refried beans, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, corn, olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkle of cumin and chili powder.

This bowl was tasty, but it didn't hold a candle to my lunch yesterday: fajitas. These were muy delicioso!

I topped them with refried beans, homemade guacamole, plain Greek yogurt, salsa, and stir fried vegetables (see recipe below).

Fajita stir fried vegetables
Serves 4

1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1.5 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine the sliced vegetables with the lime juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss to coat everything. Then heat up 1.5 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then at this point I like to add a splash of water to help spread the flavour of the cumin. Continue to cook until the vegetables have softened.

Some of you may be looking at those pictures and wondering how I possibly rolled them up with all those toppings. The answer: I didn't! I ended up having to fold them, and even then the toppings still oozed out. There was something strangely satisfying about eating such a messy meal though.

Another bonus of these meals: they helped me to use up some tortillas that have been sitting in my freezer since you-don't-want-to-know-when. Now that I only have another 8 days at school, I have to start eating up all my food! Think I can make it through 5 boxes of cereal in the next week?

Have you ever had refried beans (canned or otherwise)? How did you eat them?

Quesadillas, tacos, burritos or fajitas - which do you prefer?


  1. hubby loves refried beans so i have plans to use some in a mexican layer casserole!

  2. AHH fajitas! I know what I'm making for dinner, thanks for sharing these awesome recipes! :)
    Hope you can have some relaxation time this weekend in the midst of exams!

  3. I'm glad you posted about this Chelsea! I have a can of refried beans in the pantry from Trader Joes that has been there for quite some time... Fajitas, YES to those, I will make them when I return home for the summer :)
    Enjoy your weekend love!

  4. Mmmm I'm suddenly really craving Mexican now! Thanks for the recipe ideas, Chelsea! I bought a couple of cans of refried beans last year (whoops) and am yet to make use of them! If you still have another can to get through, it's an excellent toast topper, especially with some goats cheese!

  5. I definitely get excited about new products, haha. This looks amazing! Refried beans are deeeeelish

  6. I adore refried beans. In fact, it has been far too long since I had some. Thanks for reminding me that they exist, haha.

  7. i have been craving quesadillas for a while now. yummmm.

  8. I've never been a refried beans fan, but this is making me want to go buy some! I love pretty much anything else Mexican. :)

  9. i've never seen those beans before! gotta keep my eye out for them :)

  10. I LOVE BEANS. <-okay so maybe that was a little too enthusiastic LOL. But I do! They are so versatile and I love grilling them up in tortillas!

  11. beans are awesome no matter what kind! i like make quesadillas with refried kinds!

  12. I LOVE refied beans! They make a great dip as well!

  13. Oh my goodness girl! I feel so badly I didn't ask you more about the fajitas when you said they were so good! I was way too busy talking about the dumb girl on the bus :( BAHAHAHA They look amazing hun! Sorry for not asking about the details :(

  14. Great recipe plans! Refried beans are so versatile, I love 'em. And I haven't had them in far too long!!

  15. I do enjoy refried beans, and I usually use them in fajitas- yours look great! I find checking the ingredients list is worthwhile as not all brands are created equal in terms of some of the additives added inwith additives and ingredients. It sounds like yours were a pretty healthy version!

    Tough choice on the favourite mexi option- of those choices, I'd probably say tacos :)

  16. I have never eaten them but in the quesadillas, oh my that sounds fantastic! Thanks for the tip :)