Recipes > Side > Non-Refried Beans Base Recipe

Non-Refried Beans Base Recipe

This is a very healthy plant-forward recipe! Both beans and salsa are packed with nutrients that promote health.

This is one of our base recipes. Do you love refried beans? We do too, but we don’t love that they’re usually packed with lard and salt. With this non-refried beans base recipe, you don’t have to sacrifice delicious flavor or texture! Loaded with veggies and spices, these (not) refried beans taste almost the same as refried beans, but offer way more nutrition. Plus, they come together in minutes for an easy, budget-friendly, and plant-forward snack or side!

Three Must Know Cooking Skills

Before cooking, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for Unfried Refried Beans

When making refried beans from canned beans, we recommend low-sodium beans so that you can control the salt to your taste. If you don’t have low-sodium canned beans, drain and rinse your beans to remove excess salt.

You can also use beans that have been cooked from dried. Use our stovetop dried beans base recipe or Instant Pot dried beans base recipe as a guide.

The flavor of the “refried beans” is dependent on the salsa, so buy one that you enjoy and is appropriately mild or spicy for your taste. 

When heating the beans with the salsa, be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

If you want to make creamy refried beans, use an immersion blender or a regular stand blender. Be careful of splashes with the hot mixture! 

Don’t want to turn the stovetop on? No problem! Place the beans and salsa in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each. Heat through and mash to desired consistency.

Although warm beans mash and blend easier, if you prefer a cold dip or spread and want to save time, feel free to skip the heating step and simply blend. (Cold beans don’t mash as effectively.)

This is a great recipe for kids to help make. They love mashing and mixing! 

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Beans: refried beans are usually made with black or pinto beans, which is what we recommend. Other beans will still work, but we think that black and pinto beans have the best flavor and texture.
  • Salsa: use any salsa you like! Chipotle and fire-roasted salsas are some of our favorites.

Base Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures! 

If your salsa doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own, feel free to add your own spices! Cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, Mexican oregano, onion powder, or paprika are all great additions.

To make spicy refried beans (without the refry), add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne or your favorite hot sauce to taste.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and/or lime juice for a bright pop of flavor!

Need some bean recipe inspiration?

Check out some of our favorite variations, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!

Equipment Recommendations for Stovetop Non-Refried Beans

Use a potato masher or ground meat masher to mash the beans. For smoother beans, use an immersion blender or stand blender.

Health Benefits of Homemade Non-Refried Beans

Because non-refried beans don’t have any added lard, this is a very healthy plant-forward recipe! Both beans and salsa are packed with nutrients that promote health.

Beans

Beans of all varieties contain plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight. All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans daily.

Salsa

The main ingredient in salsa is tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytonutrient that helps protect against heart disease and prostate cancer. Canned and/or cooked tomatoes are higher in lycopene than their fresh counterparts.

Serving Suggestions for Faux Refried Beans

Serve non-refried beans on our baked tostadas, quesadillas, or TikTok wraps. For an easy healthy snack, serve beans as a dip for veggies, tortilla chips, or whole wheat crackers! 

Refried Beans Storage Tips

Allow leftover beans to cool, then store in an airtight container for up to one week. Leftover beans also keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.

If using the spread for tostadas, store baked tostada shells and beans separately; otherwise, the tortilla will get soggy!

Want more healthy bean-based recipes?

Try out these favorites!

Bean Burgers Base Recipe

Hummus Base Recipe

Roasted Chickpeas Base Recipe

Instant Pot Dried Beans Base Recipe

Non-Refried Beans Base Recipe

This is one of our base recipes. Loaded with veggies and spices, these non-refried beans taste almost the same as refried beans, but offer way more nutrition. Plus, they come together in minutes for an easy, budget-friendly, and plant-forward snack or side!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 15-ounce can low-sodium beans, drained (~1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup salsa (any flavor)

Additions to YOUR taste

  • ¼-1 teaspoon spice(s)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sprinkle lime juice

Instructions
 

  • Place drained beans, salsa, and optional spices in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer and beans are heated through, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off heat and use a fork or potato masher to mash beans to almost the consistency of refried beans. For a smoother texture, blend. Garnish with optional cilantro and lime juice. Enjoy!

Notes

Don’t want to turn the stovetop on? No problem! Place the beans and salsa in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each. Heat through until easy to mash, then mash to desired consistency.
 
Check out these recipes for flavor inspiration!
White Beans with Salsa Verde
Smashed Pinto Beans
Non-Refried Black Beans
Keyword Non-Refried Beans

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