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
If you don’t have low-sodium canned beans, drain and rinse your beans to remove excess salt.
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 prefer smoother beans, use an immersion blender or a regular stand blender.
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.
This is a great recipe for kids to help make. They love mashing and mixing!
- 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.
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 would all be 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.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Need some base 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
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 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.
The main ingredient in salsa is tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytochemical that helps protect against heart disease and prostate cancer. (1, 2) Canned and/or cooked tomatoes are higher in lycopene than their fresh counterparts. (3)
Serving Suggestions for Faux Refried Beans
Serve non-refried beans on our baked tostadas. Use our baked tostadas base recipe as a guide, then adjust flavors to your taste, or make any of our delicious variations!
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!
Non-Refried Beans Base Recipe
- 15-ounce can low-sodium beans, drained (~1 ½ cups)
- ½ cup salsa (any flavor)
- Place drained beans and salsa 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. Enjoy!