Healthy Refried Black Beans (and it’s vegan, too!)

If you didn’t read my last post on my chile verde recipe, I’m helping my partner wean off of her obsession with restaurant-made Mexican food and Taco Bell.  It is her only vice in life.  My partner loves Mexican food.  And when I say love, I mean it’s an obsession with Mexican food.  My partner is a glutton for anything nachos, tacos, burritos, beans and rice.  She especially loves bean burritos.  Really, anything Mexican food.

Beore I go on, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression that she’s unhealthy and eats loads of calories and fat saturated foods.  She, in fact, is very healthy.  But she has been on a Taco Bell and Mexican food kick for a while now, which shocks me because she used to hate the idea of me consuming fast food.  It’s funny because I was the unhealthy one in our relationship for years.  In fact, I was on a fast food kick daily before we met up until a few months after we started dating.  After a week or so of dating, she was disgusted by the amount of fast food that I consumed, so she made me a “detox salad.”   I used to cringe when I heard the words “detox salad.”  Who needed a detox salad?  Actually, who needed more vegetables in their life?  I mean, doesn’t french fries, and lettuce and tomatoes from a taco or burger count?  Horrifying, right?  That’s how I used to think.  Well, I made a deal with her that I’d wean myself from fast food, but only if I could eat it once every few months.  I did stop, but when I did crave a fast food burger or french fries I made sure to satisfy it.  But I realized how gross I felt afterwards.  And being reminded of that feeling a few more times has given me the will power to stop eating fast food.  The end.

So it’s funny how the tables have turned.  But it makes me sad at the fact that she’s become addicted to Taco Bell.  She can eat all the Mexican food she wants, but only if it’s “real” and “identifiable” foods.  The other thing is that we are trying to lose the “happy 15” pound weight gain (or in our case, happy 20) that we put on our first year of dating.  She’s sort of defeating the purpose of eating healthy and exercising up to four times weekly, if she eats fat laden foods.  So the deal is if she stops eating Taco Bell, I’d make her more healthy Mexican foods.

In my attempt to make healthy, almost authentic homemade Mexican food, I found a refried black bean recipe that doesn’t use lard.  Refried black beans is traditionally made with lard.  But this recipe uses extra virgin olive oil and a nonstick pan to for that “refried” look and taste.

Healthy Refried Black Beans (adapted from New York Times‘ Fitness and Nutrition Section)

2 (15 ounce) cans simmered black beans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 cup yellow onion, minced

Heat medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Drain off about 1 cup of liquid from the beans to reserve, and pour beans and remaining liquid into pot.  Mash half the beans with a potato mahser.  Don’t puree them (you want texture).

Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan, and add the ground cumin and chili.  Cook, stirring over medium heat, for about a minute, until the spices begin to sizzle and cook.  Add the minced yellow onion to the pan and cook until tender and fragrant.  Add the black beans and fry, stirring and mashing often, until they thicken and begin to get crusty on the bottom and aromatic.  Stir up the crust each time it forms, and mix into the beans.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  The beans should be thick but not dry.  Taste the refried beans, and adjust the salt if necessary.  Add liquid you reserved from the beans if they seem too dry.

Spoon refried black beans over nachos, into a burrito and/or taco, or as a side dish.  This recipe is the perfect prescription for your favorite Mexican food dish.

The refried beans will keep for up to three to four days in the refrigerator.  To reheat, cover with foil and reheat in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Makes 6 servings (1/2 cup each).

Calories per serving: 135 calories