Who says refried beans have to be unhealthy? These Vegan Refried Black Beans are made from only 5 clean ingredients! This dip is smokey, silky smooth and has a bright finish. I love loading it onto collard wraps, into tacos and on salads. You can use it wherever you would typically use hummus.
Growing up I used to love my Guatemalan step dad’s refried beans. We used to scarf them down atop tostadas for taco Tuesday. I always assumed they were healthy! Until I found out that it was made with lard! As I got older and more health conscious I started avoiding the dish. I wasn’t eating canned food or lard back then and since authentic refried beans are made with lard, this was very disappointing for me.
Even though I wasn’t eating the refried black beans my step dad used to make anymore, the aromatics always taunted me. It smelled so good! Hot refried beans scooped right out of the pan and onto a plate is simply the most satisfying thing ever.
So I decided to try and create my own vegan version. After a few tries I nailed down the perfect combination of ingredients and steps. You’ll love this recipe because it’s simple, quick and versitile.
What you’ll Need to Make Vegan Refried Black Beans
The ingredient list couldn’t be smaller! Sometimes I’ll throw in a little fresh cilantro, but this is optional!
- Black Beans– I prefer the boxed black beans, but you can use home made or low sodium canned as well. Save the aquafaba. This is the cooking liquid from the beans.
- Onion – Any kind of white onion will work, yellow, white, sweet, etc.
- Oil – Since we’ll be cooking this at a high heat you can also use safflower or coconut oil to make sure the oil doesn’t get heated above the smoke point.
- Lemon or Lime juice works just fine!
- Garlic – Fresh or Jarred work.
- Chili Pepper
- Fresh Cilantro
With all of the substitutions and ingredient swaps listed under the section above, you can really have fun and change up the flavor profile of the beans.
Spicy – If you want to add a kick to your beans add in 1/4 tsp of chili powder.
Smokey – Add an extra tablespoon of cumin.
Chunky – Remove 1/2 cup of the black beans after you cook them. Blend the rest in the food processor and then swirl the unblended beans in.
How to Make this Recipe Step By Step
Step 1: Dice the onion while the oil heats up in a deep skillet. You don’t have to dice the onion perfectly since they will be going into a food processor. Add the onion and season generously with salt. Sweat until translucent for about 5-10 minutes. Next, add pressed garlic and cumin. You can mince the garlic or use a garlic press. Lower the heat so you don’t burn it. Sauté for another few minutes.
Step 2: Add the black beans and aquafaba. Stir and raise the heat to medium high. Let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes uncovered or until 2/3rds of the liquid is left. You want the beans to be wet but not overly so. Transfer the beans to a food processor, add lemon juice, salt and cilantro. Blend until smooth.
Pro Tip: If cooked too long the beans will be dry. You can remedy this by adding a 1/4th cup of water or vegetable stock.
Can you Make Refried Beans with Canned Black Beans?
Many plant based purists would faint at the idea of making refried black beans from a can. But it’s completely doable. While I would LOVE to cook with fresh soaked and sprouted black beans, sometimes that just isn’t possible. During busy days when I need to get a meal on the table quickly, using a can of black beans will always yield good results!
The trick to making refried beans using canned black beans is to save the liquid in the can. Most people rinse the beans and pat them dry before cooking. But you’re washing away all the flavor! Use that liquid (known as aquafaba) to your advantage and your canned creation will taste phenomenal.
More Recipes with Beans
- Flank Steak Tacos with Roasted Brussels sprouts and Avocado Jalapeño Hummus (can be made vegan)
- 30 Minute Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
- Air-Fryer Sweet Potatoes taste amazing when dipped into this puree.
- Black Bean Brownies
- Split Pea Hummus
- Large Deep Skillet
- Heat oil in a large deep skillet. While the oil is heating dice the onion and press the garlic with a garlic press or mince by hand. Add onions to the pan and saute for 10 minutes stiring often to make sure they don't burn. Once translucent add the garlic and cumin to and saute for another 5 minutes. Lower the heat so the garlic does not burn.
- Add the beans and liquid and stir. Simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes or until 1/3rd of the cooking liquid evaporates. Transfer to a food blender and process until smooth. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt.