Refried Black Beans

I have nachos for dinner almost every night these days. One of the benefits of eating the same thing(s) all the time is the cost: I can make a big pot of black beans for less than $10 (often less than $5), and it will last me 2 or 3 weeks. Another wonderful thing: I never wonder what I’m going to have for dinner. But there are also drawbacks: I have to be sure that I’m getting complete nutrition from the two or three meals I eat every day, and people find my diet rather strange.

Anyway. Here’s my Black Bean recipe. It can be doubled or tripled fairly easily, and I’ve substituted pinto beans with no ill effects.

Prep time: 10 minutes (or 12 hours + 10 minutes); Cook time: 2-4 hours; Servings: 10.


  • one pound of black beans
  • one medium red onion, coarsely chopped (yellow and white also work fine)
  • one clove of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 3T Cumin
  • 2T Chili Powder
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
Soak the black beans over night (or all day while you’re at work, or both) in a large pot. The quick soak instructions on the package have never worked for me, but you could try for yourself.
Drain and rinse the beans, and add back to the pot. Cover with 6 cups hot water, bring to a boil, and simmer with the lid tilted for about two hours, or until the beans are mostly softened.
Add remaining ingredients and cook until the onions are soft: about 20 minutes should be fine.
Drain beans, reserving the liquid, and grind them up in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return beans to the pot and add enough liquid back in to make a loose paste. Cook this for an additional 20 minutes or so (this is the ‘refried’ part).
I make my own tortilla chips (4 corn tortillas, cut into 32 wedges, very lightly salted, and heated at 325 until crispy: this makes a decent amount for one meal for one person), but you could easily serve over store-bought chips, or rolled up like a burrito. Add shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese, sour cream, guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, or whatever and make it your own!

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