Really Delicious Vegetarian Refried Beans

I recently discovered the joy of cooking beans from scratch.  After a few trials, this is my favorite recipe for vegetarian re-fried beans.  Everyone who has tried them loves them, even my kids (ages 14-mos, almost 3-yrs, and 5-yrs).  We have some favorite relatives coming to visit this weekend (UW & AP) so I had to make them again!

As a kid, I remember my parents trying to make beans from scratch a handful of times.  I remember that they never really turned out that great.  After discussing this memory with my parents and doing a little Google research, we found that the reason for the less-than-stellar results was that they had seasoned the water before they had cooked the beans.  The result was always crunchy beans.  Apparently, you cannot season the beans until they have been cooked and are already soft!  Waiting to season them is crucial!

Ingredients:
2 cups dried pinto beans (I get them in the bulk food section at Winco)
lots of water
1 sweet onion
1 heaping TBS chopped garlic (we really like garlic, so normal people might like less!)
2 tsp chilli powder
1 cup low sodium organic vegetable stock
1-2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Step 1:  Cover 2 cups of dried pinto beans with water in a large pot and soak them overnight.  Do not add any salt or seasonings to the water.

Step 2:  In the morning, rinse the beans, return them to the large pot and cover them with lots of water.  Bring them to a low boil and cook them until they are soft, about 3 hours.  Keep an eye on them and add more water as needed.  Do not add any salt or seasoning yet.

Step 3:  Chop up the sweet onion and saute it with the garlic and chilli powder in a pre-seasoned and oiled cast iron skillet.  Add more oil or butter as desired.  Saute until the onions are soft and translucent, about 20 min.

Step 4 (optional):  My kids don’t like to see pieces of onion in their beans so once the onion, chilli powder and garlic mixture has cooled a little I put it into a small Ninja blender, add about a cup of vegetable stock and blend it up.

Step 5:  Once the beans are already nice and smooshy you can finally add the sauteed mixture (either blended up or left as is), salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

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