A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

Vegetarian Refried Beans

Our family makes burritos and tacos at least once a week. A large batch of refried beans provides plenty of leftovers for quick bean and cheese burritos for daily lunches.

These beans were a revelation when we began making them– so incredibly delicious and rich, the first time my huband made them we ate most of our dinner on bites of freshly made tortillas standing at the kitchen counter. They are vegan if you omit the butter, and the flavor is so wonderful, no one will miss the lard from traditional refried beans. They may ruin canned beans forever.

Vegetarian Refried Beans

1 Lb pinto beans

1 onion, halved

2 carrots, broken into large pieces

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

10 whole coriander seeds

10 whole black peppercorns


2 sprigs thyme

2 T butter (optional)

2 T vegetable oil or other neutral oil

Place the beans in a large bowl and cover by several inches with water as they will double their volume as they expand. Leave to soak over night.

Pour off the water. Place the the beans in a large pot with 6 cups of water and the vegetables. Enclose the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a tea strainer and place in the pot. Season with a  good pinch of salt.

Cook the beans for about an hour until they are tender but al dente (not soft). Strain and return the liquid and all other ingredients– except the beans– to the pot to continue simmering. Add the thyme.

When the broth has reduced down to about 2 cups or so, strain, return to the pot and add the butter if desired for a smooth creaminess.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium. Add the oil. When it’s hot, toss in the beans. Fry and mash them with a fork for several minutes, then begin adding in the broth. Continue cooking and adding until you’ve reached the desired consistency, using most or all of the flavorful liquid. Plenty of beans left whole offers a wonderful texture.

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I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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