Recipe: Creamy, zingy, extra beany Refried Beans!

To celebrate the end of my first year of post grad (assuming I’ve passed the last exam and got passing marks on my last two papers!) I had a party the other night, and because I’m a sucker for punishment, I decided it would be a casual dinner party – in other words, I’d make a big pot of chilli, Gar would make a big pot of chilli, and we’d feed everyone.

I’m a sucker for Tex Mex and one of my favourite foods is refried beans.  The problem is that we only have one brand of tinned refried beans in Dublin and, well, they ain’t great.  So for the last several months I’ve been experimenting with bean recipes, using tinned and dried beans, different chillies, different levels of spice and different methods of smooshing, from fork to herb chopper to potato masher.  I prefer tinned beans to dried, as not only do they not require any soaking, but they are already cooked.  Every time I try cooking kidney beans they always have white hearts, no matter how long I’ve soaked and/or boiled them.  As I’m not a fan of ricin poisoning, I’ll just stick with the tinned beans.

This recipe gives you creamy, spicy beans but with the seeds removed from the chillies, it’s gently warm, not hot.  If you like it hotter, leave the seeds in (though they will not break down very well in the processor) or use a hotter chilli, such as a jalapeño or finger chillies.

Creamy Refried Beans

Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Time: 20 minutes including preparation

Serves: 4 as a side (more if used in tacos/tortillas), approximately 150 calories per serving

You will need:

  • 300g tinned kidney beans, drained
  • 125g tinned butter beans, drained
  • 2 green chillies, seeds removed
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh coriander
  • low calorie cooking spray/oil


  1. Roughly chop the chillies, onion and garlic.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the chopped chillies, onion and garlic.  Sauté briefly before adding the drained kidney and butter beans.  Season with salt and pepper (I used a chipotle sea salt and rose peppercorns) and cumin.
  3. Stir the beans frequently and cook until tender.
  4. When the beans are soft tip everything (carefully!) into a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy.
  5. Tear the fresh coriander and sprinkle over the beans.
  6. Serve immediately.

I love my chilli recipe and we have it for dinner once a week, but I was so happy with these beans I could have eaten them alone for dinner!


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