Home made Low fat Vegetarian Refried beans with Baked Tortilla Chips

I love Mexican Food…I love how the usage of spices, beans and rice in the Mexican cuisine is very similar to Indian cuisine. If you are a vegetarian like me, you would love the fact that Mexican food has so many vegetarian options. I especially love the refried beans they serve in Mexican restaurants. I love the creamy taste it has. But, only very lately I came to know that the refried beans are often times cooked in lard(pork fat). If you are thinking its a great vegetarian option and get refried beans at a restaurant, please double check if it has pork lard in it. Nowadays, I don’t get refried beans when I go to the restaurant, and get black beans instead. I still missed having refried beans and decided to make it myself.

Making refried beans is very easy, especially if you own a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. You can make it to suit your taste, by making it completely vegan or vegetarian, add spices as needed and control the quality and taste. I served it with another super healthy, super easy snack of Baked Tortilla chips. I used low carb multi grain tortillas, but you can use any kind of tortilla you have on hand.

Pressure cooked/Slow cooked Low fat Vegetarian Refried Beans
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
1 medium yellow onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika/kashmiri chilli powder
2 tbsp grated cheese(for topping)
Cilantro, sliced green onions for garnish
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup milk/water or vegetable stock(optional)

Soak the pinto beans in water for 4-6 hours.
Drain the soaked beans and place it in a slow cooker/pressure cooker with enought water to cover. Add in the chopped onions, garlic, oregano, cumin powder, salt and paprika. Close and cook for 4-6 whistles in a pressure cooker, or for 4 hours on high in the slow cooker. When the pressure releases, use a potato masher to mash the beans up. If you want it smoother, you could use an immersion blender. I personally like some texture and not for the beans to become a puree. If the mashed up bean mixture is too thick, you can thin it with a 1/4 cup water, stock or milk. Taste for salt and spices. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and pour in the cooked and mashed beans. Gently fry over medium heat until the oil is absorbed by the beans and the mixture thickens a bit. Serve hot, topped with grated cheese and sliced green onions.

Baked Multi Grain Tortilla Chips
2 10 inch low carb high fiber multigrain tortillas
non stick cooking spray
salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stack up the tortillas and cut so that it forms 8 triangles. Separate them and line them up on a single layer on a baking sheet. Spray very lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 6 minutes, until edges turn slightly golden. Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes, so that it crisps up and serve hot with dip of choice. I strongly recommend ‘refried beans’. 🙂

Verdict: A really low fat appetizer. The tortilla chips were crispy and were perfect for scooping up the yummy creamy refried beans. The beans were so much better than the one served in the restaurants and was also very healthy. I loved the warm, comforting spices in the beans too. A super easy recipe to make, thanks to pressure cooking/slow cooking.


  • The refried beans by itself is a South Beach diet – Phase 1 friendly recipe. If having it with the tortilla chips, you will have to wait until Phase 2.
  • The pinto beans don’t really require soaking, you can also use them directly without soaking, but you would have to increase the cooking time appropriately.
  • You can also make spicy tortilla chips by sprinkling the tortilla triangles with spices of choice. A great one would be to sprinkle with chaat masala.

Sending these delicious healthy appetizer to:
– ‘My Legume Love Affair #51‘, event series by Susan.

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