Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quesadillas with Homemade Refried Beans

Mexican food is a huge favorite around my house. And refried beans make a Mexican meal (I actually judge Mexican restaurants on their refried beans. If they aren't good, it ruins the whole meal for me. For reals). For years, when I cooked Mexican food at home, I just used a can of store-bought refried beans. They weren't great, or even all that good, but they completed the meal in my mind. What's enchiladas or tacos without beans? But I knew there must be something better out there, something I could do to make the refried-beans-home-experience tastier. Something that didn't include me having to buy lard (shudder).
And it turns out that there is a super easy, healthier, vegetarian way to make refried beans at home. And they are so delicious, you'll never buy canned refried beans again. For a meatless meal, these refried black beans on a cheese quesadilla make a terrific mid-week lunch or dinner.


2 cans black beans (do not drain)
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup cheese (cheddar and pepper jack make a good combo, but any cheese works)
4 flour tortillas
1 tablespoon butter
avocado, sour cream, and salsa (optional)


1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beans and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 15-20 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, and mash the beans with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Stir, cover, and return to heat until liquid is completely evaporated, but beans are still slightly moist, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Shred the cheese. Lay a tortilla flat, and cover with a thin layer of refried beans. Add shredded cheese to one side and fold in half.

4. Melt butter in pan and cook quesadilla, turning once the cheese has melted. Repeat with other tortillas. Cut in half, and serve with sliced avocado, sour cream, and salsa, if desired.

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