Ah, refried beans. They’re the perfect accompaniment for any Mexican dish, a delicious addition to burritos or even a great base for huevos rancheros in the morning. But traditional refried beans are cooked slowly in lard to give them their creamy texture and rich flavor. That means loads of saturated fat and calories–not the way you want to go. But we’ve lightened up your favorite side dish with some common-sense tips that cut the fat.

You won’t find any lard in our beans. Instead, the beans are sauteed in olive oil to give them just a bit of healthy fat. Then, we puree half the beans until they’re smooth and creamy, so they act as a thickening agent for the other half of the unpureed beans. We also stir in shredded cheese to add even more thickness and gooeyness, but you can substitute low-fat or fat-free cheese. You can even skip the cheese all together, but your refried beans will be a little looser.

Serve your beans on taco night or use them to build a delicious vegetarian tostada on a whole-wheat tortilla. ¡Que delicioso!


  • 4 1/2 cups of Randall Pinto Beans
  • 6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt, (or to taste)
  • 8 ounces shredded jack cheese
  • Extra cheese for the top, if desired

Drain the beans over a bowl. Measure out 1/2 cup of the liquid and reserve. Purée the beans with the 1/2 cup of reserved liquid in a food processor or blender until mixture is very smooth. (If blender is used, pour in the liquid first, then add the beans.)

Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan. Add the onion. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onion is just tender. Stir in the puréed beans.

Add the sugar, hot pepper sauce and salt. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the cheese until it is melted. Serve hot as a vegetable side dish with more cheese melted on top of each serving.

Makes about 5 cups (8 servings)

Summertime is the perfect time to try this tasty recipe featuring Randall Beans