It’s the holidays, which means ’tis the season for parties and finger foods. There’s a certain art to creating great finger food. You need something that’s easy to eat, but you can’t just put out a plate of veggies and dip and call it a day. You need to give your guests something that’s at least a little substantial. At the same time, you don’t necessarily want to break the bank with pricey ingredients like shrimp or salmon. The solution? Turn to something easy and affordable with these cheese and refried bean phyllo triangles.

Phyllo is a flaky, crumbly pastry you can find in your frozen foods department. It is made of very thin layers of dough and lots of butter, which gives it a wonderful crunchy texture when baked. We’ve paired it with creamy refried beans, but there’s a secret: they aren’t really fried. We’ve simply pureed our delicious pinto beans with a ton of Southwestern flavors, which gives us a dish with all the flavor and a fraction of the fat. Best of all? You know exactly what’s in these refried beans, so you know there’s no lard, and you control the salt content. Win-win.

The refried beans are quick, easy and can be made in advance. Just keep the beans in a covered bowl until the day of your party, then spoon into phyllo dough. You’ll have the perfect homemade finger food you can feel good serving to your guests.

Randall Hearty ‘N Healthy Refried Beans:

Ingredients

  • 1 48-ounce jar Randall Pinto Beans
  • 6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon 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
Instructions

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.

Makes about 5 cups.

Instructions

  • 1 box frozen phyllo pastry sheets, (about 24 sheets)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing on pastry)
  • 1 cup Randall Hearty and Healthy Refried Beans
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded jack cheese
Ingredients

Place a sheet of phyllo pastry on a large cutting board. Using a soft bristle pastry brush, brush lightly with some of the olive oil. Place a second sheet of phyllo directly on top of the first one, pressing carefully to smooth and seal the edges.

Lightly brush some oil on the second sheet and cut the pastry into 4 lengthwise strips. Leaving a 1″ margin on the end, place a spoonful of the refried beans on the pastry; top with some of the cheese.

Fold up “flag fashion,” to form a triangle which encased the bean-cheese mixture. Seal the end with oil and lightly brush the top with oil. Repeat with remaining dough and fillings. Place phyllo triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake in the upper one-third of a preheated 375° oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Makes about 48 appetizers.

Note: For a spicy filling, add a small slice of pickled jalapeño pepper between the beans and cheese.

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