Noah and I leave for Vietnam on Wednesday (!!). While we attempt to throw together clothes for 70 degree weather (the Denver area no longer sells board shorts, FYI), we have also been avoiding any type of Asian food for about a month. I am now craving pho, noodle bowls,
and airport food, so I guess you could say it worked. Instead, we’ve been eating plenty of Mexican, Italian, and some good ‘ol American food.
I wanted to share my recent discovery with all of you that has kept us fueled around here- you can cook beans in the slow cooker without soaking them! I have found that I can’t distinguish the texture of the beans with or without the soak- so let’s skip that step, shall we? Whether you want to cook black beans for tacos or make these refried beans, follow the same steps and just decide at the end to blend or not. Here’s to eating the leftovers of this batch until we fly out Wednesday!
Slow Cooker Refried Beans (makes approx. 7 cups beans, less volume once mashed)
- 1 lb dry pinto (or black) beans
- 1 sweet onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 cups water minimum
- After cooking: 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp chili powder or cumin
In a slow cooker, empty a 1 pound bag of dried beans. Chop up an onion and dice the cloves of garlic, and add them on top. Cover everything with at least 6-7 cups water, ensuring that you have about two inches of liquid covering the beans.
Turn the slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours and cover it and walk away. *Some readers have had issues with their beans burning, and I realized it was because I live at high altitude- mine take around 5-6 hours on high.* Like magic, when you return later, you will have a beautiful slow cooker full of perfectly cooked beans! Add salt and chili powder or cumin to taste at this point (adding it beforehand can toughen the beans as they are cooking).
You can use these beans in tacos or burritos, or simply mash or blend some or all of them using an immersion blender or food processor to create the refried bean consistency. I make sure to drain any additional liquid in the slow cooker if I’m using them as refried beans so the texture is thick. The seasonings are key to avoid boring beans- try my recommendations above and adjust!
I may be guilty of eating these by the spoonful with red pepper flakes, sour cream, lime and cilantro. This is my new favorite vegetarian slow cooker bean recipe, and will be a standby in our apartment. Look out for a new What I Ate post later this week!