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a simple real food recipe :: batch cooking pintos :: sprouted refried beans

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These are the *best* refried beans.They are so delicious that in addition to using them on taco night, we usually have a jar hanging around in the fridge to spread on homemade crackers or just eat plain for lunch with a side of tomatoes and fruit.Canned refried beans have nothing on homemade. These are so much more flavorful. I can’t wait for you to try them!

By going with dry beans, sprouting, and then cooking them, you are not only making the beans more digestible and taking the “gassy-ness” out of them, but you are saving a ton of money.  This $2.62 bag of dry pintos will make 4 very full pints of refried beans (which is a little bigger than a “can” of refried beans). That is $0.65/”can” and these “cans” are a little bigger than the typical 15 oz cans in the store…pretty good! Especially for organic! You are also skipping out on the BPA lined cans that leach into the beans, and preservatives/MSG in most brands.

The dry bean sprouting and cooking is not difficult. My sprouting process is according to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Here is what sprouted beans look like – it only takes about a day and a half.Give it a try! You will be so proud of yourself starting something so easy from scratch! The beans themselves freeze up nicely and usually I just freeze them up in 2 cup portions for use in making refried beans. If you store the 2 cups in a sandwich baggies and then those into a big freezer bag you can organize them laying flat with other beans, and you can re-use the freezer bag when you are done.Once the beans are made up, the refried beans only take about 15 or so minutes to make! Simple!


  1. Place your dry pinto beans in a large mixing bowl and cover with filtered water 3 inches above the beans.
  2. Put the bowl under the light in your oven or a warm spot in your kitchen for 12 hours or overnight.
  3. After 12 hours drain and rinse the beans and put the beans back into the bowl. (NO water).
  4. Put the rinsed out beans under the light in the oven or a warm spot in your kitchen until the beans sprout. Rinse them with water 3 times a day until they sprout. Under the warm light in your oven this will only take about a day.
  5. After your beans sprout, put them in a large soup pot and cover them with water and/or homemade stock. I usually use a quart of stock and fill the rest with water. Only fill with liquid to the level of the beans – you don’t need a ton of liquid above since the beans already soaked up liquid during the soak.
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer with the lid on until the beans are bite tender. Pintos only take an hour or so.


2 cups sprouted cooked pintos

3-4 TB friendly fat to cook in (butter, lard, coconut oil)

1 small/medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

¼ tsp chili powder

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp pepper

Whole milk or coconut milk added for creaminess to preference (It usually ends up being about 1/3 cup for me)

  1. Sauté the onion in the friendly fat for a few minutes with a pinch of salt to bring out the juices and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the beans and seasonings and mix together.
  4. Add the milk and bring to a low simmer for about 10 minutes until the milk is soaked in and everything is creamy.
  5. At this point you can either use a potato masher to mash the beans, or if you prefer a smoother consistency, you can blend in a blender.

Kitchen Tips:

  1. PLEASE don’t be intimidated if you have never done dry beans or this looks like too much work. This is why you BATCH UP! Once the beans are batched up you have plenty of “cans” of beans ready to go! The actual process of making the refried beans part only takes maybe 15 minutes. This batch of beans typically lasts a good 2-3 months for us. If you think you will go through more, just double up the batch of beans so you don’t have to do them as often!
  2. Seriously the refried beans are SO good just on their own! But you can use them on traditional tacos or burritos, on crackers, spread into veggies or as a dip to veggies…the possibilities are endless really!
  3. I like mine topped with sour cream or guacamole – it is the perfect lunch or snack!


What do you like using refried beans for? Let me know if you have bean sprouting questions! Pintos sprout so easy and fast – it is a good one to start with if you have never sprouted before! Tell us how you like the recipe if you try it!

This post was shared at Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday and The Polikva Family’s Family Table Tuesday, and Holistic Squid’s Party Wave Wednesday!

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  • Aimee
    May 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    These are amazing!!! I’ve tried my share of refried bean recipes, and this is by far the best tasting. This is also my first attempt at sprouted beans. I’m hopeful I can tolerate these better than regular beans, because I’m really starting to have problems. I’m waiting right now to find out 🙂 Thank you so much!

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  • Christina G
    January 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Do you freeze your beans after cooking them or just after they sprout? Also, when you taken your frozen beans out before cooking, do you let them thaw for a time, or can you just throw them in frozen with the onions (or if they are frozen before cooking, throw them into a pot with water to boil). 🙂

    • Renee
      January 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Hi Christina!

      Freeze the beans after you cook them.

      And I have been known to forget the thawing and just throw them in the pan frozen 😉 It works!

      Hope that helps!

  • Elly
    January 10, 2013 at 10:22 am

    THANK you! I am bringing refried beans to a party Saturday (taco bar) and I was hoping you would post your recipe in time for me to make them! YAY! I will let you know how it works out!

    • Renee
      January 10, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Oh fun! That’s great! Let me know how it goes!