I know plenty of people will think refried beans have limited Tex-Mex uses, but I learned better from my Grandpa Ed. Back in the day, he was a man who ate peanut butter like nobody's business; if my grandmother was away for a few days, he'd just eat peanut 'til she got back -- not because he couldn't cook but because it was all he really wanted to eat anyway. [You may recall I made a stick-to-your-mouth peanut butter shortbread in his honor.]
Unfortunately, sometime in his late 60s or early 70s, the doctor told him his cholesterol was too high and the peanut butter had to go... forever. It was a blow, but he soon discovered he could use canned low-fat refried beans as a substitute. It wasn't the same flavor, but somehow the texture was enough to satisfy him. How he discovered this, I do not know, but as a result I've tried refried beans in and on many things you may not otherwise consider... and, frankly, refried beans in a lunchmeat sandwich was a lot less weird than the peanut butter version. Refried beans and celery sticks? Delicious.
Recipe: Low-Fat Refried Beans
You can use this method with any type of canned bean you like, though pinto and black are my go-tos. Yes, you could use the same method with bacon grease.
2 tsp olive oil [or canola]
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can of beans, including canning liquid
1 pickled jalapeno, chopped [optional, not pictured]
Heat oil over medium high in a small skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant ~1 minutes, stirring constantly so as not to let the garlic brown. Add entire contents of canned beans and jalapeno (if using). [After I dump it I usually add a little water to the can to loosen the stuff at the bottom and throw that in, too. It'll cook off.] Use a hand ricer or masher [one that's safe for your chosen cookware] to mash the beans as they cook and become refried bean-consistency ~3-5 minutes. I like mine a little chunky, and you can just keep mashing until you like what you see, but turn off the heat once the masher (or a spatula) leaves a trail that doesn't fill in.
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate indefinitely. I don't know how long you technically should keep it, but I've made some pretty big batches and never had the leftovers go bad.
|this looks like more oil, but it's a very small pan|
If you want to make it more like Frito Bean Dip, add a little onion powder and garlic salt.