These low carb refried beans are surprisingly easy to make and they taste so much better than anything you will find in a can. Add them to your favorite keto Mexican food, or enjoy them all on their own.
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Refried beans may not be pretty, but what they lack in looks, they make up for with their deliciousness and versatility.
These low carb refried beans will fit seamlessly anywhere that you would use traditional refried beans (I love them in my Low Carb Enchiladas!) They are also great as a stand-alone side or as a dip for your favorite chips.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Eggplant - If you don't like eggplant, don't worry! You will never know that it is there. It simply adds some volume and improves the texture of the final dish.
- Rendered Bacon Grease or oil
- Ground Cumin
- Chili Powder
- Canned Black Soybeans - These are the lowest carb bean available. You can also use canned black or pinto beans, but they will have significantly higher carbs. Black soy beans are very similar in taste and texture to regular black beans. They are available in several health food stores, some grocery stores, and of course on Amazon (affiliate)
- Low Sodium Vegetable Broth - chicken or beef broth will also work.
See the recipe card for quantities.
If you have never made refried beans from scratch, then you will be surprised at just how simple it is.
Start out by preheating the oven and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick spray.
Then heat some of the bacon grease or oil (reserve a couple of teaspoons for later) in a large pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook stirring often just until the onions have begun to soften.
Next, add the cumin and chili powder and continue cooking for a few more minutes until the spices are fragrant and the onions are translucent.
Add the beans and broth to the pot and bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the beans to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally.
Hint: Make sure to thoroughly drain and rinse the black soybeans before adding them to the pot. The liquid in the can will be somewhat gelatinous and I find it helpful to empty the can into a mesh strainer for rinsing.
While the beans are simmering dice the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Then, coat the cubed eggplant in the remaining bacon grease or oil and season it with salt and pepper.
Roast the eggplant in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes tossing them halfway through.
After the beans have been simmering for at least 45 minutes, add the roasted eggplant to the pot.
Carefully, use an immersion blender to puree the beans and eggplant. You can make them as smooth or as chunky as you like.
Hint: If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or food processor. If you are using a blender, it's best to allow the mixture to cool some before adding it to the blender and remove the small feeder cap from the lid, covering it with a kitchen towel before blending.
After pureeing, return the beans to a low boil over medium heat. Continue cooking them uncovered, until they have thickened some. The longer you allow them to boil, the thicker they will become. Remove them from the heat when they have thickened to suit your preference.
- Vegan - To make these beans vegan or vegetarian, simply use oil in place of the bacon grease.
- Instant Pot - Add the onion, garlic, seasonings, beans, and broth to the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Then add the roasted eggplant and puree it with with beans. Use the saute function on the instant pot to boil the pureed beans until they are thickened to your liking.
- Add more veggies - you can really add just about any cooked, pureed vegetable to these refried beans. The vegetables that I think work best are portobella mushrooms, red peppers, and cauliflower. You will want to roast any vegetables until they are soft and slightly browned before adding them to the beans.
Having the right equipment can make a big difference in this recipe not to mention that it will also be easier to prepare! To make these low carb refried beans you will need:
- Measuring cups and spoons
- A knife and cutting board for dicing the eggplant
- A baking sheet
- A large pot with a lid
- An immersion blender
Leftovers will keep very well in the fridge or freezer. In fact, I usually plan on doubling the recipe so that I can always have some on hand. These beans will keep in the fridge for 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I suggest thawing frozen beans before heating them. Once they have thawed you can heat them in the microwave, oven, or in a skillet. If you find that the beans are drying out when reheating, add a bit of extra broth.
Black soybeans have the lowest amount of carbohydrates of any canned bean. They have just 5 net carbs for a half-cup serving and also have a lot of protein so they are very filling. Unfortunately, they can be hard to find, so I usually buy them in bulk online.
Mexican food is one of my all-time favorites. It is so flavorful and when made at home it is surprisingly healthy. I have plenty of low carb Mexican recipes but here are some of my favorite:
- Keto Enchiladas
- Low Carb Mexican Chicken and Cauliflower Rice
- Mini Taco Stuffed Peppers
- Low Carb Mexican Street Corn Salad
Do your future self a favor and double this recipe! These refried beans freeze very well. Making extra ensures that you always have them on hand with minimal extra work required.
Low Carb Refried Beans
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Baking Sheet
- Large Pot with a Lid
- Immersion Blender
- 2 tablespoon Rendered Bacon Grease or oil, melted
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ cup Onion diced
- 1 tablespoon Garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 30 oz Canned Black Soybeans rinsed and drained
- 3 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
- 1 lb Eggplant
- Preheat your oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Heat 1 ½ tablespoon of bacon grease or oil in the bottom of a large pot with a lid over medium-high heat.2 tablespoon Rendered Bacon Grease
- Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are beginning to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes stirring frequently.½ cup Onion, 1 tablespoon Garlic, 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin, 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- Add the drained and rinsed black soybeans and the vegetable broth to the pot, then bring it to a boil.30 oz Canned Black Soybeans, 3 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
- Reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- While the beans are simmering, cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Toss the cubed eggplant in the remaining ½ tablespoon of the bacon grease or oil and season them all over with salt and pepper.1 lb Eggplant, 2 tablespoon Rendered Bacon Grease, Salt and Pepper
- Roast the eggplant on the prepared baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until they are slightly browned, flipping them halfway through.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the roasted eggplant.
- Carefully, use an immersion blender to puree the beans and eggplant together. Continue blending them until they are smoothed to your liking.
- Return the pot to the stove and continue cooking, uncovered over medium heat, stirring frequently until the beans have thickened. The longer you cook them, the thicker they will become. They will also thicken some when they cool. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired and enjoy!
Be sure to read the entire post for tips, tricks, and help troubleshooting.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.