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Frijoles Negros Refritos (Refried Black Beans)

Inspired by recent Mexican supperclubs, tamale parties and Mexican cookery classes, we're going Mexican style on this Meat Free Monday with one of our most popular recipes: Frijoles Negros Refritos. It may sound like a simple dish, but one taste of these and you'll realise this is so much more than a bowl of beans. The beans are cooked with lots of onion, garlic, chilli, epazote (a Mexican herb), lime, orange juice and other spices to give it a real complexity. They are the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican meal. We like to serve them alongside corn tortillas, salsa verde and guacamole.


Epazote is a pungent native Mexican herb that is too strong to eat raw. It’s best added to the water when cooking beans, slow cooked stews or mole, adding a far more subtle flavour. It’s an easy annual herb to grow in our climate if you grow to like it!

The beans freeze really well so it's worth making a big batch and storing extra in the freezer.

If you haven’t got dried black beans you can use pinto beans.

Frijoles Negros Refried Black Beans

Frijoles Negros Refritos Re-fried Black Beans

Dietary: Vegan | Serves: 6


  • 200g dried black beans
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried epazote (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion-halved
  • A sprinkle of fresh thyme
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp epazote (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 orange, juice of
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • lots of chopped coriander
  • brown sugar
  • salt and pepper


  1. Soak the beans in lots of water overnight.
  2. Next day drain the beans and rinse them, checking for any stray stones.
  3. Boil in plenty of water with the bay, half onion, garlic and epazote until tender, which takes 1-2 hours-keep checking the level of the water and top up a little if the beans are drying out. When the beans are soft remove the onion and bay, drain and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft.
  5. Add the garlic and chilli to the onion and fry until fragrant. Then add the paprika, epazote, coriander & cumin and quickly stir-fry.
  6. Add the cooked beans, orange & lime juice and cook gently until the beans begin to break down and the fruit juice has been absorbed. Add a little water if the mix gets too thick and then taste-add sugar, salt and pepper to your taste.
  7. Serve garnished with chopped coriander with corn tortillas and bowls of extra sliced jalapenos, spring onion. chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and cheese.


Clean Detox Day 7: Mexican Day | smarterfitter on 6th Sep 2013 said:

[...] Airbnb dinner and the request was Mexican, so I made Rachel’s awesome frijoles negros to go with roast butternut squash and feta mole enchiladas (adapted from Rachel’s vegetarian [...]

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Clean Detox Day 9: Uses for refried black beans | on 7th Sep 2013 said:

[...] I call “pretend tacos”, and my use for day 7 leftovers – refried black beans and mango salsa with avocado served in little gem lettuce taco “shells”. On the side, [...]

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