Sneak Preview: This Refried Beans and Ground Beef recipe is perfectly seasoned to make a quick burrito. You only need to add lots of cheese (and maybe some salsa and sour cream).
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When you live in Texas, Mexican food is part of the landscape. But as an Indiana farm girl, I did not always crave Tex-Mex as I do now. I think it’s because of the infamous canned tamales.
A glass jar of tamales sat in my mom’s pantry for years. I can still picture it. We used to move that jar around in the cabinet while looking for something tastier. When we finally opened the jar, the tamales were mushy and flavorless.
It’s a wonder I ever touched Mexican food again.
Then, I married a Texan. That changed everything.
Refried beans with ground beef became my new favorite tortilla stuffer. Now, our whole family loves them! We also love these beans on our burgers.
Throughout my married life, I have tried many refried bean recipes. This one is slightly more complicated but worth the trouble. Ground beef increases the flavor considerably. Also, you don’t have to use the more traditional lard or bacon grease unless you want to.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- DRIED PINTO BEANS: Please note that the older dried beans are, the longer they will take to cook. Substitute 4 (15 oz.) cans of pinto beans that have been rinsed and well-drained for dried beans if you want to save time.
- SALT: Omit the salt if you are using canned beans.
- GROUND BEEF: Substitute turkey or ground breakfast-style sausage if you like.
- OYSTER SAUCE: Don’t be put off by the name. You can read more about oyster sauce here. It is a common Chinese cooking ingredient that adds umami. You could leave it out, but it is an important component of the taste profile of these beans. Soy sauce and hoisin sauce are two possible substitutes.
- TOMATO PASTE: If you use tomato paste from the can, freeze the remainder for later. Using tomato paste squeezed from a tube is even easier.
- JALAPEÑO PEPPER: If you don’t have a fresh jalapeño pepper, substitute 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of pickled jalapeño peppers. Did you know you can freeze fresh jalapeño peppers? You don’t even have to cut them up. Just throw a bag of whole fresh peppers in the freezer.
- ADOBO SEASONING: This is a Puerto Rican spice mixture. If unavailable, substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano.
Can I freeze these refried beans?
These beans freeze beautifully. Place them in freezer zipper-locked bags for convenience.
One tortilla plus a small serving of these refried beans equals an effortless, healthy lunch when eaten with my daily salad.
How to make refried beans with ground beef:
Parting thoughts: We use these beans as a hearty dip and a burrito filling. Since they freeze well, you can almost always find them in my freezer.
Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.
Ground Beef and Refried Beans Recipe
- 1 pound (454 g) dried pinto beans
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 pound (454 g) lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (50 g) large egg
- ¼ cup (37 g) oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ (75 g) large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
- ½ teaspoon Adobo seasoning
- Soak 1 pound (454 g) dried pinto beans and cook according to package, adding 1½ teaspoons salt AFTER beans are tender.
- Meanwhile, combine 1 pound (454 g) lean ground beef, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 (50 g) large egg, ¼ cup (37 g) oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, and 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Mix it however you can. Hands work best–it’s like making meatloaf. Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator while the beans cook.
- When beans are tender, drain off juice and reserve.
- In a separate skillet, brown ground beef mixture, ½ (75 g) large onion, coarsely chopped, chopped, and 1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped. Drain excess grease.
- Combine beans and meat in one pot and start mashing. A fork will work, but a masher or granny fork works faster. An immersion blender works even better. Mash until there are no prominent whole beans but still some texture. Put small batches in a food processor if you don’t want lumps. Add reserved liquid until beans are the thickness you like. If they are still too thick, add a little more water.
- Season with ½ teaspoon Adobo seasoning and simmer on the stove over low heat for another 30-45 minutes.