A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What Can Make Burgers, Brownies, and Bean Dip?

Refried Beans! For the sake of convenience I buy the canned, fat free version, but you can make your own too. Just cook your favorite bean (they don’t have to be pinto) with some spices and mash with a fork or potato masher. Most restaurants serve refried beans made with lard or oil, but beans don’t need fat for flavor. Save the unwanted calories for healthier ingredients and opt for fat free.

You can find canned refried beans in both pinto and black bean varieties in most stores. I usually have one of each in the pantry to just change things up as needed. The convenience of the can is always nice for the working population. Be cautious of the high sodium content in canned foods, though, that’s one bad thing about the cans. Right after opening the can, I will put it under slow-running water and drain as much as possible a few times; every little bit helps! Here are a few of my favorite uses for mashed beans.

Bean Patties


1 (14 - 16oz) Can of Refried beans – Pinto or Black will do
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats or Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
1 Egg and 2 Egg Whites
Salt, pepper, cayenne, onion powder, cilantro, cumin powder, and garlic powder to taste – I just dash some of each one until it seems like a good amount
1 Jalapeno – seeded and diced (Optional)
Chopped Chives
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined. Spray a non-stick pan with cooking oil and set to medium-high heat. Take a large spoonful of the bean mixture and set on the pan; lightly mash down to and shape to resemble a burger patty. Cook until lightly brown (about 3-4 minutes) and flip over to cook the other side. Once lightly browned on both sides, remove patty and place on a paper towel-lined plate; repeat for remaining mixture.
Use the patty to make a veggie burger (way better than the frozen store varieties) with all the toppings you would put on a beef burger. My favorite way to enjoy is to skip the bread and top with brown mustard, salsa, and a dollop of plain, non-fat yogurt; sometimes I'll add a little guacamole too....YUM! You can also slice and wrap it in a tortilla with your desired toppings for scrumptious bean burrito. Add a little low-fat cheddar or part-skim mozzarella for extra flavor.

Personal Mexican Pizza


1 (14 - 16oz) Can of Refried beans
Corn Tortillas
Low-fat Cheddar or Mozzarella, Shredded
Chopped tomatoes and lettuce
Cayenne, Cumin, and Onion Powder, sprinkle some of each to taste
Cilantro, fresh or dried
Salsa and Non-fat, Plain Yogurt for topping

Depending on how many pizzas you want to make will determine the amount of tortillas and refried beans needed. Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Mix the beans with desired amount of cilantro and spices and spread a generous amount over corn tortilla. Sprinkle shredded cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce as desired and place in oven for 8 – 12 minutes. If the tortilla starts to darken around the edges earlier, remove it. Now you have an easy personal pizza, just keep making more as needed. Top with salsa and yogurt.

Refried Bean Brownies


1 (15.5 ounce) can refried black or pinto beans
1 egg and 3 egg whites
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp liquid Stevia or 9 tsp granulated Stevia
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish or just line with parchment paper. Combine the all ingredients in a blender or processor and blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. If using, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.
These are a great high protein treat you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. Try your own variations with pumpkin puree or yogurt in place of applesauce for new and interesting flavors.

For something really quick that requires no cooking, just open a can of refried beans, empty into a bowl, add your favorite dip ingredients and you have a quick dip in less than 5 minutes. Common add-ins for me include cayenne (go figure), cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro, Dijon mustard, salsa, non-fat plain yogurt (just like sour cream with less calories and more protein), and even mashed avocado. There are many ways to spruce up the plain beans, but I can eat them without anything added as well.

Still looking for other uses? Add some to soups, stews, sauces, or chilis as a tasty and nutritious thickener. Make Mexican lasagna using corn tortillas as the “noodle” layers and beans as the filling. You can even mix with rice and use as a stuffing for bell peppers to treat a delight friends and family.

Beans are a great addition to any diet as supply quality carbohydrates, protein, fiber, little or no fat, and many nutrients. I hope you’ve been inspired to try one or all of these uses for refried beans; your taste buds will thank you. How do you like to enjoy beans? Whether in their whole form, mashed, or pureed, post your favorites to the comments section, I’d love to try something new!

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