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Refried Black Bean Sandwiches

Updated on January 12, 2015

Refried Beans In All Their Glory

As long as I can remember, I've been aware of the refried bean burrito. Refried beans are actually rather healthy, as you don't need a great deal of oil to fry them. In fact, mashing the beans and mixing in sour cream will work just as well. To keep them from sticking, just stir them as you're refrying and mix in a bit of water from time to time.

So, how many times can you refry beans? Actually, the english word for frijoles refritos, is a mistranslation. The more correct translation would be very- or well-fried beans. I'm sure there's been many a joke made about the thought of frying beans again and again ad infinitum.

Refried beans are standard fare in the Mexican diet. Many of the common foods such as corn tortillas, salsa, pico, beans, red rice and more, make for a healthy diet. It's when the Mexican diet collided with the European or North American diet that the healthier qualities of the Hispanic traditional diet began to go by the wayside.

Most commonly, pinto beans are the legume used in refried beans. As this recipe demonstrates, other beans can be refried and/or mashed as well. Consider hummus also. The garbanzo bean is cooked then mashed with other ingredients to make this famous dip which usually accompanies pita bread wedges.

On the subject of dips, frijoles refritos, can be used for a dip. Up the game by adding stronger spices like chili powder and cumin along with a bit of lemon. Increase the onion and garlic used. Roasted peppers are a great addition as well. Serve this with tortilla chips.

The best characteristic of refried beans is that they can be spread on bread, pita, tortillas or even lettuce leaves. Dress it up by sprinkling cheese on top while it's still hot. I like diced fresh onion in my refried beans.

Leftover refried beans are great over a cheese omelette in the morning. I add water to make it really soupy, then cook it down again so the flavors get stronger. Once it's cooked down to a thick gravy consistency, it's perfect to ladle over an omelet or scrambled eggs.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you'll enjoy my Southwestern Soft Taco recipe.


  • 3 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 cup Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 2 tbs Jalapeno, Diced (remove seeds)
  • 1 cup Tomato, Diced
  • 1 cup Black Beans, Cooked
  • Spinach Leaves, Whole (as needed in lieu of lettuce)
  • 1 tbs Cilantro, Chopped
  • Cheese, Grated (to sprinkle over beans)
  • 4 Bolillo Roles
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Diced
  • 1 can Sweet Corn, Drained
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream, I use yogurt instead.
  1. Heat olive oil.
  2. Sautée onion, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeño.
  3. Once onion mixture softens, add tomato. Continue to brown, stirring often.
  4. Once tomato starts to break down, ad beans.
  5. Mash beans then incorporate them in with the tomato mixture.
  6. Lower heat.
  7. Slice bolillo buns width-wise, then toast on hot griddle. You can butter the halves first if you like.
  8. Once toasted, spread sour cream or Greek yogurt on bottom bun halves (top bun halves too, if desired).
  9. Top the bottom of the buns with spinach leaves and cilantro
  10. Spread the bean mixture over the four upper bun halves. Sprinkle with grated cheese as desired.
  11. On the lower bun halves, top with the remaining ingredients.
  12. Mate the two halves together for each sandwich.
  13. Serve and enjoy.

How to Make Refried Beans

The recipe for the video above is at Tracy Cooks.

What's a Bolillo?

The bolillo, aka: pan francés, is a bread found in Mexico. There's a picture of it in the image above. The distinctive shape belies the fact that it's really close kin to the French baguette. When it was first brought to Mexico in the 1860s, it quickly became popular.

Today, you can find the bolillo masquerading by many names throughout Mexico. If you want to make your own bolillo rolls, check out the YouTube video below. I enjoy making different types of bread, when I have time.

In my younger years, when I lived in California, my friends and I would visit Tijuana and other cities further south of the border. I always enjoyed the Tortas sold at the various food stands. These were made on bolillos also and were always so good. This YouTube video shows just one of the many ways to make tortas.

The tortas I used to get down south of the border were packed with chicken, sauteed onion and bell pepper, tomatoes and lettuce. The bread was always as good as the ingredients themselves and everything was prepared fresh. I suspect the buns were made that same day.

If you're new to Mexican food and fare from south of the border, then begin your own tour of foods that have a spicy flare. You might even start a collection of recipes to try out on your family or for yourself. Most of all, make all your eats an experience to be savored.

Refried Black Bean Sandwiches

Cast your vote for Refried Black Bean Sandwiches

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: four sandwiches

© 2015 Tanya Jones

Thanks for stopping in. I enjoy getting comments on my hubs.

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    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting, vespawoolf. I thought that was an interesting bit of info when I found it. I love bean sandwiches.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      I usually think of refried beans with tortillas, but you´re right! They would also be delicious in a sandwich. I didn´t realize a bolillo is the same thing as pan francés, which is what they call it in Peru. Thank you for this interesting information.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      In a pinch, yes peachpurple, I use canned beans. I'm just never sure of what they're packed in. So, I make beans in larger quantities than needed then freeze them in one-cup measures. Thanks for taking a moment to stop in and comment.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Looks good, using canned beans is much faster and easier, voted up

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      LisaMarieGabriel, thanks for visiting and commenting. I like things spicy too. Nowadays, I tone down the heat a bit more than I used to. I have to try red kidney beans for humus sometime. I'm glad you liked the page.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      Hi, chefsref, thanks for stopping in and commenting. Those were the days. Beans are underutilized in my opinion.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love spicy cooking, chilli and refried beans. Sometimes I make humus with red kidney beans, olive oil and and garlic. I like this page very much.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 3 years ago from Citra Florida

      This reminded me of my grandfather. He used to speak of going to the Automat in NYC during the Depression and getting a bean sandwich for a nickle

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      Thank you, Ericdierker, for stopping in and commenting. Though the actual sandwich probably won't appear on any menu, I do recall a friend telling me many years ago that their mother would pack bean sandwiches in their lunches. I adapted that idea to something with a more southwestern / south-of-the-border flair. Have a great day.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very cool recipe and article. Just six miles from the border here all these foods are popular and delicious. Yours is different than any I have seen. We will give it a try in this house. Thank you