Refried beans may be made with pinto or black beans. In traditional preparations, mashed beans are cooked with lard and spices to create a rich, high-fat side dish. Canned versions of black refried beans are prepared with less fat and can make a healthy addition to meals.
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Calories and Macronutrients
The exact nutritional value of refried black beans depends on the brand selected. Most versions provide between 110 and 140 calories per 1/2-cup serving. The beans provide between 6 g and 7 g of protein and 18 g to 20 g of carbohydrates. Fat content ranges from 0 g to 3.5 g per serving.
Canned refried black beans provide 40 mg of calcium per serving, or about 4 percent of the recommended dietary allowance based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The black beans also provide 370 mg of potassium. Potassium helps regulate the balance of fluids and minerals in your body. Foods, such as refried black beans, with more than 200 mg of potassium per serving are considered high-potassium foods according to Drugs.com.
Refried black beans contain between 6 g and 7 g of fiber per 1/2-cup serving. Fiber helps keep your digestive tract healthy and promotes colon health. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adult women under age 50 get a minimum of 25 g of fiber daily and men a minimum of 38 g.
Some brands of refried black beans contain 440 mg of sodium per 1/2-cup serving. The Institute of Medicine recommends keeping sodium to 1,500 mg or less daily. Check labels when you buy refried black beans -- go for those labeled "low-sodium" or ones that offer 200 mg or less per serving.
Making your own refried black beans is simple and inexpensive, according to a recipe in the "New York Times." Use dried beans and hydrate according to package directions. Drain the beans, reserving some of the water, and mash to create a chunky mixture. In a large saute pan, heat 2 tsp. canola oil and saute 2 tsp. cumin seeds and 2 tsp. chili powder until fragrant -- about 30 seconds. Add the beans and cook for about 20 minutes until much of the water is evaporated and the beans are thick. If they become too dry, add some of the reserved water. You can vary the flavor of the beans by adding mashed garlic, onion powder or cayenne pepper to the hot oil before adding the beans.