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Refried black beans

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beans, dehydrator, gluten free, pulses, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 6


  • Dehydrator (I use an Excalibur Dehydrator)
  • Zip lock baggies
  • Campstove
  • Cooking pot


For the beans

  • 200 g dried black beans
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried epazote optional
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 onion-halved

For the refried beans

  • 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
  • salt and pepper

Garnishes (optional)

  • Avocado
  • Fresh limes
  • Chopped coriander
  • Chopped tomato
  • Chopped onion
  • Grated cheese
  • Pickled jalapeno
  • Sliced cabbage or lettuce


At home

  • Soak the beans in lots of water overnight.
  • Next day drain the beans and rinse them, checking for any stray stones.
  • 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.
  • In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft.
  • Add the garlic and chilli to the onion and fry until fragrant. Then add the paprika, epazote, coriander & cumin and quickly stir-fry.
  • 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.
  • Spread the refried beans onto dehydrator trays lined with nonstick sheets or parchment paper. Dehydrate at 63C / 145F for 8-10 hours until totally dry. Vac pac or store in baggies until ready to use.

On the trail

  • Put your refried beans in a pot and add water to cover. Bring water to boil.
  • Turn off heat, cover the beans and wait for five minutes. (Use this time to warm some tortillas or prep your garnishes!)
  • Check the beans - add more water if necessary to achieve the desired consistency (I like mine reasonably thick so they stay in the taco, but you could add more water and eat this almost as a soup).
  • Serve with tortillas or on rice topped with your favourite garnishes.