If you’re looking for a different fuel source to go with your proteins than the usual rice, potatoes, or pasta; beans can be a great substitution for meals you want to be filling, but not necessarily filled with blood sugar spiking carbs. This can be a good option if you’re trying to transition to a lower carb diet or doing some sort of carbohydrate timing, like carb backloading or only having high carbohydrate meals around training.
My favourite way to prepare beans is to make my own refried beans. The stuff in the can at the store is great if you need something prepared quickly, but if you have the patience to cook your owns beans, it’ll taste much better and you'll avoid the unnecesary preservatives in the canned beans.
Step 1: Soak Beans Overnight
You have to prepare in advance when cooking beans, as they have to be soaked overnight or for at least 8-12 hours to remove the “anti-nutrients” that can cause gastric distress and affect the absorption of minerals. You’ll want to use 4 cups of water per 1 cup of beans to soak and adding a pinch of baking soda will help to further remove the phytates and lectins that create stomach issues and reduce mineral absorption.
Step 2: Rinse Beans
After the extended soaking of the beans, rinse the water that the beans were soaking in. Rinse the beans under cold water a couple of times until the rinse water is clear.
Step 3: Cook beans
Cooking the beans takes a long time as well, as they need to be soft enough to mash if we’re making refried beans. Cover the beans with enough water, I usually use the same 4 cups water to 1 cup beans ratio, and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and add salt. Continue cooking for an hour or so.
Step 4: Season to make your refried beans
I add whatever ingredients I have on hand to make it similar to the refried beans you’d get at a Mexican restaurant or in a can.
• 1 cup beans (I use a mix of about half black beans and half kidney beans. Pinto beans are traditionally used and also a good choice).
• 1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1-2 cloves Minced Garlic
• 1 tsp Taco seasoning or TexMex
• 1/4 - 1/2 of diced onion
• a handful of chopped jalepenos or pickled jalepenos
After you’ve drained the pot that you cooked the beans in, grab a potato masher and mash the beans to your desired texture. Put it back on the stove and heat on medium. Add a couple of glugs of oil to prevent burning or sticking in the pot and to make a smoother refried consistency. I prefer the taste of olive oil and use that in my recipe. Add a spoonful of taco seasoning or Tex Mex. I use about 1/2 - 1 tsp per cup of beans. Throw in the garlic and make sure that it actually gets to cook in the oil a bit for better flavour and doesn’t just get sucked into the mass of bean mash. Add in onions and jalepenos if you have them.
This works great in addition to or as a lower carb version of the TexMex beef recipe I included here. Add it to the recipe for even more calories or replace the rice with refried beans for lower carb.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and if you do make it yourself let me know what other ingredients you suggest adding to it.