Ode to the Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit

The more you eat, the more you toot

The more you toot, the better you feel

So why not have beans for every meal?

When I think of my favorite food, I think beans. But more specifically enfrijoladas.

I was a difficult kid. I was fiercely independent, I refused to speak Spanish for the first six months I lived in Mexico, I refused to brush my hair because my sister did, and I refused to like breakfast foods, a favorite of my family.

Me, clearly a calm and sensible child. (Photo by: Susan Lawrence)
Me, clearly a calm and sensible child. (Photo by: Susan Lawrence)

My attitude changed one morning, when my nanny, Azucena, revealed to me the most perfect breakfast food.

It was a classic Saturday morning. I woke up, my grumpy six year-old self, and went downstairs to find my sister and Azu together in the kitchen.

My sister, my nanny Azucena, and me (Photo by: Susan Lawrence)
My sister, my nanny Azucena, and me (Photo by: Susan Lawrence)

What my nanny presented to me was about to change my life, shake me to my core and possibly–still waiting on confirmation of this–alter my destiny forever.

It consisted of a stack of tortillas and cheese that had been drowned in refried beans. I’ll repeat: DROWNED IN BEANS. Not even a stubborn, principled young rebel like myself could refuse that.

My morning, my mood, and my enthusiasm for life improved ten fold per bite.

I credit that morning as the beginning of my metamorphosis into the incredible human being I am today. We should all thank the enfrijolada with that


This meal is so incredibly easy–so easy that it was the first thing I ever cooked all by myself–requires few and cheap ingredients and will keep your tummy happy.

Put down the self-help book, we’ve got you:

Refried heaven (Photo by Robyn Lee)
Refried heaven (Photo by Robyn Lee)

What you’ll need:

  • ½ Pound black beans (I recommend dry, which you will have to rehydrate, but you can always go with canned, which you should definitely rinse before using)
  • Pinch of oregano
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Tsp. cumin (if you like it)
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded cheese of your liking (I recommend Manchego)
  • Lots of love


Let’s get cooking: 

  • The first thing you’ll need to do is  refry the beans. I recommend using vegetable or olive oil, because lard is the worst.
  • Be sure to blend the beans in a blender with extra water or bean juice to make it the consistency of salsa.
  • Heat up a skillet on the stove, and put a drop of oil in the center.
  • Dunk a tortilla in the refried beans, put it in the skillet, and top with cheese.
  • Repeat with another tortilla until you have a nice, tall tower of tortillas
  • Then pour more beans over your tower till it’s drowning in beans.
  • Sprinkle a little cheese on top, wait till all the cheese has melted, and then serve! Enjoy with some cilantro or salsa on top.

Bonus:  Beans are full of both protein and fiber, which will keep you and mama nature happy and healthy.


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