Spicy Refried Bean Taco Skillet
This spicy refried bean taco skillet is an easy weeknight dish that feels like a treat. (Don’t tell the kids it’s good for them!) Ooey gooey cheese, rich refried beans, fresh veggies, herbs, and a hint of spice make for an easy, hearty one pot meal the whole family will enjoy! Best of all? It’s on the table in 30 minutes!
In general, I try not to rely on jarred sauces or store bought spice blends. However, there are times when I just don’t have the time to do it all from scratch — and I’m sure I’m not alone.
It’s better to be realistic about it. No one can be a superhero every night of the week. And, I’d rather compromise a bit and prepare a home cooked meal than call for takeout.
Face it, even with shortcuts, when you cook at home you know exactly what you’re feeding your family. Thankfully, we are all spoiled with an array of excellent supermarket options. Depending on your budget, and your priorities, you can purchase organic, all-natural sauces and spice blends whose ingredient lists don’t read like a science experiment.
This is particularly true when it comes to Mexican salsas, spice blends, and other basics. In many parts of the world, even refried beans (including vegan ones) are available on supermarket shelves. These aren’t quite the same as homemade. But, with a little tweaking, they’re an excellent choice on a day when you’re short of time.
Refried beans are a common ingredient in Mexican food, and — when prepared properly — they’re absolutely delicious! Traditionally, onions are fried in lard, until they’re golden brown. Then, the beans — and a bit of their cooking liquid — are fried and mashed with the back of a spoon until they dissolve into a creamy mass.
However, I normally prepare my refried beans without the lard, as they’re healthier that way. And, I prefer sacrificing a little flavour to shortchanging my family’s health.
Using tinned beans makes the process go faster — which is why I’ve opted for tinned beans in this recipe. However, if you prefer to cook your pulses from scratch, I encourage you to do so. Just overcook them a bit, as that will also make them mash faster in your skillet.
Of course, if you have tinned refried beans available in your local supermarket, you should feel free to use them, as that will make this recipe a snap! I’ve included details on how to proceed with tinned refried beans in the notes section.
About this Recipe
This is practically an instant meal. However, like all “instant” meals, there are a few important nuances to ensure best results.
- Ingredients: Select your ready-made ingredients carefully. The flavour of both your jarred salsa and your packaged taco seasoning will make all the difference in this dish. So, go with brands you know and love. Otherwise, read the labels carefully. In my experience, the more natural the product, the better the flavour.
- Brown the Onions: It takes a few extra minutes to cook onions to a light caramel brown. However, the flavour boost it gives to the beans and the finished dish are absolutely worth it!
- Toppings: Use all your favourite taco toppings to jazz it up. The toppings will make this simple dish sing. Consider making some homemade guacamole to dollop on top for an extra treat.
I hope your family enjoys this easy peasy taco skillet every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!