Instant Pot Refried Beans and Mexican Rice!

Though I’ve been on this vegan journey (on and off) for god knows how long, it’s been just over a year now since James and I BOTH made the commitment to a WFPB (whole food, plant-based diet), and curiously we’ve both enjoyed every minute of it–and we’ve not felt in the least bit deprived.

Part of the reason I’m enjoying it so much is that I’m cooking vegan food for both of us, and I always try to find meals that will appeal to James. And James has said on more than one occasion that he enjoys eating this way, but a big part of his enjoyment is that it’s not all-or-nothing: if we’re out to dinner or at someone’s home or even entertaining guests, we do eat dairy and eggs…or I guess that should be we CAN eat dairy and eggs (often we don’t).

I can’t believe I used to make James a two-egg omelette every morning for breakfast, and now he eats Grape Nuts with cranberries!

Since we retired last May, I spend a good part of every day researching plant-based recipes online (and in my ever-growing collection of vegan cookbooks), then planning and adapting recipes…and then there’s the actual cooking and the blogging about the process.

And finally there’s the eating!

Today, I think I spent about four hours in the kitchen–puttering about…adapting recipes and just enjoying myself. The plan for the evening was a Cena Mexicana–one of my very favourite meals.

If you recall, “Cena Mexicana” simply means “Mexican Supper” and, while I don’t think it’s necessarily vegan in restaurants–it’s supposed to be a light meal served after 9:00PM. The meal usually consists of (among other things), beans, rice, avocados, salsa, and a few small corn tortillas with which to scoop it all up!

I’ve been dying to try making healthy refried black beans in the Instant Pot for some time now, but I wanted to try starting with dry beans, and I wasn’t quite comfortable with the process, but today’s the day, baby!

So, here’s the process…

Start with a cup of black beans (also called “turtle beans”). You can soak them overnight, or you can do the following:

Quick-Soaking Beans in the Instant Pot

Place one cup of dried black beans in the IP, cover with four cups of water, and one tsp salt (which prevents the beans from bursting). Bring to a boil (by hitting “saute”) on the pot. Close the pot and set to 2 minutes on high. Do a SLOW quick release by releasing the steam in spurts. If it foams up, just leave it for thirty seconds. Drain and rinse the beans and they’re ready for any recipe!

Now you’re ready for…

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Ingredients

1 chopped onion

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp. chilli powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 Serrano pepper sliced

2 cups soaked (or quick-soaked) black beans

1.5 cups vegetable broth

1 large tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon vegetable base

Directions

Preheat the Instant Pot by clicking “Saute” and then brown the onions for about five minutes (until transparent); add garlic, Serrano pepper, spices and brown for another minute or two. Add the beans, broth, and BTB base.

Close the IP and manually set to high pressure for 7 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.

Use an immersion blender to blend up about 2/3 of the beans.

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It will be quite runny, but we like our refrieds that way. If you like them a bit thicker, just click “saute” and let the mixture cook for a while to thicken up. Many of the recipes called for mixing in cilantro in the last few minutes, but, once it’s mixed in and heated through, you tend not to taste it as much, so I always add chopped cilantro to the plate, not the pan.

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These were the best refried beans I’ve ever made–I’ll always start with dried beans in the future, and I’ll always make my refrieds in the Instant Pot!

Next is my Mexican rice recipe adapted to the Instant Pot!

Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup basmati brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 8 ounces of salsa
  • 1/2 a poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Directions

Spray the Instant Pot with oil and saute onion until tender. Add garlic, poblano pepper, and spices, and continue to saute one additional minute. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and set the IP manually (on high) to 22 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for at least ten to fifteen minutes.

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I used red rice here, so it looks almost indistinguishable from the refried beans–as usual, all my food looks alike, haha! If it’s too runny for your liking, you can mix in a cup of cooked basmati rice.

Serve it all up with a dollop of salsa and this guacamole, a drizzle of this vegan cheezy sauce…and a bit of chopped cabbage for crunch–we’re having a bit of purple cole slaw.

Oh–and a few small grilled corn tortillas on the side. Yum yum!!

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James kept RAVING about this meal and even had another big helping, so I believe my hours in the kitchen (which I thoroughly enjoyed anyway) were very well spent!

Meanwhile, we’re going into town this week to make a birthday lunch for my dad and brother (both of whom have birthdays in early January). James will the chef for the birthday lunches and he’s been planning the menu for weeks, and will no doubt be working away in the tiny kitchen in our loft for at least a day and a half!

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