About Leftover Beans

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

Leftovers are a saving grace in my house. I don’t usually have a lot of time during the week to cook so I take advantage of my weekends to prepare large amounts of certain things like beans, tortillas and meat which can then be converted into simple, tasty dishes later in the week with a minimal amount of time and effort.

I look forward to hearing your comments on these dishes as well as any suggestions of your own you may have.


It is impossible to have too many beans left over. One kilo of beans in my house gets turned into a salad, a soup, several side dishes and a filling breakfast in no time. Try some of these ideas the next time you have some leftover beans.

As a salad Add some salsa mexicana (chopped tomatoes, onions and chilies) to either warm or cold beans. In summer, this cold bean salad is great when you want something filling but not too heavy. Serve warm and it can double as a side dish. You may also want to sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top for some added color and flavour.

As a side dish Refried beans are one of the most popular side dishes in my house and, once made, are very versatile. To make them in the true mexican fashion, you’ll need plenty of oil for the frying. To cut back on fat and calories, try using one third or one quarter of the oil called for and using the “juice” from the beans themselves to get the desired consistency. Serve with chopped onion and crumbled farme’s cheese and you have a superb side dish.

As a soup Going from cooked beans to soup takes less than 20 minutes and makes a hearty, warming meal when accompanied with a green salad and some bolillos or french rolls. It is also a wonderful first course for a mexican comida.

Having admired Diana Kennedy and her love of Mexican cooking for years, I found a great recipe in one of her books that I have since adapted to fit the contents of my refrigerator/pantry and personal tastes.

Bean Soup

The necessary ingredients:

  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, washed and cored (or the equivalent, canned)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 cups cooked beans and their juice or water (you may use canned pintos)
  • 1 Tbs. oil
  • Salt to taste

The optional ingredients:

  • Water, chicken stock or bean broth
  • 1 or more garlic cloves
  • 1 or more serrano or jalape–o peppers
  • 1 or more ancho or chilacate peppers (the dried ones) chopped and sautŽed in a little oil
  • Crumble farmer’s cheese, shreeded jack or cheddar cheese
  • Cream
  • Sliced avocado
  • Tostadas or tortilla chips


In a large sauce pan (2 qt. or larger) heat oil. PurŽe tomatoes and onion until smooth. You may also add some fresh peppers and garlic, if you like. Pour this mixture into the sauce pan and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

In the same blender container, puree the beans until a smooth paste forms. Add to sauce pan with tomato mixture and simmer 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt.

I like this soup thick, but you can thin it with some water, chicken stock or bean broth if you like.

Bring the soup to the table in bowls and a plate filled with sliced avocado, crumbled or shreeded chees, tortilla chips or tostadas, fried bits of ancho or chilacate and a small bowl of fresh cream.

As a breakfast Enfrijoladas are easy and a great idea whe you have left over beans and tortillas. If all you’ve got is bread, though, try making molletes. Slice a bolillo or french roll in half and toast. Cover with beans, sprinkle with some shredded cheese that will melt sucha s mozzrella, jack, cheddar, chihuahua, or manchego and broil until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
Share This:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *