Refried Black Beans with Pumpkin

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Here's a twist on a simple refried bean recipe. Now, if you've never made refried beans from scratch you'll be surprised how easy it is. The only thing that takes a little time is soaking and cooking the black beans. It's definitely not a difficult recipe to make, it just takes a little planning. Now, you could use a can of black beans for this but they really won't have the opportunity to soak up the same amount of flavour from the onion and cumin added to the dried beans during the cooking process. If you do find your time is limited, using pre-made canned refried bean works in a pinch, although the final product is still much better when making from scratch. 

The addition of pumpkin is really what sets this recipe apart. At first you may think adding pumpkin to refried beans is a little strange and, yes, it is. However, you'll be surprised to find out that it actually doesn't affect the flavour that much. What it does is provide a little extra nutrition (vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium) and stretch out the refried beans to make a bigger dish for your family. Dietitians are always recommending to eat more servings of yellow and orange veggies and this is a great (and sneaky) way to do it. And if you don't have access to fresh pumpkin, any other mashable winter squash will do, as well. 


  • 1 cup black beans, dried
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin, cubed 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 1-2 bunches of cilantro
  • 1/2 cup cheese, grated (optional)



Soak black beans over night in lots of water. Before cooking, drain the water that the beans have been soaking in and replace with fresh water. 

Add diced red onion and cumin to black beans and water, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and simmer until beans are soft (about 90 minutes). Add more water as needed. Once soft, drain water and set aside. 

Peel and cube pumpkin, boil until soft. Drain water and mash. Set aside.

In a pan, add oil and saute garlic. Add tomatoes, green peppers and half of the cilantro. 


When vegetables are soft, add pumpkin and mash together with vegetables. Cook for another few minutes.

Add black beans. Mash together with vegetables, leaving some black beans whole so there is a mix of mashed and whole beans. Add cheese (optional). Fry for another few minutes until thoroughly heated. 

Serve with brown rice and garnish with remaining chopped cilantro. Enjoy!