December 3, 2012

Pumpkin Refried Beans

Canned pumpkin.  I am obsessed with you.
Tostada with pumpkin "refried beans", corn, sliced avocado, and chopped
kale and tomatoes.  Don't forget the cilantro and lime juice for garnish.

And how can I not be?  It's full of vitamin A and fiber and Trader Joe's sells an organic variety in BPA-free cans. As soon as Trader Joe's stocked its shelves with the stuff at the start of the season, I stocked my own pantry with several cans.  I've been doing pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes, and pumpkin soup.

One day I was preparing to make some vegan Mexican food, a usual suspect in our weekly meal rotation.  I scoured the pantry for cans of refried beans and discovered that I had none.  And we were already settled into our afterschool down-time routine, too late to make a quick shopping trip with the kids without incurring major protests and drama.  This was a time when I would just have to "make it work" with whatever we had.

We didn't have the beans but we did have that canned pumpkin.  And the consistency of the pureed, packed pumpkin wasn't too far off the beans.  Could I interchange the two?  I decided to find out.  I added some spices that you would typically find in a taco seasoning packet to give the pumpkin some Mexican flare.  In many recipes the recommendation was to add two parts chili powder to one part cumin.  My younger son, Callan, refuses to eat anything with a hint of spiciness so I ease up on the chili and put only half the amount in.



Pumpkin Refried Beans
Spice mix adapted from Bill Echols' taco seasoning recipe on AllRecipes.com

14-oz can of pumpkin (not pie-spiced)
2 Tbsp chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp to 1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
up to 1/4 cup water
  1. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine all ingredients except for the water.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of water.  Add a little more water at a time until you get the thin/think bean-like consistency that you desire. 
  2. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until the pumpkin mixture is very hot and just begins to bubble.  Stir and microwave for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to further cook the onions.
  3. Use as a layer on tostadas or as filling in tacos or burritos just as you would refried beans.

After eating half of a tostada, my oldest son Ryken asked, "Mom, what did you use to make this?"  I casually answered, "Canned pumpkin. We didn't have any refried beans."  "Oh," was all he answered.  He could tell there was something different but apparently he didn't mind one bit.  Phew!

As for my Callan, well, he wasn't a fan.  But Mexican food is not on his list of favorite foods to begin with.  He is just starting to like bean burritos but only if enough Daiya Vegan Shreds are involved.  As with many things related to kids, you win some battles and you lose some.

Do you have some leftover cans of pumpkin in your cupboard?  Give this a try and let me know how you like it.

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