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Low FODMAP refried beans

I have been a refried beans lover for as long as I can remember. Authentic Mexican food was not on the radar so much growing up in suburban Australia, but the canned refried beans from the supermarket? My personal heaven. There is a low FODMAP threshold for those beans, but it’s far too small for my tastes. With that in mind, I decided to develop these low FODMAP refried beans.

Before we begin: these are not authentic by any stretch of the imagination. They use canned kidney beans as opposed to the dried pinto or black beans in traditional recipes (more on this later). There’s no onion or garlic in sight. The beans are also vegan, meaning no pork lard that is common to some frijoles refritos (refried beans).

The final difference? These beans are not refried at all. They’re simply blended together with the flavourings to create an easy low FODMAP option.

It is worth mentioning that my intention is never ever to bastardise a cuisine. I love authentic (and inauthentic) Mexican food! My sole intention is to provide recipes for beloved foods that those with allergies and food intolerances can eat. I know what it’s like to miss out on foods you love.

An aerial image of corn tacos on a white speckled ceramic plate topped with low FODMAP refried beans, pickled vegetables, tomato, jalapeno and coriander.

Low FODMAP refried beans

I think the best way to think about these beans is as a sauce-like accompaniment to a meal. Unfortunately, they still can’t be eaten with reckless abandon even with the lower FODMAP threshold. I recommend viewing these as a good way to get beans in, without being the only protein or main star of the dish.

My suggestion, particularly for hungry people, is to load up on low FODMAP vegetables, add a meat, fish or low FODMAP protein like eggs and/or add rice. If you’re vegan, I would recommend making my low FODMAP jackfruit taco filling in addition to these beans.

As we have touched on, this recipe uses canned and drained kidney beans. Canned beans are lower FODMAP than dried ones, as their FODMAP content leeches out into the canning liquid. This means that you can eat more of them without overdoing it.

Canned kidney beans, according to Monash, have the largest low FODMAP serving (85g per serve). This means that you can eat more refried beans than if it were made with a lower threshold bean. This, of course, is why I chose to use kidney beans in this recipe.

Is it authentic? Not really. But is it delicious? Of course!

An aerial image of a bowl of low FODMAP refried beans on a white marble table with two water glasses in the background.

Tips for your low FODMAP refried beans

Because we’re using canned beans, it is harder to flavour the beans from the outset. Many traditional recipes cook the beans with flavourings to develop taste from the inside out.

As such, we need to amp up our use of spices a little bit. Cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, coriander and lime add flavour and spring onion greens bring the fresh onion taste. You can add some asafoetida powder for extra umami, if you like.

Although this is a low FODMAP recipe, the serving sizes are still smaller than if you had no constraints. With that in mind, it’s important to bulk up the tacos with veg and flavourings to make it a filling dish. More on this below.

A brightly lit aerial image of two corn tortillas topped with low FODMAP refried beans, melted cheddar, sour creams and coriander.

What should I serve with my low FODMAP refried beans?

As discussed, this refried beans need a good dose of veg to bulk them out into meal. My top suggestions are:

An aerial image of a bowl of low FODMAP refried beans on a white marble table with two water glasses in the background.

Balancing FODMAP content

I thought it was worth discussing this briefly as there are a few moving parts if you make tacos as above.

  • The predominant FODMAP in the low FODMAP refried beans is fructans. In 90g serves, kidney beans contain moderate amount of fructans.
  • Red cabbage contains moderate fructans in serves of 150g or more. In smaller serves, it is low FODMAP.
  • The low FODMAP pico de gallo uses fresh common tomatoes, which are low FODMAP in 65g serves per person. I recommend omitting the fennel here, as it contains fructans as well. Using beans, cabbage and fennel together runs the risk of overdoing fructans, which we don’t want. That said, if you know you’re fine with fructans then great.
  • Monash has recently labelled smoked paprika as containing moderate amounts of fructose in 5g (2 1/2 teaspoon) servings. As of May 2024, they have no upper limit for regular (not smoked) paprika. This doesn’t affect this recipe as it only contains 1 teaspoon total, but it worth mentioning if you malabsorb fructose.
An aerial macro image of low FODMAP refried beans topped with chopped coriander

More low FODMAP recipes

An aerial image of a bowl of low FODMAP refried beans on a white marble table with two water glasses in the background.

Low FODMAP refried beans

This recipe has small serving sizes due to the FODMAP content of beans. Think of it as a condiment rather than a main protein.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Course Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 x 400g can of kidney beans rinsed and drained (approximately 250g after draining)
  • 30 g coriander washed and chopped
  • 30 g spring onion greens washed and chopped
  • 40 ml 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 40 ml 2 tablespoons neutral oil of choice
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt to your tastes
  • Pickled jalapeno to your tastes

Instructions
 

  • Blend all ingredients together in a small food processor. Taste and adjust, adding 20-40ml (1-2 tablespoons) water if you want to thin the beans out. Divide into low FODMAP portions and serve.

Notes

  • This recipe makes approximately 400g beans. The kidney bean content needs to be divided between 3 portions to remain low FODMAP.
  • Think of this like a sauce to serve with other proteins, as opposed to the main protein. The serving sizes are around 1/4 cup per person, which is not enough for a complete meal for many people. 
  • Keep in mind that beans only have small low FODMAP thresholds. You will need to serve these beans with low fructan foods to avoid FODMAP stacking. 
  • Read the notes in the body of the post for FODMAP notes and suggestions. 
Keyword Low FODMAP beans, Low FODMAP refried beans
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