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Paleo Refried Beans

I once adored going to Mexican restaurants for refried beans! (which is a huge hit in the book Keto Restaurant Favorites). But when Craig lost his job, and we couldn’t afford to go out to eat, I started cooking our favorite restaurant meals at home! Not only was it a great way to save money, but we both lost a lot of weight eating healthier versions at home!

Check out our favorite restaurant recipes made keto in my best-selling cookbook Keto Restaurant Favorites!

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What are Paleo refried beans?  Well, keep reading, and some great recipes…first some facts.

Most of you know re-fried beans are traditionally made with pinto beans. My program doesn’t allow beans. Sure, they seem harmless…no corn syrup, no trans-fats, no “plastic package” surrounding this food item…so what’s wrong with eating beans?

Well, first off, let’s check the ingredients in traditional refried beans = Prepared Dry Beans, Water, Salt, Lard (Partially Hydrogenated Lard With BHA And BHT Added To Help Protect Flavor), Onion Powder, Chili Pepper, Garlic Powder, Spice. Hydrogenated oils!!! Trans-fats = bad bad bad!

Beans also are very high in carbs. Sure they have protein, but with a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein, it is considered a carb in the nutrition books. I don’t believe beans have caused people to have a damaged metabolism, BUT since the typical American diet is filled with carbs and sugar, most people end up sensitive to carbs. Once that happens, things like beans have too much starch.

Beans, as well as grains, contain lectins, which are indigestible proteins found in plants that attach themselves to the lower intestine, causing a really unpleasant inflammatory response and a cascade of bowel issues. This is when people suffer from Crohn’s, colitis, IBS, and other auto-immune disorders. These lectins also increase the risk of leptin resistance.  Leptin is the hormone that signals that we are full, which can malfunction causing over-eating.

This is why I suggest a grain-free, bean-free diet. My passion is to make this limited diet as tasty as possible so you can stay successful! Here is a recipe that you will totally enjoy that is low in starch and no lectins!

Paleo Refried Beans
More recipes, photos, and tips like this are found in The Art of Eating Healthy Savory.

I know this recipe sounds crazy, but it is soooooo good! I have gotten so many comments saying that their spouse had no clue it wasn’t real re-fried beans.

Paleo Refried Beans

Maria Emmerich
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 93


  • 1 medium eggplants or 2 large zucchini
  • 4 slices sugar free bacon chopped
  • 1 cup onions chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Redmond Real salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon oregano chopped fresh


  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • Zero Carb Carnivore Crisps use code Maria to save


  • Peel and cube the eggplant. Place the eggplant, bacon, onion, jalapeño and garlic in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry until the bacon is crisp and the eggplant is very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to the food processor or blender and puree the mixture until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  • Place onto a platter.
  • Sprinkle with the cheese and cilantro, if using, and serve.
  • Serve with THESE zero carb chips!


Calories: 93 | Fat: 5.6g | Protein: 5.7g | Carbohydrates: 5.8g | Fiber: 2.6g | P:E Ratio: 0.6


“In October I started on the path to having gastric bypass surgery after years of yo-yo dieting and being overweight since around age 8-9. I did everything from doctor-supervised to phen-fen to WW to Medifast. My best weight loss was from Medifast but it quickly became too expensive and really was icky to drink shakes all day!
In January I had an initial health assessment and consult with Maria. I immediately stopped my diet coke addiction (over 40 oz a day) – that was the hardest one for me. During this time we started eating less wheat and sugar and by January 15th I got rid of all the grain products and went wheat-free.
Since that consult with Maria in early January through today I’ve lost 51 lbs. The first 40 came of rather quickly and the last 11 have been slower, but are still coming off at about 1 to 1.5 lbs a week. All this with little exercise (since I’m allergic to it! Ha, Ha, Ha!) I canceled my WLS that was scheduled for April and couldn’t be happier. My moods are improved, I’m sleeping great, my body doesn’t ache all the time, my hands and feet aren’t always cold, I’ve not had a headache or acid reflux since late January, and my PMS is much better. I was experiencing facial ticks and vertigo type symptoms daily and the doctor didn’t know why but within 10 days of getting off the Diet Coke, they were gone and haven’t been back.
Of all the things I’ve done to shed the pounds, consulting with Maria was the best money I’ve ever spent. Wish I would have found Maria sooner – I would have saved a ton of money on wasted programs. -Paula”

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Paleo Refried Beans


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Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • Thank you for this alternative bean recipe, Maria! I loved refried beans, but they certainly did NOT love me!

  • Wendy C says:

    Hi Maria,
    Just discovered your blog and really enjoy it. I have been looking for recipes and nutritional advice to cut out unhealthy carbs and to make better choices.I have a niece with type 1 diabetes so anything which will help her to have better choices, too, is good. I haven’t tried to make anything yet, but bought some of the ingrediants that I would need yesterday. Just one question, would you be able to post the number of total servings per recipe so that we know what amount one serving consists of?Or could you let us know the size/amount of one serving? We have to be pretty precise with my niece.Looking forward totrying some of your recopes, they sound great!!
    Thanks so much!

  • Amy says:

    I cannot wait to try this recipe!

    And, I wanted to tell you that I made the healthified sub sandwich bread and absolutely love it! It will now be a staple in my house. I’m slowly trying your recipes and this week I’m trying the cauliflower “rice.” I feel so much better since I’ve changed the way I eat. Thank you so much for all your hard work…you help so many people!

  • Wendy c says:

    Maria, found the serving amount, no need for a reply, thanks!

  • OMG it looks so delicious, I want some. Seriously really nice recipe.

  • Anonymous says:

    Love all your recipes!!!

    I’m Mexican and i LOVE atole,champurrado,rompope,arroz con leche (rice pudding),sopes, enchiladas, enfrijoladas, tortas, buenuelos, churros, flan, mexican bread desserts (conchas, cemas, pan de mueto, rosca), tamales (also sweet tameles) , empanadas, posole, tostadas, raspados, mole, flour tortillas… and the deliciousness could go on forever, so its pretty hard to let go of all that go since it is a part of not just my culture but of myself as wel. If you could “HEALTHIFY” some of these foods you would be a life savor. Thank You so much for all that you do 🙂

    Thnak you, Thank you, Thank you 🙂

  • Wow this recipe looks amazing will have to give it a try.

    Congratulations on the news about your books being available in Japan and now 51 countries that is huge! 🙂

  • Pam says:

    Maria, are you familiar with the book – “And They Said It Wasn’t Possible: True Stories Of People Who Were Healed From The Impossible” by Karen R. Hurd? I would be very interested in your analysis of the book because she has the exact opposite opinion about beans and how healing they are for bowel issues – has amazing stories of healing from increasing bean consumption. I find myself caught between your writings and hers and don’t know which way to go.

    • I have not read her book but I have met her and know her philosophy. I believe more along the lines of what is written here by Weston A. Price (and I also write about in my book):

      “Another difficult-to-digest food category is legumes or beans, especially soy, and they add to digestive distress because they are high in nutrient inhibitors. However, when fermented, soy foods such as miso, tempe, or natto contain virtually no phytates and are probably fine in small amounts.”


    • Pam says:

      I appreciate your reply, Maria. I guess I need to do more reading and educate myself better on the subject. Thank you!

  • Anonymous says:

    Is your class still open??

    Also, I have a HUGE request. I am a dark chocolate lover & I am spending sooooo much money on bars! Lol my husband wants me to learn how to make it homemade! Like a really really good chcolate bar (healthy of course!) is here a link you would recommend of better yet– do YOU have a recipe?? I would die & go to heaven!! Ps congrats on the book!! Xoxoxo

  • sublimebetty says:

    Is this freezable?

  • Jess says:

    This is my first time to hear about this refried beans. I find it interesting because of the benefits it contains and I would love to try it out since I am into healthy eating now since I having problems with my health. I hope I would love it =)

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria…I’m a blog follower of yours (also have several of your books) and have read many of your posts like this one about beans, yet notice you have many recipes that contain peanuts/peanut butter/flour…just curious about your thoughts on this since peanuts are technically a bean. Thanks, Kelly

    • I rarely use peanut flours in my recipes and am using it less and less. It doesn’t have the carb issues of beans but may have some of the other issues. The recipes I do have it in are desserts that are not eaten often. 🙂

    • reikime says:

      Is PB2 from Bell Plantantarion, the same as peanut flour? I put a little PB2 in smoothies from time to time to make a peanut butter cup smoothie. Yum!

    • I think PB2 might be more de-fatted than peanut flour. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:


    I know you are the person to ask this question. I just recently went to my primary care dr. because i struggle with severe consipation, sometimes more than others. She said it was related to my “cycle” – when progestrone is high. Is this true? I get EXTREMELY bloated, tired, & constipated. (TMI?). I was wondering if you know anything about this to prevent from happening? Thank you in advance…

  • Anonymous says:

    ps- i just wanted to say I eat a no grain diet. High in good fats. (comment above) so i really dont feel like its my diet!

  • Anonymous says:

    What about the bloat for that whole week 🙁 just the probiotics? I swear it’s so painful!! And no girl likes to feel blah

  • Darcy says:


    I’ve been surfing your site for sometime now and have finally tried a couple of your recipes. They are delicious! I made the “refried beans” and your tortillas to go with some carne asada. It was delicious and if I can get my 18 and 15 year old sons to eat them then it’s a hit – now if I can get them off of flour tortillas! We also tried the Rueben Enchiladas – another hit, although I renamed the Irish Enchiladas for St Paddy’s Day. Thanks for sharing all of your recipes!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria – I made the refried beans over the weekend – delicious! Also tried the tortilla from your quesadilla recipe. I used my tortilla press and they came out great 🙂


  • Anonymous says:

    Tried the refried “beans” this weekend, loved them! When ever I make one of your recipes my husband always loves them. I just say “it’s Maria’s” and he knows it will be good!

  • soph says:

    I’m making the zucchini version at the moment. I didn’t peel the zucchini but didn’t consider whether I should have until it was already chopped and in the pot. I think it’ll be alright! Is it better peeled?

    I’ll post how the recipe turns out!

  • Rachel Page says:

    Looks yummy and filling.

  • Fernanda says:

    Hi maria did you use eggplant or zuchinni in your recipe and what is the flavor difference?

  • Kim says:

    I have searched high and low for SF bacon. What if it says: contains 2% or less of the following, then it lists raw sugar or turbindo sugar…and the carb and sugar show 0 grams, is this ok? Thx!!

    • cemmerich says:

      They use sugar in the curing process. There is very little if any left in the final product. Just make sure you don’t get the Maples ones or others with added sugars.

  • Alexia says:

    I have a question regarding beans and lectins- I was born with a metabolic disorder called cystinuria and follow a low methionine diet. I’ve recently been lowering my grains and boost weight loss, and have found your website to be very helpful. In place of animal proteins I eat beans almost daily as a low methionine protein and have been soaking them for 24 hours to lower the lectins. What’s your take on soaking beans? Thank you for any input you might have.

  • Sodapop says:

    Do you have a faux refried beans recipe with black soy beans? I bought a can and they are only 1g net carb per serving with no salt added and organic!

  • Sodapop says:

    Are black soy beans healthy? I bought a can of edens organic black soy beans and they only have 1g net carb.

  • Mama Owl says:

    can you point me in the direction of psyllium husk powder? where do I find it?

  • DP says:

    All I can say is YUM! I am a vegetarian with no access to a smoker, so I did the next best thing. I purchased some liquid smoke and placed a few drops of it into the food processor after sauteing the eggplant.

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I missed my refried beans and now my tummy is very, very happy. LOL!

  • cemmerich says:

    Thank you!

  • Lita Wells says:

    These are great. Thank you. I don’t know how you thought to use eggplant in this way, but it really works!

  • Renee says:

    Absolutely, wonderfully delicious! My Mexican food loving husband could not believe it! I am now an eggplant fan!

  • Wren says:

    Just made these this morning, after seeing it in “Keto Clarity”. I used zucchini and it was very very good! I love how the onions give a little bit of texture to it, almost mimicking bean texture. It was very very spicy to me though, and I didn’t even add any jalepeno. Next time I guess I’ll use 1/2 as much chili powder.

  • Anne says:

    I love the “refried beans” – skeptical at first as usual, but I have now made another batch. I used smoked paprika as well. I can almost believe they are a lighter form of the real thing. I also made Spanish “rice”. Now I will tackle Chicken Fried Rice with “rice”. Thanks Maria!

  • Allison says:

    Oh Man this recipe is FANTASTIC! Just finished making it and had my husband taste it. He is loves all Mexican food, but he liked this so much he immediately told his friend about it and got our daughter to try some without telling her what it was. She loved it too.

    Going to go back to the store to get enough eggplant to make up a large quantity of it and will freeze it smaller portions! I also liked how the bacon and eggplant cooked together–think I will do some of that for a breakfast hash and add a fried egg on it! Thanks Maria!!

  • JE says:

    This was delicious, you’re ingenious! Thank you for this great recipe.

  • JE says:

    Every time I make this I like it more!

  • Robin says:

    Can liquid smoke be used? No ability to smoke the eggplant and don’t eat bacon. Thanks. I enjoyed reading all the posts here.

  • JE says:

    Once again…LOVE THIS!!!

  • Gloria Soto says:

    I will really have to try this! Eggplant “beans” with Cauliflower rice in a low carb tortilla doesn’t sound like grandma’s but your eggplant breadpudding was pretty darn awesome!

  • Heather says:

    I’m excited to try this. If you scramble two eggs with 2 TB of salsa, and 2 TB of “refried beans,” it would resemble a breakfast burrito. Regular refried beans have a tortilla feel when eating it like that. That recipe was from 5 Day Pouch Test. Thank you for posting this!

  • Marie says:

    These were just Meh for me…they came out purple…and a bit gritty…nice recipe to follow though.

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