We tested this recipe with green, black, and canned lentils and they all worked well. For the sake of time and convenience, we recommend using canned lentils.

However, if you’ve got the time, just about any lentil will do. We even think red lentils would be especially beautiful given their vibrant color.

glutenfree minimalistbaker recipe

Once your lentils are cooked (or drained from the can), simply sauté onion and garlic until translucent, add your lentils, spices, chipotle peppers, and vegetable broth, and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.

Now it’s time to focus on texture. You have three options for making these lentils creamy:

  1. Mash with a potato masher
  2. Smash with the back of a spoon
  3. Purée two-thirds of the lentils in a blender

how to cook lentils

Now it’s time to focus on texture. You have three options for making these lentils creamy:

  1. Mash with a potato masher
  2. Smash with the back of a spoon
  3. Purée two-thirds of the lentils in a blender

Our preference is option 3, as it’s quick, efficient, and gets the lentils super creamy before they’re added back to the pot so a hit of lime juice can be stirred in before serving. Swoon!

lentils and eggs


These flavorful, creamy refried lentils are infused with smoky spices and chilis and made in 1 pot in less than 30 minutes! Say hello to the perfect side for Mexican night.


  • 1 ½ cups cooked lentils (~1 15-oz (425-g) can, drained as recipe is written // we tested green and black lentils as well as pinto beans and all worked well. We also suspect red lentils would be a win!)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil (if avoiding oil, sub water)
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot or white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup or organic brown sugar)
  • 1-2 small chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can // roughly chopped — adjust according to preferred spice level)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed (or store-bought — we like Imagine brand)
  • 1-2 Tbsp lime juice

best refried beans recipe



  1. If cooking your lentils from scratch (not reflected in cook time), do so now by bringing twice the amount of water (or vegetable broth) as lentils to a boil. Then add lentils and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until tender — depending on type of lentil and if they were soaked, anywhere from 7-20 minutes. Then drain and set aside. If using canned lentils, simply drain, rinse gently, and proceed with recipe.

  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and onion. Sauté until tender, about 4 minutes, then add garlic and continue sautéing until both are slightly golden brown and tender. Season with a pinch of salt, stir, and proceed to next step.
  3. Add cooked (drained) lentils, sea salt, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano (optional), coconut sugar, chipotle peppers (starting with 1 small pepper and adding more to taste), and vegetable broth (starting with recommended amount and adding more to achieve desired consistency). Hold off on adding the lime juice until the end of cooking.

  4. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more vegetable broth as needed if it gets too dry.

    1. Mash lentils with a potato masher, the back of your spoon, or (our preferred method) scoop out two-thirds of the lentils and, in a small blender or food processor, blend into a loose purée for a creamier texture. Then add back to saucepan and stir to incorporate.

    2. Add lime juice and stir. Then taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime for acidity, paprika for smokiness, salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, vegetable broth to thin, or chipotle peppers for heat.

    Serve with plantain or corn chips, or add to tacos, burritos, and more! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Serve warm or cold. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop until hot, adding more vegetable broth or water to rehydrate as needed.

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