Real Meals Modified

Level 4: Puree Smooth Refried Beans

Smooth Refried Beans

These Level 4: Puree Smooth Refried Beans are a staple of Mexican cuisine. Thankfully they also fit perfectly into a dysphagia diet!


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On the border

I love Mexican food, and I happen to live in the city with the best 23 miles of Mexican food in the country. Tucson exudes its Mexican heritage around every corner. Can you tell I’m still a complete fan girl? I try to learn from the culture of this area and embrace authentic Mexican cuisine. That being said, I still have a lot to learn. 


One thing I always look forward to when eating Mexican food is refried beans. I like that each place has completely different beans. Some have that subtle smoke of bacon, while others have a more chorizo spiciness about them. Personally, I like when the beans are completely smooth, with just a little bit of melted cheese on top. Thankfully, one of favorite recipes also fits the criteria for a pureed diet.

Level 4: Puree / Extremely Thick

Level 4: Puree / Extremely Thick is appropriate for individuals who have reduced ability to chew or manipulate food in the mouth. Pureed foods must not be sticky and must not have any lumps at all. At this texture, you cannot drink the food through a straw or with a cup because it is too thick. The food may move if you tip the plate or bowl, but cannot be poured.

Foods at this level must fall off a spoon when tilted or flicked lightly, but must not drip through the tines of a fork. We recommend watching IDDSI’s Youtube video of the Spoon Tilt Test before you cook as well as during the testing of your final modified portion.

Always test your food before serving to ensure that it meets all the IDDSI testing guidelines.

Add some meat to your beans!

I have this thing about pureeing meat – honestly, it just feels wrong so much of the time. But in refried beans, it’s like it’s meant to be there. I used chorizo in this recipe and WOW, it really added a next element of flavor. Once I finished cooking everything, I ended up using an immersion blender to come up with the perfect, pureed beans.


One thing I want to mention here is the use of dried beans. I enjoy using dried beans for a couple of reasons. 

  1. It’s better for the environment because you don’t waste aluminum or plastic.
  2. They can soak up a lot of flavor that canned beans can’t. 
  3. It’s fun and makes me feel like I’m a fancy chef. 


If dried beans are too overwhelming for you, or if you are pressed for time, stick to canned! There’s nothing wrong with a good can of beans, especially if seasoned and then pureed. Do whatever works best for you, but the recipe will work for both options! Whichever you decide, leave a comment below so I can hear how it turned out. 🙂

Smooth Refried Beans

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Level 4: Puree Smooth Refried Beans

These Level 4: Puree Smooth Refried Beans are a staple of Mexican cuisine. Thankfully they also fit perfectly into a dysphagia diet!
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: puree
Servings: 4


  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 small jalapeno diced
  • ¼ cup chorizo
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • or use canned and omit all other ingredients


  • If using dried beans, add dried beans, 3 cups water, dried ancho chiles, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and salt to a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender. If using canned pinto beans, skip this step.
  • In the meantime, saute onions and jalapeno until soft. Add chorizo until cooked through. Add garlic cloves.
  • When beans are cooked through, drain and remove bay leaves, garlic cloves, and chiles.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree beans, onion mixture, and vegetable broth until smooth. Add in more broth or more beans as needed to achieve appropriate consistency.


*note - I like to soak my dried beans for at least a couple of hours (or overnight) before boiling. Many people don’t do this and come up with a very similar result. The decision is yours!

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