Product Review: Organic, BPA-Free Baked and Refried Beans from Pacific Foods

by Gena on September 11, 2013

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Some time ago, Pacific foods reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing their new line of baked and refried beans in BPA-free Tetra Recart cartons. This is the first and only line of its kind–baked and refried beans, even vegetarian/vegan ones, typically come in cans, and those cans are rarely BPA free (the Eden brand is an exception). The Tetra Recart packaging is recyclable and easy to open, and the beans are slow cooked before packaging.

You may already be a fan of the Pacific company. Pacific has been in business for 25 years, offering sustainably farmed, non-GMO, and often organic soups, grain and nut milks, and sauces to consumers. Pacific almond, hazelnut, and hemp milks are favorites of mine, as is the company’s low sodium vegetable broth. When I had an office job, I often kept some of the company’s carrot ginger soup at work, and would heat it up and add some cooked chickpeas for a quick, easy lunch. I’ve always been impressed with the quality of Pacific products, not to mention the short ingredient lists.

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While not all of the new bean options are vegan, the refried black beans, refried black beans with green chilis, and organic baked beans are. I had a chance to taste the latter two.

I started with the refried black beans with green chilis. I chose to serve these as a dip, rather than in a recipe.

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Ingredients

  • Organic Black Beans
  • Water
  • Organic Onion
  • Organic Olive Oil
  • Organic Chiles
  • Organic Jalapeños
  • Organic Lemon Juice
  • Organic Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Cilantro
  • Organic Spices
  • Organic Lime Oil

Taste: To me, this tasted like a bright black bean dip. I definitely caught the citrus tones, and–lemon and lime fanatic that I am–it really made the dip for me! I enjoyed the dip with some raw corn chips (a recipe I’m perfecting for you guys, but I’m not there yet!), but it would be great with regular tortilla chips, red pepper strips, celery, or as a filling for tacos or burritos. It was definitely my favorite of the beans that I tried–the lime flavor did it.

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Next up, the organic baked beans.

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When I opened up this box, I was hoping to whip up a really quick lunch. I had corn tortillas from Food for Life, jarred, roasted red peppers (I tend to keep these around in busy times for quick packed lunches and to add flavor to salads), and cilantro. I decided to mush up the baked beans and serve it up tostada-style, rather than eat the beans with a spoon or heat them up over the stove. A little untraditional, but I was happy I did this, because it was delicious!

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Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Organic Navy Beans
  • Organic Onion
  • Organic Brown Sugar
  • Organic Tomato Paste
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Organic Rice Flour
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Organic Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Spices

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Taste: While I didn’t grow up with a lot of legumes (they’re not my mom’s favorite, so we didn’t eat them often), I did get to try baked beans often at my cousins’ place in New Hampshire, where they were a staple. I loved the sweet, hearty flavor, and these baked beans do a great job of recreating it. I could have used even a little more tartness (so, more apple cider vinegar), but I thought the sweetness was just right.

You can find the new, carton packed beans at a health food supplier near you (the Pacific site has a store locator at the top of their website). Amazon also sells 2 packs of the black refried beans and the vegetarian baked beans for about $6.00. They’re shelf stable, so it’s easy to add these to the legumes you may already have as pantry staples. And it’s really nice that they’re pre-seasoned. I should note that, while the salt is definitely detectable, I didn’t find either of these two dishes to be overly salty for my palate, though the baked beans may be a tad salty for others.

It’s always great to have more BPA-free options on the market. I hope you’ll enjoy the new Pacific bean options, and that they’ll offer you quick and easy shortcuts when you need them!

xo

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy September 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Can’t get pacific beans here in Sydney I don’t think but they look amazing. Love the tostada idea! Will give this a go.

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Tracy September 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Just ate the refried pinto beans for dinner! I always have them or the black bean version in my kitchen. Made a quesadilla with an eziekiel wrap, broccoli, sweet potato, mushrooms, homemade guac, a little daiya and the beans. My favorite dinner lately.

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Gena September 14, 2013 at 6:56 am

Tracy, yum!

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McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped September 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

I love refried beans, but don’t love what most products have in them! This is a great brand. Have you ever tried the baked beans? I love those as well. Thanks for sharing!

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lauren September 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

This sounds really dumb but I did not know canned food had BPA in it. That makes me sad :( Do you think even Trader Joes’ canned food has BPA in it? I should get rid of the cans I’ve bought. I’ve see Pacific company products at the Luckys grocery store near me.

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Les September 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I think you can assume that any canned good has BPA unless otherwise stated :( But look in the soup aisle, lots of brands are using this tetra packaging now.

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Gena September 14, 2013 at 6:49 am

Thanks for the info, Les! I echo what you just said.

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Gena September 14, 2013 at 6:55 am

Most do, Lauren, alas. To be honest, a can here and there is probably not a big deal, but it’s worth being aware of this, for sure, and seeking out alternatives when you can.

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Judith L September 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I love Pacific Foods products! I just had their roasted garlic and lentil soup yesterday and it was delish. Haven’t tried their refried beans though. Will keep my eye out for them.

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BYOL September 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

These sound great. I’ll have to find em and give them a go. Thanks for the great review!

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Monica September 12, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Oh how I wish I could eat beans!! No matter how I much I soak them, cook them or puree them, the best I can do is a few spoonfuls of hummus (even the hummus I eat is mainly roasted eggplant). My gut is so sensitive that I blow up like a balloon every time I try it!

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Caroline September 14, 2013 at 8:25 am

Amy’s Organics now is BPA-free as well! They have some great refried beans that I use in a pinch, which also come in lower sodium versions.

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Gena September 15, 2013 at 7:07 am

Cool! Good to know — thanks Caroline.

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Charles Hill September 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

I will seriously give this one a try! Thank you!!! :)

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dreaminitvegan September 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm

OOOH! Thanks for sharing I’ll have to try those beans out.

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