OK, not all canned beans are floating in lard, but it’s an incredibly easy thing to overlook. Especially for those beloved refried beans (sob), as these are typically cooked with onion and garlic, then cooked again in pork lard—hence, refried.
Even if you don’t reach for refried beans, Shanahan says many prepared beans (read: canned) may also contain animal lard. “Think of it as filler,” Shanahan notes. “It’s nearly free, and it acts as a preservative and helps fill you up.”
The solution? Shanahan recommends looking for cans with “fat-free” on the label. While it’s still a bit tricky to navigate (it’s a pretty loose term, so trace amounts of fat could still make its way into the can), it may be far healthier than the former. You can also search for “vegetarian” refried beans, which promises zero animal lard in the process. Although, they might use butter as an alternative, so if you’re truly vegan, you might want to take a closer look at those cans as well—perhaps reach for options that use only olive or avocado oil to achieve a rich, fatty flavor.
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