Types of beans and how to cook with them

This post is inspired by the book “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” by Sean Sherman 

Dried beans are a staple in Native American cuisine. They are high in protein and add depth to soups, stews and salads. When pureed, they become a soft dough for fritters and burgers. Here is a list of a few different varieties of beans, their flavor profiles and how they can be used. 

Anazazi– Anazazi beans are small, purple and white beans from Mesa Verde, Colorado. They cook quickly. They are easy for the body to digest and have a sweet taste. 

Appaloosa- Small, spotted black and white, Appaloosa beans are sometimes called Dalmatian beans. They have a creamy texture and are great refried and mixed in soups and stews. 

Arikara Yellow- Arikara Yellow beans are tan with a red eye. They provide a creamy texture and mild flavor. 

Aztec- Aztec beans are large and can be white or have a purple hue. They have an earth taste and are from the New Mexico area. 

Black Turtle- Black Turtle beans have a meaty texture and distinct slightly sweet flavor. These beans make a great addition to soups and stews. 

Great Northern- Great Northern beans are larger than Navy beans, and have a creamy and tender texture. 

Hidatsa Shield Figure- These beans are named for the Hidatsa tribe. They are a pale-cream color with a golden saddle. Hidatsa Shield Figure beans turn creamy and delicate when cooking. 

Jacob’s Cattle- Jacob’s Cattle beans are an American heirloom. They are kidney-shaped and cream-colored with patches of red. They are delicate and have a mild taste. 

Lima- Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are green and kidney-shaped. They are a great addition to succotash and cook quickly. 

Marrow- Marrow beans are small, round and white. They swell up when cooked and have a creamy texture and mild taste that some say is similar to smoked bacon. 

Navy- Navy beans are small and white. They hold their shape well when cooked and have a mild flavor. They are a great addition to soups and stews.

Peas- Split green and yellow peas cook quickly and are wonderful in soups and stews.

Pinquito- Pinquito beans are like pinto beans but have a pinker color. They can be used in the same way pinto beans are used. 

Pinto- Pinto beans are most popular in the Southwest region of the U.S. They are great for soups and stews, especially chili. 

Red and Black Nightfall- These are heirloom beans with a mild flavor. They hold their shape when cooked, making a great addition to soups, salads and salsas.

Rice- Rice beans are small with an earthy flavor and cook quickly. 

Rio Zape- Rio Zape beans are brown and purple with a meaty taste and texture.

Runner- Runner beans include Aztec, Giant Pinto and others. They are big and swell up to twice their size. They require slow and careful cooking. 

Snowcap- These beans are kidney shaped and pink with a white cap. They have a sharp taste and add richness and depth. 

Soldier- Soldier beans are an Old New England heirloom bean. They are one of the original baked beans. 

Southern peas- Black-eyed peas are the most common. They have a mild and earth flavor and are a great side dish. 

Tepary- Tepary beans are Native to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico. They’re small and can be gray, white or brown. They have a long cooking time and their flavor is earth and pronounced. They are easy to grow, drought-resistant and great in soups and stews. 

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