Deep in the cliffside ruins of ancient peoples, archaeologists found bean seeds cultivated by the Anasazi people. “Anasazi,” Navajo for “ancient,” these beans were named after the people who cultivated them. The Anasazi bean seeds found were perfectly intact, encased in a clay pot for hundreds of years. Initially, carbon dating estimated the seeds to be 1500 years old, but experts say it was likely closer to 750 years old (1).
This would have been a highly valued crop by the Anasazi people because it is drought resistant due to its deep root system. The name “Anasazi bean” was trademarked in 1993 and subsequently launched commercially (1). Recently this bean gained momentum in commercial markets.
These beans are nutritionally dense with a deliciously sweet taste. Brown and white speckled in appearance, they tend to digest easier than other, more popular bean varieties (2).
Like many other beans, Anasazi beans contain protein and fiber. What really makes them unique is their lower oligosaccharide content (only 1/4th of the oligosaccharides other beans contain). These oligosaccharides are what make other beans hard to digest. These beans are also lower in calories and carbohydrates than other varieties (3). For this reason, Anasazi beans make a great substitute for pinto, kidney, and black beans in dishes.
How to Buy
Wondering where you can buy Anasazi Beans? These beans have been sold commercially since 1993 and are found in most health food stores (1). If you’re having trouble finding them in your local area, try buying them online, typically in dried form.
How to Prepare Them
Preparation for Anasazi beans is simple. Almost come in dry form, which means the beans need re-hydrating. When it comes to how to cook the beans, the good news is that you can cook them however you want – or not. Once re-hydrated, bake, boil, saute, or pop in your mouth. Re-hydrated or canned Anasazi beans do not require soaking like other bean varieties (3).
Anasazi Bean Recipes
Bean and Beet Burgers
Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Add the following into a food processor: 1 cup re-hydrated Anasazi beans, 1 cup grated raw beet, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Pulse until ingredients are well blended, but not totally smooth.
Form the mixture into four evenly-sized burger patties and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through, until lightly browned. Fix up your burger on a bun with any fixings you like, or simply let these patties shine beside some fresh greens.
Start with 1 cup of re-hydrated Anasazi beans in a large food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, juice from half a lime, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set your processor on low until all ingredients incorporate. Once smooth in texture, spread on toast. Try adding tomato, hemp seeds, sprouts, a poached egg, or anything else you desire.
Eat immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days in a sealed container. It also works like a dip with tortilla chips or whole grain crackers.
An Anasazi bean salad works well as a prepacked lunch or as a side for a light dinner. Take 2 cups of re-hydrated Anasazi beans and add to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 cup of grated carrot, and a handful of chopped purple onion. Coat with a dressing of your choosing, or use a simple extra virgin olive oil and lemon dressing with fresh basil, salt, and pepper. This meal not only comes together effortlessly, but it spares you from having to turn on the oven on during hot summer days.