Tepary Bean Salad

Tepary Bean Salad

Indigenous communities in the Sonoran Desert have cultivated the tiny, drought-tolerant tepary bean for millennia. This recipe, adapted from “From I’Itoi’s Garden: Tohono O’odham Food Traditions” by Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA), a grassroots food and health community organization, reimagines a traditional tepary bean dish by adding venerable corn, colorful peppers and rich aromatics. The white beans have a sweet finish, while the brown variety showcases an uncommon nuttiness. Navy or Great Northern beans may be substituted for the white tepary beans, but there is no equivalent for the unparalleled tepary brown. Combined with an assertive cumin vinaigrette, this robust salad manifests a rich blend of old and new indigenous foodways. —Kevin Noble Maillard
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the vinaigrette: In a large bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, cumin, garlic and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper; whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly until smooth.
  2. Step 2

    Make the salad: Add white and brown tepary beans, red onion, corn, bell peppers, cilantro and jalapeño to the bowl with the vinaigrette; toss to coat, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to a few days) before serving. Toss well to combine, and enjoy chilled or at room temperature.