Different Types of Beans with Three Sisters Mash Recipe

Learn about different types of beans and its role in Native American cuisine.

| January 2018

  • Sioux Chef
    Beans are high in protein and can be used in a variety of dishes.
    Photo by Mette Nielsen
  • Sioux Chef
    "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen" by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley introduces readers to modern indigenous cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories by sharing award-winning recipes and stories.
    Cover courtesy University of Minnesota Press

  • Sioux Chef
  • Sioux Chef

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley introduces readers to modern cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. The book shares award-winning recipes that embrace locally sourced and seasonal, "clean" ingredients. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1, "Fields and Gardens."

You can purchase this book from the Heirloom Gardener store: The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen.

Dried beans are the backbone of Native cuisine. High in protein, they add body and substance to soups, stews, and salads. When pureed, they become a soft dough for fritters, burgers, and croquettes. Here's a quick look at just a few of the different varieties.

Bean Varieties


Small, purple and white heirloom beans from Mesa Verde, Colorado; quick cooking.


Small, spotted black and white, sometimes called Dalmatian; creamy.

Arikara Yellow

Tan bean with a red eye, very creamy texture and mild flavor.

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