Easy Instant Pot Black Tepary Beans

Celebrate indigenous foodways by paying tribute to tepary beans with this easy, delicious, wholesome recipe. What are tepary beans? These are pulses native to the United States and Mexico, which have been grown by Native Americans for thousands of years. In fact, cultivated tepary beans dating as far back as 500 BCE have been found in Mexico. The Akimel O’odham and the Tohono O’odham, who are native to the Sonoran desert region of Arizona, continue to grow them today. In fact, I bought the tepary beans for this recipe from Ramona Farms, a farm which cultivates these beans, among other indigenous foods, in order to bring them back to their community on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona. The bean is super sustainable, it is highly drought-resistant and grows in arid and dry regions. It is commonly grown in floodplains, as well as with squash and corn, the other two crops of the “Three Sisters” Native American cultural tradition. The beans are planted in hills several feet apart in stream beds that have recently flooded, providing the moisture necessary for growth. I plan on trying to grow it in my own community of Ojai, California soon too. 

A handful of black tepary beans grown in Arizona.

Other names for this bean include Bafv, Pawi, Pavi, Escomite, and Yorimuni, and the name “tepary” may have its origins in the Tohono O’odham phrase “t’pawi,” meaning “it’s a bean.” The actual bean ranges in color and is usually small, but can also vary in size. Similar to other pulses, they are high in protein. White tepary beans tend to be sweeter, while brown tepary beans have a more earthy flavor. Black tepary beans, interestingly, have a more savory flavor. These beans can be used just like other dried beans; enjoy them in soups, stews, salads, or blend them into dips. A half-cup serving of dried tepary beans has 21 grams of protein, as well 150% of the DV for iron, not to mention other vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.

Find tepary beans from Ramona Farms, which grows them sustainably in Arizona to help shed light on this sustainable, indigenous food.

When I got my shipment of Ramona Farms tepary beans, I tried to honor the original Arizona-style preparation method—simply simmered beans with indigenous herbs, chilis, garlic, tomatoes, and onions—but I turned to an Instant Pot for a helping hand. Because tepary beans are so dry and hard, they can take hours to cook. But one hour in an Instant Pot is all it takes to cook up a delicious batch of tepary beans. I served these at a holiday gathering, and got the thumbs up from everyone, who also enjoyed the amazing story that goes along with the beans. Switch out the black tepary beans for another shade, such as brown or white. Serve this recipe with corn tortillas and a side salad for a complete, delicious meal that comforts the mind, body, and soul.

 

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Easy Instant Pot Black Tepary Beans


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  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes (plus 8 hours for soaking time)
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Turn to indigenous, sustainable tepary beans—native to Arizona—to create this simple, wholesome, nutritious, plant-based (vegan), gluten-free simmered bean dish, made easy with an Instant Pot.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound black tepary beans, dried
  • Water for soaking
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried epazote* (may substitute with dried Mexican oregano)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 4-ounce can tomato paste
  • ½ lemon, juiced

Toppings (optional):

  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 stalks green onions, sliced

Instructions

  1. Place black tepary beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight (about 8 hours), or quick soak for 1 hour in boiling water. Drain water.
  2. Place soaked, drained beans in the container of an Instant Pot. Add broth, 2 cups fresh water, jalapeno, garlic, epazote (or Mexican oregano), onion, and tomato paste to the container.
  3. Fasten the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to the sealing position. Use the high pressure mode and set the cook time using the plus and minus button to 1 hour.
  4. When the cooking time is over, use the quick release to release the pressure from the Instant Pot.
  5. Open the lid, stir in the lemon juice, and transfer beans to a serving dish.
  6. Top with avocado slices, cilantro, and green onions, if desired. Serve immediately with corn tortillas if desired.
  7. Makes 12 servings

Notes

*Note: Epazote is an aromatic herb that grows in Mexico and has been used since pre—Columbian times—the word comes from the Nahuatl language. It grows easily in many sunny climates, such as California. You can find it in specialty shops or online, but If you can’t find it, try substituting Mexican oregano in this recipe.

Stove Top Instructions: You can make this recipe on the stove top by following step 1, and then for steps 2-5 cook the recipe in a large pot with lid over medium heat, stirring occasionally. It may take 3-4 hours to cook the beans, and you may need additional water to replace that lost to evaporation in order to make a thick, stew-like texture.

Slow Cooker Instructions: You can make this recipe in a slow cooker by following step 1, and then for steps 2-5 cook the recipe in slow cooker with lid, cooking on high for 6-8 hours, until tender—you may need additional water to replace that lost to evaporation in order to make a thick, stew-like texture.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: instant pot recipe, vegan instant pot recipe, tepary beans

This recipe is great prepared in an Instant Pot, grab my discount for an Instant Pot here.

Shop for some of my favorites spices used in this recipe at Spiceology!

For other delicious bean recipes, check out some of my favorites:

Heirloom Bean Cassoulet with Root Vegetables
BEST Vegetarian Refried Beans
Best Vegetarian Baked Beans
Three Sisters Chili

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