Anasazi Beans & Wheat Berries

Recipe 20 minPreparation Time 50 minCooking Time

Anasazi Beans & Wheat Berries

20 minPreparation Time 50 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Turn cooked beans and grains into a dinner worthy of a party. Dating to ancient culinary practices, beans and grains are an ideal pairing, rich in protein and nutrients. Anasazi beans are named after a tribe of indigenous Americans; the Navajo word means "ancient ones." They were one of the native crops cultivated in the Southwest. The size of a pinto bean, dried Anasazi beans have a beautiful speckled burgundy pattern. Here miso, tamari, and smoked paprika add loads of flavor, a perfect combination with mushrooms and wheat berries.

The Benefits

Pairing rice and beans not only makes for a delicious dish, but also a dynamic duo that’s a complete source of protein. Concerned about carbs? Hello, beans. They help metabolize the carbohydrates in rice. The combo also is full of B vitamins and minerals. Adding mushrooms to your rice gives you age-fighting antioxidants and benefits your immune system.

Note: To cook Anasazi beans, soak 1 cup (180 g) beans overnight, then drain. Add the beans and 1 bay leaf to a heavy-bottomed medium pot with enough water to cover. Cook on medium-high heat until the water reaches a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the beans are tender, 45 to 90 minutes (depending on how long they have been dried and stored for). Check for doneness periodically, adding any water to the pot as needed.

To cook wheat berries, bring 3 cups (720 ml) water to boil in a medium saucepan and add 1 cup (190 g) rinsed wheat berries. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, checking for doneness after about 25 minutes; continue checking every 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the variety of wheat berry, cooking time will be between 30 and 90 minutes. When tender, drain; you can use immediately or store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 


Serves 4

Umami Anasazi Beans

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into half-moon slices
  • A pinch or two of sugar or 1/2 tsp date syrup (to taste)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegan beef-style broth (adding as needed)
  • 1½ cups (255 g) cooked Anasazi beans
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) sliced or finely diced mushrooms (such as shiitake)
  • 1/8(-ish) tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water
  • 2 tsp red miso
  • 1 tsp tamari

Mushroom Wheat Berries

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup (70 g) chopped or sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup (190 g) wheat berries
  • Splash of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp tamari or to taste


  1. Step 1
    Make the umami beans: Heat the oil in a hot skillet. Add the onion and sugar and cook on high heat for 15 to 30 minutes (the longer it cooks and browns, the sweeter it becomes), stirring as needed. Add beef-style broth as needed to avoid sticking.
  2. Step 2
    Add the beans, mushrooms, liquid smoke, and paprika. Add about 1/4 cup (60 ml) beef-style broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Step 3
    Meanwhile, whisk red miso in the hot water. Add to the beans and mix well. Add tamari. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Step 4
    Cook the mushroom wheat berries: In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes.
  5. Step 5
    Add the wheat berries and stir to combine. Sauté over medium-high heat until the wheat berries are heated through, about 5 minutes. If the wheat berries begin to stick, add a splash of vegetable broth. Season to taste with the tamari.
  6. Step 6
    Serve the rice in bowls and top with the Anasazi beans.