Think mesquite and chances are you’re thinking barbeque wood. But the pods from mesquite trees are edible when harvested and processed into a powder or flour.
What Are Mesquite Beans?
Mesquite beans are the bean-shaped pods of mesquite trees. Commonly found in the southwestern United States and Latin American, the trees bloom every fall. Years ago, mesquite bean flour (made from milling the pods) was a staple ingredient for many Native Americans. Today, it’s uncommon to find mesquite bean flour in stores or chefs cooking with it, although it is starting to gain notoriety as a gluten allergy-friendly flour.
How to Cook With Mesquite Beans
You'll found mesquite beans sold as a flour, which is actually quite versatile. You can use it in meat and vegetable-based dishes and desserts. If cooking meat or vegetables, experiment with sprinkling a little bit on top of when cooking to add a bit of sweetness to the dish. You can also mix a couple of tablespoons into chili.
The most popular way to use mesquite bean flour, however, is when baking. Use it as a 1 to 1 substitute for some (but not all) flours in recipes such as in bread, brownies or cookies, just be judicious when using as it will make the baked good sweeter than using traditional flour.
What Does It Taste Like?
Mesquite bean powder (or flour) has a mild, sweet, nutty, molasses-like flavor with a touch of caramel and a hint of chocolate.
Mesquite Bean Flour Recipes
Swap mesquite bean flour for all-purpose flour in cookie and brownie recipes for a gluten-free alternative or add a tablespoon to your favorite chili recipe to counter the spice with a touch of nutty sweetness.
Where to Buy Mesquite Bean Flour?
Mesquite bean flour or powder is most commonly found online. Shop for the flour from Amazon, Casa de Mesquite and Desert USA. Prices start at around $10 for a pound of flour, which can also be bought in bulk.
Transfer mesquite bean flour to a food-grade container with a tight-sealing lid, to keep it from absorbing moisture, odors and flavors from other foods and to ensure that pests can’t get into it. The flour should stay good in a cool, dry place for up to six months.
Nutrition and Benefits of Mesquite Bean Flour
Food allergy-friendly mesquite bean flour contains no gluten, peanuts, or soy. It does contain sugar and protein and is a natural source of dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid lysine.