Heirloom Beans: Great Recipes for Dips and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Salads and Salsas, and Much More from Rancho Gordo by Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington

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Notes about this book

  • Laura on September 14, 2010

    Jennifer: I share your love of beans and appreciation for this book. And I agree that many of the beans are not locally available. I don't know if you're aware of it, but you can order many of the bean varieties directly from Sando's company, Rancho Gordo. http://www.ranchogordo.com/ The quality of the beans is incredible and the prices, while more than you'd pay for far inferior beans in the local grocery store, still seems quite reasonable for the quality.

  • jenno on January 21, 2010

    I love this book because I love beans. The recipes are interesting, pictures are beautiful and layout is very reader-friendly. The only reason I give it 4 out of 5 stars is because the unique varieties of beans are hard to find, even in NYC.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Tuscan ribollita with runner cannellini beans

    • Laura on February 27, 2011

      I've never made Ribollita before, so I can't comment on how authentic this recipe is or how it compares tastewise to other ribollita recipes. I can say that I was underwhelmed with this dish. The biggest problem was the bread. There is just too much of it. We felt like we were eating soggy bread with a few greens and beans. If I were ever to make it again, I'd eliminate all of the bread, except possibly the top layer. The second issue was that the amount of beans was not enough. Two cups of beans were barely an afterthought in the dish -- by the way, I used Rancho Gordo Cranberry Beans -- these were suggested as a substitute to create a 'heartier' soup. If I ever made this again, I would double the amount of beans. I would probably also up the cheese -- it's barely noticeable.

  • Three-bean salad with roasted tomatoes and pancetta

    • SheilaS on June 29, 2010

      Love the technique of oven-roasting canned tomatoes to boost flavor. This salad was fabulous with textural contrast of the crispy pancetta bits, crunchy celery and smooth beans. The pancetta softened on storing so it's really best served right away.

    • clkandel on August 29, 2021

      Since I had an abundance of garden fresh tomatoes, I roasted those to add to the salad. Using roasted tomatoes, instead of fresh, adds a unique component to the salad. I made this as a vegan side, so left out the meat. Even without that it is a nice blend of textures and flavor.

  • Christmas lima beans and quinoa with beets and avocados

    • SheilaS on June 29, 2010

      I've made this one several times. Even though the authors promote serving all the bean salads promptly, I found the leftovers made great lunches for a few days. I kept the avocado separate, served as a garnish.

  • Yellow Indian woman beans and bulgur with preserved lemons

    • PennyG on April 21, 2018

      This was delicious. Would be awesome for a unique dish to take to a pot luck! I used Rancho Gordo Mayocoba beans in this today. ETA: This, of course, is even better the next day as the flavors have really had time to marry up nicely.

    • mlbatt on July 25, 2018

      An explosion of flavor!

    • paulabee on July 06, 2017

      I used farro instead of bulgar and this turned out lovely.

    • skvalentine on March 30, 2022

      Really delicious dish. Took this on a camping trip and it held up nicely and was very flavorful.

  • Cuban black beans sofrito

    • PennyG on October 16, 2016

      I made these this afternoon and they are easy and delicious! I had to cook the beans longer than directed but that may have been due to the age of my beans. I did not use Rancho Gordo beans in this case.

  • Jimtown store's pasta fazool

    • PennyG on October 06, 2018

      Delicious! I made this with Rancho Gordo Flor de Durazno beans and orecchiette pasta because that’s what I had on hand. Next time I will look for a “tiny” pasta as the recipe called for.

  • Caribbean black bean soup with roasted garlic and tomatoes

    • Emily Hope on January 25, 2021

      Made this on a whim with some Rancho Gordo Santanero Negro Delgados and was surprised by how much we liked it -- great depth of flavor for a vegetarian soup, and pureeing half the beans gave it nice texture and body. Changes: Didn't have any fresh tomatoes (or whole canned tomatoes) so just used a can of fire-roasted instead. Added in about 1/4 cup of caramelized onions that we had kicking around in the fridge, and a tiny bit of a chipotle in adobo. Served with cornbread.

    • VineTomato on December 23, 2022

      Enjoyable enough but I'm not sure it lived up to my expectations. It had more of a Mexican vibe to it. I used tin plum tomatoes roasted in the oven, I might give this a go a gain with fresh slow roasted tomatoes. But I think there are probably better black bean soup recipes to try first.

    • Lepa on June 07, 2019

      This is a really good black bean soup. Roasting the garlic and tomatoes seemed like a fussy extra step but it really wasn't much work and the finished soup was delicious.

    • fractal on January 15, 2022

      Good and garlicky

  • Anasazi cowboy chili with buffalo and nopales

    • TrishaCP on December 13, 2020

      Hmmmm, this was not my favorite chile. Too bland on the spices- even though I increased the cumin and ended up adding another tablespoon of chile powder. I used RG vaquero beans, and that part of the chile was great (of course).

    • imaluckyducky on October 09, 2021

      4.5 stars. I really like this chili recipe -- I didn't find it bland at all but also I season to taste and season the meat and work it into the meat before cooking. Used two serrano peppers because we like heat. The RG vaquero beans cooked without soaking within an hour and a half to a creamy texture, which contrasted nicely with the ground meat. The nopales and the masa are the unsung heroes of the dish, add some pickled nopales on top of your bowl for a treat. Will make this again, 5yo approved.

    • goodfruit on May 31, 2014

      This is now my Go-To Chili recipe! Its very, very good, if you like a lot of flavor, and some spice, this is the one.

    • mzgourmand on March 07, 2020

      I made this w/o the masa harina & nopales additions but with all the sides & corn bread. It was tasty but a little bland - next time I will definitely up the spices.

  • White chili with turkey and green chiles

    • TrishaCP on November 23, 2018

      This was sooo delicious. I used half of the turkey since it was all that I had on hand, and Marcella beans from the freezer. I omitted the cayenne since my serranos brought enough heat.

    • dinnermints on April 02, 2019

      Very good, but would like more vegetables in there (or serve it in a roasted delicata half, or something like that). It took a loooong time to make; next time I'd do as much prep as possible the day before.

    • Rinshin on December 29, 2020

      Precooked Marcella beans one day ahead, used frozen tomatillos from the summer which did not need any precooking - only chopping so it simplified the additional task of cooking tomatillos, and finally used only frozen Hatch peppers for poblanos and serranos. Because of these changes, this recipe was quick to put together. Used the baking soda method with ground turkey and it sure improved the texture. Like most soups and stews, added extra ingredients to boost the flavor to my taste. Added a bit of sugar, accent, fish sauce, and at the end of cooking, white wine vinegar. Very good flavor. I will be repeating this one. Excellent use of ground turkey and beans of your choice. Using Marcella beans made this stew sumptuous. Photo added.

    • ksg518 on March 30, 2022

      I thought this was only so-so and not a repeat. My biggest issue was that it required you to roast and peel the poblanos but this meant they turned to mush in the final dish. I guess there is a reason I've never peeled peppers for chili. Otherwise I realized I prefer chili with tomatoes but that's a personal preference.

  • Three-chile salsa

    • TrishaCP on July 12, 2016

      This really to me is the perfect salsa because it has three of my favorite chiles- ancho, poblano, and serrano, plus the tang and depth of tomatillos too. If you like heat, you will want to leave all of the seeds in the serrano.

  • Classic red salsa

    • TrishaCP on September 11, 2016

      A nice simple salsa, but I prefer the three-chile salsa from the same book. (More depth of flavor.)

  • Yellow eye chowder with smoked chicken, sweet potatoes, and sage

    • TrishaCP on February 22, 2020

      This is really good but definitely improved upon resting. I used Yellow Indian Woman beans that I pressure cooked in advance rather than soaking. I cooked the beans with onion, garlic, and dried sage, so they would be permeated with the related flavors for 20 minutes unsoaked in the Instant Pot, using natural release. They were fairly well cooked, but I then added them to the recipe when I added the sweet potatoes and chicken, and they retained a nice, meaty texture. I used smoked turkey instead of chicken.

    • Jviney on February 11, 2020

      This is growing on me. The sweet potato adds a lot to the flavor...first day, sage was pronounced and I liked it. Second day the sage couldn’t be identified but I liked the flavor of the stew better.

    • foodgloriousfood on May 14, 2022

      I also used smoked turkey for this and we really enjoyed it. Would make again.

  • Tepary bean tacos with buffalo and bacon

    • TrishaCP on July 12, 2016

      Very good flavors here. The tepary beans are amazing-nice and meaty tasting. We ended up just mixing the cooked beans into the buffalo mixture rather than serving them separately.

  • Santa Maria pinquitos and tri-tip steak

    • TrishaCP on September 11, 2016

      I only made the beans (I used another tri-tip recipe), but they were incredible. Great flavor from pretty basic enhancements, and delicious with the salsa and meat. The pinquito beans are some of my favorite Rancho Gordo beans, and the treatment here really highlighted their great texture.

  • Borlotti beans in tomato sauce with creamy polenta

    • crandall57 on December 09, 2020

      Delicious. I didn't pre-soak the beans and cooked them in the instant pot.

    • goodfruit on May 31, 2014

      This is one of the best vegetarian things I have ever made or eaten. Takes a bit of work though, I recommend making the tomato part in advance, then the beans, saving the polenta for last.

    • Lepa on February 13, 2019

      This is my ideal comfort food. The bean/tomato sauce is sweet and delicious. The recipe also makes great polenta. I loved the combination. I cooked the beans earlier in the day and set them aside. I cooked the tomato sauce for an hour (not 2-3 hours recommended in the recipe). I also used crushed tomatoes so they may have cooked down faster. While I cooked the tomato sauce I made the polenta. I definitely intend to make this again!

  • Black calypso and cauliflower spread on toasted bread

    • bernalgirl on May 03, 2012

      Also delicious with pita chips or as a base for a cheese toast. I doubled the anchovy and added some chopped green onion. I'll make this again.

  • Chili verde with Anasazi beans

    • bernalgirl on August 04, 2021

      Excellent with vaquero beans

  • Red chili con carne

    • wcassity on August 13, 2012

      Good, straightforward recipe.

  • Somewhat Tarascan bean soup

    • michalow on January 01, 2013

      Wow, this is so much better than the sum of its parts. Also nice with a bit of mint.

    • fractal on January 05, 2021

      So good. Also skipped the roasting to make easier.

    • deboChicago on July 03, 2020

      So delicious.

  • Baked beans New England style

    • PirateJeni on December 25, 2020

      Enjoyed very much. Should have added a bit more liquid during cooking. Made half a recipe without any salt pork. Delicious!

    • fultre on October 18, 2022

      Nice classic flavor, not too sweet. I’ve made with and without meat, using Rancho Gordo beans and using cheap supermarket beans, and any iteration has been a good pot of beans.

  • Bean stuffed pupusas with curtido

    • clkandel on March 05, 2022

      These were great and could be part of a meal or an app. I processed the bean mixture in a blender to get a smoother texture, then cooked them on the stove top to thicken up. Could use cider vinegar in place of the white vinegar.

  • Flageolet bean and halibut stew with asparagus and parsley-mint pistou

    • dinnermints on March 19, 2021

      This turned out quite bland even with the mint pistou. I added some preserved lemon to the leftovers that improved things somewhat, but not enough to consider making it again. Wish I'd used tilapia instead, as this was rather a waste of halibut.

  • Enfrijoladas with chicken

    • goodfruit on December 01, 2019

      Really good! I call this "Mexican Lasagne"

  • All-purpose poached chicken Mexican style

    • goodfruit on May 31, 2014

      Super easy and you can do so much with this chicken, esp make the Enfrijoladas! Which are awesome.

  • Swedish brown bean soup

    • bching on February 18, 2021

      Perfect polar vortex lunch. 3 cups of cabbage seemed like too much--but in the end, it was just right.

  • Jacob's cattle beans with pancetta and sage

    • bching on September 30, 2020

      Delicious and easy. Be sure to salt adequately while cooking.

  • Mayacoba bean salad with pesto and shrimp

    • ksg518 on August 03, 2016

      Great summer bean salad. I used Ayocote beans but any basic white bean would work. If served as soon as it's made, it will be a warm salad but I think it improved by sitting in the fridge overnight. The pesto is pretty basic (basil, olive oil and garlic - no cheese or nuts) but functions as a great dressing.

    • Lepa on September 14, 2019

      This is a good bean salad. The poaching method resulted in perfect shrimp. The pesto is a bit sharp tasting because it doesn't have any nuts or cheese and if I make this again I may add some.

    • Skamper on June 16, 2021

      This was delicious. I made a half batch with the following modifications: used slightly more beans than called for (2/3 c uncooked, made in IP), combo of basil & cilantro, added about a quarter cup of parmesan (didn't measure) to the pesto, and used maybe 3 T of sherry in the poaching liquid instead of white wine. Served on a bed of greens.

    • intrepidcook on July 13, 2021

      Substituted Mantequilla beans (from the 2nd quarter 2021 Rancho Gordo Bean Club shipment). I only had large shrimp rather than the medium shrimp called for in the recipe, so I cut the shrimp lengthwise before cooking.

  • Wren's egg beans and green beans

    • Lepa on July 15, 2021

      This was good but not great and perhaps not worth all the fuss. It may be my fault because I made this with shelling beans so between shelling the beans, trimming the green beans and making the vinaigrette it felt like a bit of work. Maybe I'll save this recipe for special occasions.

  • White runner bean salad

    • Lepa on June 11, 2019

      This salad tasted delicious. The dressing was great and my kids loved it. But the cannellini beans I made from scratch fell apart and made the salad a bit gloopy. I will make this again but may use another kind of bean - or cook it more carefully.

  • Bean stew with herb pesto

    • Lepa on November 17, 2019

      This is a bit fussy to put together but the resulting stew is exceptionally delicious. I don't think this will make good leftovers because as the soup cools the green dulls to an awful drab brown so make it when there are people to share with! Even the soup left in the pot after dinner looked like the frog soup from Triplets of Belleville (if you haven't seen the movie, that's not good!). A friend urged me to buy this book because of this recipe and I feel compelled to recommend the same.

  • Pasta with beans, broccoli rabe, and bacon

    • Lepa on February 16, 2020

      This was pretty tasty - but also felt like a lot of moving parts for a pasta dish and in the end I'm not sure the effort to flavor ratio worked for me. We used cranberry beans. I liked this and would probably repeat it but the rest of my family just thought it was okay.

  • Scarlet runner beans in chile sauce with stuffed squash blossoms

    • fractal on October 27, 2021

      Beans are yummy. Fairly simple to make. Did not make the squash blossoms alongside and just served over rice. Good with hot sauce.

  • Rio Zape beans and sweet potatoes with fried sage and pine nuts

    • jdjd99 on February 05, 2020

      I really liked this. We substituted spinach for the watercress to better appease the kids palates. We also doubled the beans as we were serving it for a main dish. I felt there was enough dressing to accommodate the extra beans.

  • Cannellini bean confetti spread with roasted garlic

  • Senate bean soup

    • foodgloriousfood on April 05, 2022

      My husband requests this soup regularly. It really is very good! I recommend using the yellow eye beans from Rancho Gordo as per the recipe. It really does make a difference!

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • Italian marrow beans with tuna

    • Arctic Garden Studio

      We took ours hiking and didn't eat it for several hours, although it was a pretty cool day. I also refrigerated and then took it to work the next day...that was also very good.

      Full review
  • ISBN 10 0811860698
  • ISBN 13 9780811860697
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Nov 01 2008
  • Format Paperback
  • Page Count 180
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Chronicle Books
  • Imprint Chronicle Books

Publishers Text

Who would have thought a simple bean could do so much? Heirloom bean expert Steve Sando provides descriptions of the many varieties now available from Scarlet Runners to the spotted Eye of the Tiger beans. Nearly 90 recipes in the book will entice readers to cook up bowls of heartwarming Risotto and Cranberry Beans with Pancetta or Caribbean Black Bean Soup. Close-up photos of the beans make them easy to identify. Packed with protein fiber and vitamins these little treasures are the perfect addition to any meal.

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