Our mission is to share the wonders of the natural world by publishing books from experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture, and natural history. Grow with us.

Mayacoba Bean Salad

by Timber Press on January 26, 2017

in Food, Gardening

Image from Rancho Gordo, edited.

You may have heard of Steve Sando and his company Rancho Gordo from features and recipe roundups in everything from The New York Times to Bon Appétit. Thomas Keller of The French Laundry swears by Sando’s products, but the leader of the heirloom revolution says it best himself:

As you cook these heirloom beans and other grains and ingredients, keep in mind….what you are doing isn’t exotic and esoteric. It’s continuing traditions that are well-established for a reason….rather than constantly trying to reproduce English gardens or European wine, it’s nice to know what’s from here and discover ways of incorporating these ingredients into your kitchen. New World food is exciting, tasty, healthy, romantic, and possibly, easier on the earth.

Image by Paul Goyette via Flickr, edited.

Mayocoba Bean Profile

Creamy and versatile, Mayocoba has a pale yellow hue and super soft texture. This mild-flavored bean soaks up all the flavors of the cooking pot. A classic bean originally from Peru, now quite at home in our California beanfields, the Mayocoba is also known as Canario or Peruano. It’s a small but meaty thin-skinned bean that will take on all the flavors you can throw at it but still hold its shape. Great as a substitute for Cannellini or great Northern beans but unique in its own right. It’s popular all over Mexico but especially in the state of Jalisco, where you often see them used for super creamy refried beans.

Suggestions: Soups, refried beans, salads, pot beans, dips
Latin name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Country of production: USA

Mayacoba Bean Salad with Tomatoes, Lemon, and Basil

Serves 6

  • 3 cups cooked and drained
  • Mayacoba beans (1 cup dry)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 6 large basil leaves, slivered

Sarah Scott worked for many years at the Robert Mondavi Winery, and very quietly she’s been behind the scenes defining “wine country cuisine” in the Napa Valley. She will groan when she reads this, but I don’t care. She’s incredibly talented, has a killer laugh, and she’s a lover of good beans. What’s not to like? This is her bean salad, and I consider it a favorite.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Cook beans, drain and set aside. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half diagonally and place in a bowl. Toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Spread the tomatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30–35 minutes, or until they start to shrivel and caramelize. Cool to room temperature.

Place the shallots, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt in a small nonreactive bowl. Stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for at least 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil.

Place the cooked beans in a medium-sized bowl. Add the roasted cherry tomatoes and the shallot mixture and gently stir to combine. Stir in the slivered basil. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice or salt if needed. Adapt this recipe by adding another protein like shrimp or more color with bell peppers.


Through his company, Rancho Gordo, Steve Sando’s seed saving, bean production, and marketing efforts provide professional and home chefs with heirloom beans that would otherwise have been lost to history. Food + Wine magazine placed Steve “at the forefront of the current seed-saving movement.” Steve lives in Napa where he grows more than 25 varieties of heirloom beans; he travels frequently throughout the Americas collecting beans, friends, and adventures.

Click the image below for a look inside this book.


“Packed with history, information, and wonderful stories, this timely book will keep you entertained and well fed.” —Barbara Fairchild, former editor-in-chief, Bon Appétit magazine

Previous post:

Next post: