Indigenous Foods Recipes

Indigenous Foods Recipes
Posted on 11/08/2019
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Salt River Elementary School students were treated to yummy O’las Pilkan (Pima wheat berries) andS-oam Bavi (brown tepary beans) for lunch recently.

The grains and beans have been enjoyed by the Akimel O’odham and other area peoples for hundreds of years. These staples have been cultivated throughout the Sonoran Desert for thousands of years.

These foods come from our friends at Ramona Farms, located on the Gila River Indian Community, and were specially prepared for our students by our Food Services team to celebrate local produces in the Arizona Farm to School 2019 Farm Fresh Challenge  #farmfreshaz #azf2s.

Although these foods are often highlighted during special events and during Native American Heritage Month, we strive to provide our students with an education infused with year-round O'odham and Piipaash language and culture, which includes exposing students to Indigenous foods prepared as both traditional and contemporary dishes.

WOW! your friends this holiday season by bringing a plate of Ramona Farm's Tepary Bean Brownies:


  • 1 cup Ramona Farms S-oam Bavi (brown tepary beans) cooked according to basic cooking instructions and pureed.
  • 1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup salted butter (melted)
  • 1 cup Ramona Farms Milgaan Chu'i (white Sonora wheat all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Let ingredients soak for 20-30 minutes, then blend on low until smooth. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x11-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Pour brownie mixture into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (depending on oven temperature variations you may bake the brownies a little longer).

Check your brownies with toothpick in the center of pan; when the toothpick comes out clean, your treats are ready to come out of the oven. Allow your brownies to cool before removing them from the pan.

This Ramona Farm's recipe for Wheat Berry, Beet, and Pecan Salad with Pomegranate-Orange Vinaigrette is sure to turn heads and make tummies happy:

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large Navel Orange
  • 1 bag of cooked Ramona Farm wheat berries 
  • 4 medium beets roasted and cubed
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup I’itoi onions
  • ¼ coarsely chopped pecans

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ¼ tsp Orange Zest
  • Juice of ½ an orange
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp pomegranate juice
  • Sea salt & pepper to flavor

Zest the orange and set the zest aside. Cut the orange in half. Peel and chop half the orange and juice the other half. In a large mixing bowl, combine the orange segments, wheat berries, beets, cranberries, onion, and pecans. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, and pomegranate juice.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.

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