Mesquite As Food

Recipes - Health Information

Desert Lil's Delicacies

Mesquite grows well in desert areas from the southwestern United States to the Andean regions of South America. Traditionally, native peoples of the Southwest depended on mesquite. It provided food, fuel, shelter, weapons, medicine, and cosmetics. As times changed, and as refined sugar and wheat flour became staples, the role of mesquite was diminished.

Mesquite Meal productsMesquite meal was once made by hand-grinding the plant's seeds and pods on stones. Now modern milling techniques speed up the process, grinding the entire mesquite pod at once, including the protein-rich seed. This produces meal that is highly nutritious as well as very flavorful. The meal ground from the pod contains 11 to 17 percent protein. Its high lysine content makes it the perfect addition to other grains that are low in this amino acid.

Although desert dwellers used mesquite pods as a source of food for centuries, when you order and use this product, you become part of a new, pioneering network of chefs and nutritionists who are working together to discover contemporary uses for this tasty food.

Mesquite meal can be added to soups, gravies and sauces, casseroles, vegetable and meat dishes, and pie crusts, or you can sprinkle it on desserts such as fruit compotes, puddings and ice cream. Find delicious mesquite meal recipes below.

We're eager to learn about your experimentation. If you develop successful new recipes using mesquite meal, we'd love to have a copy for future publication. If we use your recipe, your contribution will be acknowledged.

The Value of Mesquite

Mesquite pods were once a treasured part of the Pima and Tohono O'odham diet. The sweet pods are a good source of calcium, manganese, iron, and zinc. The seeds within are 40 percent protein. Mesquite flour made from grinding the whole pods produces soluble fibers, which are slowly absorbed, without a rapid rise in blood sugar.

Diabetes epidemics among Native American populations were almost unheard of until the middle of the 20th century, when desert tribes in particular suffered spiraling rates of diabetes and obesity. Some researchers believe that the health epidemics began when modern-day Native Americans started getting their food from the supermarket instead of the desert. For generations, sweet and juicy mesquite beans were a staple of desert tribes of the Southwest.

Medical studies of mesquite and other desert foods show that despite its sweetness, mesquite flour (made by grinding whole pods) "is extremely effective in controlling blood sugar levels" in people with diabetes. Soluble fibers, such as galactomannin gum, in the seeds and pods slow absorption of nutrients, resulting in a flattened blood sugar curve, unlike the peaks that follow consumption of wheat flour, corn meal and other common staples. The gel-forming fiber allows foods to be slowly digested and absorbed over a four- to six-hour period, rather than in one or two hours.

Tribes of the Southwest also used mesquite for grilling. Food cooked over a mesquite fire is something special. The rest of the country began to realize that in the 1980s, when mesquite became the wood of choice for chefs and backyard grilling gurus all over the U.S.

Mesquite blossoms also provide good nectar for honey, and mesquite honey is available in our online store.

Click to buy Mesquite Meal and find more recipes.

Mesquite Flour Recipes

from Native Peoples Magazine

3/4 C. each of cornmeal and flour
3/8 C. mesquite meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. each baking soda and salt
1 C. yogurt
1 egg
3 Tbs. honey
3 Tbs. oil

Combine dry ingredients in medium sized bowl. Combine the wet ingredients and stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Spread into greased 8 inch by 8 inch pan. Bake 20 - 25 minutes at 350 degrees. For a unique Southwestern kick, add 1 tablespoon chipotle (dried, smoked jalapeno) flakes and 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels.

from Promez

2 C whole wheat flour
1 C sugar
3/8 C mesquite meal
2 eggs
1 C oats
1 C margarine or butter
2 t baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Blend first five dry ingredients (flour, meal, oats, soda and baking powder ) in medium bowl. Blend margarine ( or butter ) and sugar, add eggs. Combine all ingredients until well blended. Drop on ungreased cookie sheet by rounded teaspoons. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

from Martha Darancou Aguirre of Rancho la Inmaculada

3/4C mesquite flour
1C flour (enriched, bleached, buckwheat)
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 to 2 C milk

Mix dry ingredients first. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix. Add milk until desired thickness is acquired. (The thinner the mix, the thinner the pancakes, the thicker the mix, the thicker the pancakes.) Spoon onto a hot griddle and flip when just beginning to bubble. Serve with butter and honey or better yet, prickly pear syrup. Makes 12 - 18 pancakes.


from Martha Darancou Aguirre of Rancho la Inmaculada

3/4C mesquite meal
1C all purpose flour
2/3 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1C mashed banana
1/3 C shortening, margarine or butter (preferred)
1/2 C milk
2 eggs
1/4 C chopped nuts

Mix mesquite meal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add mashed banana, shortening, margarine, or butter, and milk. Beat on low speed until blended, then on high for 2 minutes. Add remaining flour. Beat until blended. Sir in nuts. Pour into greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool thoroughly.

from Martha Darancou Aguirre of Rancho la Inmaculada

1 C mesquite meal (Sonoran)
1 C all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 C sugar
1 C finely shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/4 C chopped walnuts
3 eggs
1 C corn oil

Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In another bowl, mix sugar, zucchini, oil, egg and lemon peel. Mix well. Add flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool thoroughly before wrapping.


2 tablespoons of mesquite flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of refined wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
1 apple cut in pieces
1/4 cup of chopped nuts
1/3 cup of milk

Mix the dry ingredients. Separately mix the liquid ingredients with the beaten eggs. Add half the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients. Then add the nuts, chopped apples and the rest of the moist ingredients and mix well. Place in oven at 350 F for 25 minutes and then test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.

Recipe courtesy of Pam Mathison


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups quaker quick oats
1/2 cup mesquite flour
1 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons guar gum

Heat oven to 350 F. Beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add regular flour, mesquite flour, baking soda, cinnamon, guar gum and salt and mix well. Stir in oats and raisins mix well Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes. Cool 1 minute and move to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.



3 egg whites
1 cup of sugar (can be less if a less sweet cookie is preferred)
½ cup mesquite flour
½ teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Mix the sugar and mesquite flour together. Without stopping, slowly add the sugar/mesquite flour to the egg whites as they are beaten with an electric mixer. Add the salt and lemon juice while continuing to beat the mixture. Continue beating until a consistency is reached, such that when the mixing bowl is inverted the mixture does not fall from the bowl.   Immediately after beating, place the spoon size drops on a cookie sheet with waxed paper. (It is preferred that the cookie sheet has holes).  Place in an oven with very low temperature (about 210 F) for about an hour to an hour and a half. Be careful not to let the cookies brown.



7/8 cup butter (200 gram)
1 ¼ cup sugar (250 gram)
¼ cup of cognac
1 grated lemon rind
2 egg yolks
3 entire eggs
1 ¾ cup wheat flour (200 grams)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 tablespoons of mesquite flour
14 ounces of (400 grams) of dried fruit mix mango, papaya, pineapple.


Beat the butter with the sugar until a white cream consistency is achieved. Moisten the fruit and the grated lemon peel with the cognac.  Add the egg yolks and the eggs one by one, while beating the creamy sugar/butter mixture. Mix the mesquite flour with the wheat flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Alternately incorporate the dried fruit with the wheat/mesquite flour -baking powder mixture and optional macadamia nuts.  Beat well. Place the combined mixture in a rectangular baking pan that has been buttered and dusted with flour. Bake in a moderate temperature oven until the cake rises to full volume and becomes a golden color.  Remove the fruit cake and allow to cool on wire rack.



Flan portion
8 eggs
1 quart of milk
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of mesquite flour

Caramel topping
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of rum

First make the caramel syrup by boiling the mixture a cup of sugar and cup of water until the water evaporates and the caramel becomes the color of honey.  Add the rum and remove from the burner.

Mix the eggs, sugar, milk, and mesquite flour and place this mixture in a flan mold that has been lined with the caramel.  Bake for one hour at 350 F with a cookie sheet with water below the flan mold.  Remove the flan from the mold. Add water to the mold (after removing the flan), place on a burner on the stove, allow the liquid to boil and concentrate until it becomes a thick syrup. Pour this syrup over the flan. Serve cold.



1 cup of cow or soymilk
4 teaspoons mesquite flour
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Add the mesquite flour to milk and place in a blender until well mixed.
Place in a microwave for 40 seconds.



1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pancake mix
3 tablespoons mesquite flour.
1 cup of milk (cow or soy)
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix the Bob's Red Mill gluten free pancake mix, mesquite flour, milk, and egg, beat well and let stand until the griddle is ready. Put the griddle on medium heat, add the vegetable oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the mixture to the griddle. When bubbles appear throughout the mixture, turn the pancakes. Continue cooking until the pancakes easily separate from the griddle and have a light brown color. This recipe is a modification of the Bob's Red Mill GF pancake mix in that it includes more milk and mesquite flour.


Native Peoples Magazine
San Pedro Mesquite Company
Science Times

Desert Lil is seeking your help in adding to her cyber cookbook of Desert Delicacies. She is looking for original recipes that:

  • Use native Southwestern ingredients or
  • Are good for camping or backpacking or
  • Have a Southwestern flair

If you have a tasty, quick or unique recipe that you'd like to share with Lil and DesertUSA readers, please submit it here.

Related DesertUSA Pages

Indian Uses of Desert Plants - book
Kokopelli products
Native Americans information



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