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Eat Mesquite and More: A Cookbook for Sonoran Desert Foods and Living by Desert Harvesters


Eat Mesquite and More celebrates native food forests of the Sonoran Desert and beyond with over 170 recipes featuring wild, indigenous foods, including mesquite, acorn, barrel cactus, chiltepin, cholla, desert chia, desert herbs and flowers, desert ironwood, hackberry, palo verde, prickly pear, saguaro, wolfberry, and wild greens. The recipes—contributed by desert dwellers, harvesters, chefs, and innovators—capture a spirit of adventure and reverence inviting both newcomers and seasoned experts to try new foods and experiment with new flavors.

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More than a cookbook, this award-winning guide also encourages a renaissance of “wild agriculture,” one that foregrounds the ethical harvesting and selection of wild foods and the re-planting of native food sources in urban and residential areas without imported water or fertilizers. It contains stories of significant individuals, organizations, and businesses that have contributed knowledge, products, and innovation in the planting, harvesting, and use of wild, native desert foods. Additional essays reveal the poetry of the foraging life, how to plant the rain, and medicinal uses and ethnobotanical histories of desert plants.While rooted in the Sonoran Desert, this book also offers a template for harvesting and cooking throughout the Americas. Many of the food plants included in this cookbook—or close relatives of them—can be found or grown in the other deserts and drylands of North America and South America. Universally, the book’s concepts and approach can help communities everywhere to collaborate with their ecosystems, enhancing the health of all. Over 100 images, index, harvest calendar, and additional resources included.

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Images: Over 100
  • Publisher: Rainsource Press, 2018
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-692-93874-4
  • Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN): 2017952735
  • Product Dimensions: 8 inches wide x 10 inches tall x 7/8 inch thick
  • Shipping Weight: 28 ounces

Table of Contents from Eat Mesquite and More

Foreword from Eat Mesquite and More

Introduction from Eat Mesquite and More

Desert Harvesters’ Manifeasto from Eat Mesquite and More

Southwest Book of the Year pick, 2017

“Desert Harvesters has been at the forefront of efforts to promote food sovereignty and help re-skill people to make effective use of easily available food resources. The recipes in this book will inspire residents of the Southwest desert regions (and beyond) to new uses for the wonderful flavors of mesquite, cacti, and other abundant indigenous plants.”
– Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation


“I can almost taste this book. I spent a significant part of my youth exploring the Sonoran Desert, marveling in its beauty, solitude and abundance. It is a joy to have a book that brings to life the flavors of this magical land while honoring the cultural traditions of the region and advocating for regenerative land management practices. It is an inspiring book that champions the local while celebrating the universal–just like the Sonoran Desert itself!”
– Courtney White, author and co-founder of the Quivira Coalition


“Eat Mesquite and More is a fantastic, practical cookbook for native, regional superfoods. It has the perks of a field guide, but gives you more than that. Desert Harvesters understand that changing your world is a process that begins in the kitchen, meal by meal. They have written a guidebook to a better life, connecting to the land through the foods of home. This will become the first reference for every forager in the Sonoran Desert region and a cherished manifesto even for those living far from the saguaro’s shadow.”
– Samuel Thayer, author of The Forager’s Harvest, Nature’s Garden, and Incredible Wild Edibles


“Eat Mesquite and More is the definitive resource for Baja Arizonans who care about eating locally and caring for this place we call home.”
– Megan Kimble, Managing Editor, and Doug Biggers, Editor and Publisher, Edible Baja Arizona magazine


“True to its title, this book is unlike any other I know of. The authors and contributors make these plants come alive in the context of their importance to all who call the Sonoran Desert, particularly the Arizona Uplands, home. We need to celebrate food, weaving it into every part of our being, our sense of place. Eat Mesquite and More helps us do that as it honors with tremendous respect the plants (and a few animals!), the cultures and this magnificent desert region. I love this book!”
– Wendy C. Hodgson, author Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert, Herbarium Curator and Research Botanist at the Desert Botanical Garden


“The Desert Harvesters have done it again! Their second cookbook, Eat Mesquite and More, offers a massive tome of amazing community wisdom of the abundant lands of the Sonoran Desert. Where you may see vast emptiness, they will show you how to easily create a delicious desert banquet that feeds your body’s soul. I can’t wait to share these delicious recipes with my restaurant guests.”
– Rob Connoley, chef & James Beard semi-finalist, author of Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook


“While this volume is chock full of interesting recipes, some for lesser-known plants, the most exciting element is that it showcases the creativity of so many cooks. The thoughtful organization makes it useful for both the experienced forager and beginners alike.”
– Carolyn Niethammer, author The Prickly Pear Cookbook and Cooking the Wild Southwest


“Eat Mesquite and More is a book of recipes and plant lore we may all really need someday, but it’s also a book to enjoy right now with its interesting blend of native desert plants and recipes keyed to our habitual tastes and new, adventurous tastes as well. 

Even if you don’t live in the Sonoran Desert, Eat Mesquite and More will open your eyes to the native plants that grow where you live—and their culinary possibilities.”
– Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and In My Kitchen


“I’ve been a huge fan of Desert Harvesters for years and this beautifully designed book is truly a must if you want to explore the culinary heritage and flavors of the Sonoran Desert. The photos are beautiful and the recipes from food to drinks are plentiful. The book even includes tips for creating your own native food forests. I’m extremely happy to have this fine addition to my library!”
– Pascal Baudar, author of The New Wildcrafted Cuisine and The Wildcrafting Brewer


“Eat Mesquite and More is a place-based guide to health and well being that connects us to the bounty of the southwestern drylands. These fantastic recipes don’t just teach us how to prepare wild and indigenous foods, they show us how to harvest rainwater, nurture the soil, grow a food forest, and build a healthy community. Enjoy!”
– Daphne Miller, M.D., author of Farmacology and The Jungle Effect

Additional information

Weight 28 oz