What are HAYSTACKS??

What are HAYSTAX? Haystacks? Haystack?

Once when we were at a restaurant in Monterey, California, our vegetarian kids were looking through the menu, wondering what they could have to eat.  I suggested the taco salad, removing the beef, and my son wanted to know what a taco salad was.

"It's basically haystacks," I answered.

The waitress gasped and looked up from her order pad. "That's what my parents call it," she said with wide eyes.

She left for a moment, and when she returned I smilingly asked her, "Did you by chance grow up an Adventist?"

"Yes!" She was astounded that I asked.

Honestly, I don't know of any other group of people that calls these delectable edibles "Haystacks!"



Soak dry pinto beans in plenty of water overnight.  This means several inches above the beans. One serving of beans on a haystack is typically 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked beans, depending on who's eating! 

In the morning, drain the beans and rinse them quite a bit, till the water is no longer brown.  This seems to cut down on the gaseous effect.

Cover the beans once more with water, add a generous handful of dried onion for flavor and a splash of olive oil to keep the water from foaming over the pot as it cooks.

Turn the heat up till it reaches a near-boil, then turn it down to just above the lowest setting.  Let it slowly cook for a couple or three hours.  Add salt to taste AFTER the beans are nice and soft.

Chop any or all of these and put in small bowls for people to choose from:

  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce - chopped or shredded
  • bell peppers
  • cucumbers
  • sliced olives

Additional bowls of:

  • avocados (simplify: make or purchase guacamole or pure avocados at a place like Costco)
  • vegan sour cream (okay, or real sour cream - we've run several vegan health food seminars at our church, so we will always suggest vegan).
  • vegan cheese(or shredded cheddar or jack)
  • salsa
  • jalapeños
  • vege-burger (great recipe, if you need one)
  • cooked rice
  • Tortilla chips (The orginal calls for Frito's Corn chips, however to cut costs and stick with a more health-friendly diet with lower sodium, Costco's giant cost-effective bag has only 25 mg of sodium per serving)
  • Tortillas - soft - if you would like to make burritos or tacos, LaTortilla Factory from Santa Rosa, California, has several delicious high-fiber choices.

I recently met Coltrain Chapman who loves diced pickles on his haystacks!  Many people like Ranch dressing.  I guess anything goes.

How to build a haystack:

  1. Put a layer of chips on a plate. If they are larger tortilla chips, crush them a bit.
  2. Spoon beans over the top of the chips, distributing them in lovely lumps
  3. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the beans so it melts or ladle on the vegan cheese
  4. Be generous with the lettuce
  5. Now sprinkle generously or sparsely the other ingredients

Part of the great thing about Haystacks is that everyone can take exactly what their personal palate desires!

Eat with a fork or sometimes a spoon, depending on how little you are or how much you crunched those tortilla chips.

Bueno apetito!