Three Sisters Soup

  in Recipes, Soups and Stews, Vegan

By Darylin Berryman

Corn, beans, and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and all 8 essential amino acids, allowing most Native American tribes to thrive on a plant-based diet. The Tewa and other Southwestern United States tribes often included a “fourth sister” known as “Rocky Mountain bee plant” (Cleome serrulata), which attracts bees to help pollinate the beans and squash. The Three Sisters means love, community, and health, therefore anytime you make Three Sisters soup, be sure to share!

3 cups peeled and cubed Kosmaan (pumpkin) 
2 cups cooked kidney Miskodiismin (beans) 
2 cups fresh shaved off the cobb Mndaamin (corn) 
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 large tomatoes, blanched & chopped 
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6-8 cups water
Salt & fresh pepper to taste

Sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper, and cubed pumpkin in a soup pot until the onion starts to get tender; add the beans, tomatoes, corn, bay leaf, and 6 cups of the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the pumpkin cubes are tender, around 8-10 minutes. Add more water if too thick. Remove bay leaf and serve garnished with lots of chopped parsley.

  • You can use canned or frozen vegetables or make mini cobs by slicing the whole corn into disks. 
  • Another option is to roast the vegetables beforehand, as roasting will enhance the flavors. 
  • If you make the soup in the summer, you can switch out the pumpkin for yellow and green squash and white northern beans to lighten the look and taste. There are as many versions of the Three Sister’s recipe as there are stories of their origin. These ingredient choices give the soup a summer to fall color theme with the yellow corn, orange pumpkin and red beans.