“Three Sisters” Stew – Recipe

In Native American mythology, squash, corn, and beans are known as of the “three sisters.” Often depicted as being clothed in the leaves of the crops over which they are guardians, the sisters are also, in some legends, the daughters of the Earth Mother.

1 small sugar pumpkin or 1 large butternut
or carnival squash (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium green or red bell pepper,
cut into short, narrow strips
14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups cooked pinto beans (about 3/4 cup raw),
or 16-ounce can, drained and rinsed
2 cups corn kernels (from 2 large or 3 medium ears)
1 cup homemade or canned vegetable stock, or water
1 or 2 small fresh hot chiles, seeded and minced, or
4-ounce can chopped mild green chiles
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

6 servings

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Halve the pumpkin or squash and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Place
cut side up in a shallow baking dishes and cover tightly with foil. Bake
for 40 to 50 minutes, or until just done but still firm. When cool
enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, and cut into large dice. Set aside
until needed.

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat
until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion
is golden.

Add the pumpkin or squash dice and all the remaining ingredients except
the last 2 and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, until all the
vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt
and pepper.

If time allows, let the stew stand for 1 to 2 hours before serving, then
heat through as needed. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. The
stew should be thick and very moist but not soupy; add additional stock
or water if needed. Serve in shallow bowls.

Adapted from Great American Vegetarian, by Nava Atlas. Copyright (c) 1998, Nava Atlas. You'll find this and other vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes on Nava's web site, In a Vegetarian Kitchen at In a Vegetarian Kitchen.
Adapted from Great American Vegetarian by Nava Atlas.


Jennifer R.
Jennifer R5 years ago

This is one of my absolute favorites!! I started making this for Thanksgiving a few years ago and now it's a family tradition. I've found the canned tomatoes w/chiles works great as a quick shortcut if you can't find green chiles.

J.L. A.
JL A6 years ago


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Magdalena K.
Past Member 6 years ago


Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Love this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago


K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Lucy Reddy
Lucy Reddy7 years ago

The recipe was so delicious.Pumpkin is hot favourite in my family.We should not forget that eating pumpkins help to keep the skin and eyes healthy.
m3 real karte

Mervi R.
Mervi R8 years ago

Excellent, thanks!

gail d.
gail dair8 years ago

Thanks for this article.