Three Sisters Soup from Indigikitchen

Words, images, and recipe by Mariah Gladstone

©Rebecca Drobis Grown Up West http://www.grownupwest.com

Indigikitchen, a portmanteau of Indigenous, digital, and kitchen, is an online cooking show dedicated to re-indigenizing our diets using digital media. Using foods native to their Americas, Indigikitchen gives viewers the important tools they need to find and prepare food in their own communities. Beyond that, it strengthens the ties to our cultures and reminds us of the inherent worth of our identities while fueling our physical bodies. Indigenous food systems support healthier ecosystems, bodies, and families.

It’s no secret that healthy eating generally involves avoiding processed foods and preservatives. Indigenous foods like wild game, berries, corn, squash, and wild rice are far easier for the digestive system to process than wheat flour, dairy, and sugar. In the case of Natives, there is the added benefit of cultural revitalization; pre-contact foods, especially those harvested locally, are a testament to the resilience of Native lifestyles and a delicious way of resisting colonization.

Indigikitchen was formed to foster an appreciation and love of traditional Native foods. Along the way, we’ve branched out to supporting Native producers, building Indigenous gardens, and teaching some of the important background surrounding the colonization of our foodways.

Three Sisters Soup

The three sisters planting method grows corn (maize), beans, and squash together as a way of using each plant’s characteristics to support the others. Corn provides a support structure for beans to use as a trellis. They both provide shade for squash who spreads out on the ground and prevents evaporative loss and weed growth. As a legume, beans re-enrich the soil with nitrogen. This recipe merges the three foods together in an easy vegetarian recipe that feeds a crowd. 


  • 1 Your favorite winter squash butternut, acorn, kabocha
  • 1 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels
  • 1 can cans cannellini beans drained (15 oz)
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced
  • Salt to taste


  • Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Remove the squash seeds and skin and cube the remainder of the squash into 1-inch pieces.
  • In a large stockpot, heat the oil, garlic, and squash over medium heat and sauté the onions until they are translucent. When the onions are soft, add spices and stir for 60 seconds.
  • Add the stock or water, corn, beans, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Enjoy!

Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet, Cherokee) grew up in Northwest Montana. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Environmental Engineering and returned home where she developed Indigikitchen. Mariah has been recognized as a “Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow” through the First Nations Development Institute, a “Culture of Health Leader” through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and an MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellow. She serves on the board of the FAST (Food Access and Sustainability Team) Blackfeet. Mariah completed her Master’s Degree at SUNY – ESF through the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Follow Indigikitchen on Instagram @indigikitchen and on Facebook and subscribe to the YouTube Channel

Categories: featured, food

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