Three Sisters Summer Soup

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Three Sisters Summer Soup Recipe
Three Sisters Summer Soup Recipe

The Three Sisters Parable: Preserving Native American Tradition

A delicious, filling summer soup with roots in Native American folklore and legend, Three Sisters Summer soup is a beautiful bounty for the eyes. High fiber, high protein, vegan, and versatile, this light summer soup is a meal in itself.
A delicious, filling summer soup with roots in Native American folklore and legend, Three Sisters Summer soup is a beautiful bounty for the eyes. High fiber, high protein, vegan, and versatile, this light summer soup is a meal in itself.

The Three Sisters parable is near and dear to my soul.  I have a significant, yet undetermined, blood quantum hailing from Mvskoke and, possibly, Pawnee tribes. My maternal uncle is on the board of elders for the local Muscogee here in the Florida panhandle. However, I’m still investigating my paternal bloodline and, where Native American roots are involved, that is difficult terrain.  I hope to learn more about my heritage.

The Three Sisters story, told differently by each tribe, tells of three sisters who learn to depend on each other – that the other’s weakness was their strength.  The Southeastern tribes usually share a version like this:

A woman had three daughters who continuously fought.  She prayed and had a dream one night.  Each of her daughters represented a different seed.  She planted them all in the mound together, and they grew.  One became squash. One daughter became beans. The third daughter grew into corn.

Beans could only crawl on her belly on the ground. Corn grew tall, but her roots were susceptible to the sun. Squash was squat and sturdy.  Since they grew together in the same mound, beans entwined with corn and grew up her tall stalks.  Squash shaded the roots of both plants.  The mother shared her dream with the girls the following morning, and the girls got the message: You need each other. You are stronger when you work together.

While there is a definite moral to the story, Native Americans used this parable to remind their children how to grow these three staples which, to this day, are known as the Three Sisters.

Chayote Squash

Traditionally, Three Sisters Soup (or stew) uses winter squash and makes an appearance on Thanksgiving dinner tables and fall corn festivals.  However, I adore summer bounties. I also use more of southwest flavor combination (and chayote originates from Mexico and South America), so it’s not technically how my people probably would have prepared it, but the soul of the vegetable combination still resonates with me.

chayote squashFor a brief time, a unique variety of summer vegetables pop-up in the farmer’s markets. During the warmer months,  grocery store shelves beckon with fresh, sweet corn and unusual varieties of squash.

This soup recipe capitalizes on chayote, a rather bizarre looking squash.  It’s small, green, and resembles a pear.  The chayote, like most summer squash,  bears a mild flavor and combines well in many dishes. The seed is edible, but you can discard it if you prefer.

I found mine, individually wrapped in plastic bags, at Publix on the very top shelf above the zucchinis.  However, if you cannot locate it, and asking the produce manager bears no fruit (grin), feel free to substitute any other summer squash such as yellow squash or zucchini.

This hearty soup offers a bounty of protein, lots of fiber, and a host of nutrients.  It’s also delicious and beautifully colored.

Three Sisters Summer Soup

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

Three Sisters Stew is a hearty traditional Native American staple. This Three Sisters Summer soup varies a bit using summer squash instead of the traditional winter squashes.

This filling soup satisfies the tummy and the eyes with a bounty of color and flavor.

  • 3 green onions, chopped - separate whites and greens
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 Chili pepper, diced (more or less to taste)
  • 2 chayote squash, diced
  • 2 1/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 (14oz) can Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp salt

Microwave corn according to package directions (if frozen). If using fresh, microwave for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

While corn is cooking, spray a stock pot or large dutch oven with a bit of oil. Add white parts of green onions and saute for about a minute.

Add red onions, squash, and peppers. Saute for about 5 minutes.

Add in beans, tomatoes, salt and spices. Cover

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer till the vegetables are tender to your liking (about 10 minutes for my family).

Serve into bowls.

Top with corn and green onions.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 314
  • Fat: 1 grams

 

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Happily married to the love of my life. It's just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I'm loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.


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Alicia Taylor

Happily married to the love of my life. It’s just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I’m loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.

46 Comments

  • Heritage: Shiva Temple | What's (in) the picture?

    May 20, 2017 - 3:54 am

    […] Three Sisters Summer Soup • TaylorLife […]

  • LauraFunk

    July 14, 2016 - 12:37 pm

    Love the colors and ingredients in this recipe. I had no clue what Chayote squash was. I will have to check our farmers markets

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 14, 2016 - 3:03 pm

      I hope you find it 🙂 It’s tasty

  • Ashley Sparks Mullins

    July 12, 2016 - 7:46 pm

    This looks really tasty and super healthy. I’ll be sure to try this out!

  • crystal

    July 12, 2016 - 3:46 pm

    Having three children, I can relate to the mother in the parable. I need to share this lesson & soup with them next time they are fighting (won’t take long!!!).

  • Elizabeth O

    July 12, 2016 - 2:50 pm

    That three sisters soup sounds divine. I plan to try it out in my kitchen this week. Yummy!

  • Scott

    July 12, 2016 - 2:28 pm

    Pictures look fantastic, but don’t think I can find that type of squash around here. Any others you’d recommend as a substitute?

    • Alicia Taylor at Taylorlife.com

      July 12, 2016 - 3:14 pm

      Yep – like it says in the post – any summer squash would work. Zuchinni and yellow squash are both great options.

  • Nicole Escat

    July 12, 2016 - 10:10 am

    Oh my goodness! This is really tempting and for sure my family would love it! I’ll try your version.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:54 am

      Awesome! Be sure to let me know if you tried it!

  • Marcie W.

    July 12, 2016 - 7:56 am

    This soup seems chock full of deliciousness! I love the story behind it as well.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:54 am

      Thanks, Marci! I love culture – and knowing the story behind things makes them special.

  • Ellen Christian (@ellenblogs)

    July 12, 2016 - 7:56 am

    That sounds absolutely amazing. I don’t think I have ever seen a Chayote Squash in my grocery store before. I’m going to have to check again.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:55 am

      I had to look pretty hard. I found them on the very top shelf, wrapped in plastic bags. If your produce manager says they don’t have them, feel free to sub any squash.

  • April Hammond

    July 12, 2016 - 7:52 am

    My MIL found chayote squash growing in her backyard, lol. She didn’t know what it was and took it to the local farmers market. We love it! That soup sounds very tasty!

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:56 am

      That’s an awesome find! Be sure to let me know if you try it!

  • Kathleen Kennedy-Leon

    July 12, 2016 - 7:15 am

    always looking for easy different summer time meals. Appreciate the step by step instructions and pictures-hope mine comes out as good as yours! looks yummmmmy!

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:56 am

      It was definitely yummy 😀 Let me know how you like it.

  • Barb Webb

    July 12, 2016 - 6:40 am

    This looks like a very refreshing soup that takes full advantage of summer produce. My favorite type of recipe, yum!

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:57 am

      It’s also versatile – if you can’t find one type of squash – use another. That’s also handy. I love anything easy.

  • Erlene A

    July 11, 2016 - 11:59 pm

    Sounds like a delicious veggie soup recipe. My kids are soup eaters, so this is something they would enjoy.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:57 am

      You should definitely let them try it!

  • laura londergan

    July 11, 2016 - 11:59 pm

    this sounds like the perfect summer meal. It’s so hard coming up with new things and this would be a good one

  • Chelley @ A is for Adelaide

    July 11, 2016 - 11:39 pm

    What a delicious summer soup! I would love to make this- I know even my kids would love it! Great idea!

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 11:58 am

      Both my kids are grown, but I know what it’s like trying to satisfy children with picky tastebuds. Let me know how they liked it!

  • CourtneyLynne

    July 11, 2016 - 11:11 pm

    Omg can we say yum?!?! This looks absolutely delicious! I must give your recipe a try!!!

  • Tammilee Tips

    July 11, 2016 - 11:03 pm

    This looks delicious!! Being vegetarian I am always looking for new meatless recipes to try out.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 12:00 pm

      I was a vegetarian for 10 years – and became pescatarian about a year ago – after moving back to the coast. I eat mainly veggie, still, though. It’s my favorite way to eat, still – and I LOVE soup!

  • Samantha Pierce

    July 11, 2016 - 10:47 pm

    This looks like a really great soup, I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Valerie Gray (@valmg)

    July 11, 2016 - 9:02 pm

    I don’t think I have noticed chayote squash here, I wonder if we have it. I think my husband would really enjoy this recipe.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 12:00 pm

      If you can’t find it, sub any other squash.

  • Liz Mays

    July 11, 2016 - 6:56 pm

    I love the story behind the recipe. That makes the recipe even more special, but it’s clearly delicious regardless.

  • Dawn McAlexander

    July 11, 2016 - 4:39 pm

    That looks really tasty! I love salads, especially during the summer. They make for a nice, cool lunch!

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 12:02 pm

      Well, I hope you like soup, too. This is a soup recipe. If it comes out as a salad, something really didn’t go well.

  • Nellwyn Lampert (@cardinalpress)

    July 11, 2016 - 4:21 pm

    This looks super yummy! I love soup but I don’t usually think to make it in the summer. Will have to give this a try!

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 12:02 pm

      This one is so quick. I like light meals in the summer.

  • More Than A Mom Of 3 (@MoreThanAMomOf3)

    July 11, 2016 - 3:43 pm

    This looks delicious! So light for summer, Im going to add it to my menu next week.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 12, 2016 - 12:03 pm

      Be sure to let me know if you like it.

  • Neely (@Neelykins)

    July 11, 2016 - 2:14 pm

    I love a good loaded soup! This one sounds amazing!

  • Robin Rue

    July 11, 2016 - 2:09 pm

    That soup sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to make it 🙂

  • Melissa

    July 11, 2016 - 2:03 pm

    What a delicious summer soup idea, I am totally making this to see if I enjoy it as much as you do! It’s super easy to make too!

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 11, 2016 - 2:27 pm

      Be sure to let me know if you like it!

  • littlemisscant

    July 11, 2016 - 1:58 pm

    I have never seen that squash before, I am not even sure we have it here where I live.
    What a neat story..good luck on your search.

    • Alicia Taylor

      July 11, 2016 - 2:27 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I found it at Publix, but you can also substitute any other squash.

  • tamaralikecamera

    July 11, 2016 - 10:58 am

    It does look like a pear! I love summer soups, and especially ones with such history.

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