Three Sisters planting is an indigenous agricultural tradition involving corn, beans, and squash. These three ingredients make a delicious harvest bowl perfect for holiday meals!
I love learning about cultures and traditions, and this harvest bowl recipe has a strong tradition behind it. In order to use the three sisters planting method, corn, beans, and squash are planted in that order in mounds of dirt. This allows each plant to grow healthy and strong and work together in pollination and support. The beans actually grow up the corn stalks for support, how neat is that? Each one works together to grow and that’s why these crops are some of the most important in Native tradition.
These harvest bowls bring together these crops with warm, comforting flavors. Each ingredient is a different color, too, which makes for a gorgeous presentation. This would be perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish or for any holiday gathering. The flavors are neutral enough to fit with any main dish!
Ingredients for Three Sisters Harvest Bowl
These ingredients grow well together and they are the perfect flavor combination. If you haven’t purchased hominy before, it’s usually with canned beans.
- Acorn Squash: This is a quintessential “winter squash.”
- Hominy: This canned maize is large and chewy.
- Black Beans: Nothing is simpler than opening a can of beans!
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is the perfect fall sweetener.
- Mint & Sage: These pair nicely for major herb flavor!
What exactly is hominy? It’s field corn (also called maize) that has the hull stripped off. Once cooked, it is large, puffy, and chewy. It actually almost looks like popcorn! A can of hominy can be used just like a can of corn or beans, like in a succotash. Ground hominy is also what is known as masa for making tortillas.
How to make Three Sisters Harvest Bowl
This is such a quick recipe since some of the ingredients come in cans! It’s great for whipping up on the stove while the oven is filled with a delicious main protein.
Step 1: Cut Squash
Slice the acorn squash in half, stem to stern. Scoop out the seeds and then slice into 1/2-inch-thick half moons.
Step 2: Cook Squash
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Cook the squash and shallot until the squash is fork tender. You can add the shallot a bit after the squash so it doesn’t burn. If it does cook too quickly, add a splash of water and turn down the heat.
Step 3: Assemble
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cover to heat through. This should only take a few minutes until you are ready to serve!
More Corn: In a pinch, if you can’t find hominy, OR you just love corn, feel free to substitute or add in a can of corn or frozen corn.
Different Squash: While I love the presentation of acorn squash in this recipe, you could use almost any type of winter squash here!
Make Ahead: Feel free to use leftover roasted squash, or saute it ahead on purpose! This is the longest portion of the recipe and you can have it ready to combine and reheat.
Soak It Up: If you avoid canned goods or always keep a stash of cooked beans in the freezer, you can always cook your beans from dried.
All in the family
This comforting side dish will add lots of color to the plate no matter what you serve it with.
- Whole Roasted Cauliflower is a stunning centerpiece that will roast in the oven while you use the stove for the Harvest Bowl.
- Creamy Pumpkin Pasta will bring a wonderful creamy mouthfeel next to the chewy side.
- Mushroom Meatloaf is a family favorite.
- 2 Tbsp oil 30 mL
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 2 cups cooked hominy
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup 30 mL
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
- Cut Squash: Cut squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Place each half flat side down then cut into ½ inch thick slices to create half moon shapes.
- Cook Squash: Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add squash and shallots. Cover and cook, flipping acorn squash occasionally, until squash is fork tender, about 10 minutes. If shallot begins to burn, add a splash of water to the pan and reduce heat.
- Assemble: Stir in all remaining ingredients. Cover and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until everything is hot.