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Recipe: Three Sisters Corn Soup

Wooden bowl of

Three Sisters Corn Soup

By Rebecca Webster, Ph.D., Seed Savers Exchange board member

“This soup is a great vegan/vegetarian option that takes advantage of all the nutritional benefits of eating corn, beans, and squash together with other nutritious vegetables,” says Rebecca.


1 pound of raw white corn

1 cup of dry beans

4 cups of winter squash

1 tomato

1 onion

2 celery stalks/pieces

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon cumin

2 parsnips

4 carrots

2 cartons of vegetable stock

Edit: 1 cup of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to garnish


The day before, prepare the following items:

  • Hull one pound of raw white corn in hardwood ashes. (Visit the Ukwakhwa YouTube channel for an instructional video, “Hulling White Corn,” that explains this process.) Refrigerate overnight. 
  • Cook the beans on low in a small crock-pot overnight, making sure there is at least three inches of water covering the beans. 
  • Cook the squash by cubing it up and cooking it in a crock-pot on low overnight.

The day of, finish the soup:

  • Purée tomato, onion, celery, and garlic, and place the purée into a cooking pot. Add the basil and cumin and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add one carton of vegetable stock to the cooking pot.
  • Chop up the parsnips and carrots and add them to the cooking pot. Simmer until tender. This can take an hour or more.
  • Purée the squash. Add purée to the cooking pot. Add white corn and beans to the cooking pot. Add the rest of the vegetable stock, adding more or less for desired thickness.
  • Simmer until heated through.
  • Edit: Add 1 cup of pepitas as a garnish

Note: An instructional video on how to make this soup can be found on the Ukwakhwa YouTube channel.

Rebecca Webster, SSE board member. Rebecca Webster is an enrolled citizen of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin. She serves as assistant professor at the University of Minnesota–Duluth’s American Indian Studies Department. In addition to her academic interests, Rebecca grows heirloom traditional foods with her family on their 10-acre farmstead Ukwakhwa: Tsinu Niyukwayayʌthoslu (“our foods: where we plant things”) and with Ohe·láku (“among the cornstalks”), a co-op of Oneida families that grow Iroquois white corn together.


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