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This Three Sisters Stew recipe is easy to make, nutritious and delicious. The Three Sisters are corn, beans and squash, which have been planted together for centuries by Native peoples and have spiritual significance for some. In New Mexico, it is often said that a healthy environment means a healthy culture, which leads to healthy people, and the way these vegetables grow in the garden exemplifies this notion of interconnectedness. The beans climb the cornstalks, the squash leaves shade the soil, limiting weed growth, and the beans fix nitrogen into the soil as well as help stabilize the cornstalks. This stew is perfect for a cold winter day, and wonderful as an encore the next day if you have any leftovers. This recipe is part of our spotlight, There's a Movement to Revitalize Indigenous Cuisines and Knowledge—Here's Why That Matters.

EatingWell.com, November 2022


Credit: Nate Lemuel

Recipe Summary

30 mins
50 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes more. Add tomatoes and their juice (if using whole tomatoes, break them up as you add them); cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture returns to a simmer, about 4 minutes. 

  • Stir in kidney beans, pinto beans, corn and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in chile powder, salt, oregano, thyme and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.

  • Serve topped with parsley and/or microgreens, if desired.


New Mexican red chiles have moderate heat and rich flavor. Look for the chile powder in the specialty-spice section of large supermarkets or online at penzeys.com.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Nutrition Facts

1 1/2 cups
166 calories; protein 8g; carbohydrates 30g; dietary fiber 9g; sugars 7g; fat 3g; poly fat 1g; vitamin a iu 378IU; vitamin c 33mg; folate 55mg; vitamin k 2mg; sodium 346mg; calcium 49mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 53mg; phosphorus 148mg; potassium 425mg; zinc 1mg; niacin equivalents 2mg; selenium 1mcg.