Fall Casino Food: Three Sisters Stew

Three Sisters Stew is a delicious and healthful combination of winter squash, sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers and more–clean out that fall produce!

Three SIsters Stew

Three Sisters Stew

Every year, fall rushes in–a brilliant wash of light and color.  The change from summer’s verdant greens to a kaleidoscope of hues appears not only in the trees but also the bountiful harvest. Greens from peppers, yellow from corn, red from tomatoes, orange from squash…  And today’s “Three Sisters” stew has it all! 

fresh Three Sisters Stew Ingredients

Some of the fresh Three Sisters Stew Ingredients

The inspiration for this comes from an unusual source.  My husband was invited to a tech seminar at a local casino.  Although tech conference in Vegas are common, I had never heard of one associated with a casino here.   But they are famous for their food (always a lure at a conference), so what the heck!  Unlike  glitzy Vegas, casinos in the Midwest tend to be associated with native American culture and food.  Perfect for fall menus! 

Three Sisters Stew beginning to cook

Three Sisters Stew beginning to cook–eat a rainbow!

The original recipe for Three Sisters Stew comes (by way of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel) from a local casino’s chef.  The first time  I made it, I used a few pre-packaged/canned ingredients for convenience and the second I went completely local, from scratch.  It really made a dent in my bulging CSA box! 

A bite of Three Sisters Stew

A bite of Three Sisters Stew

The combination of beans, corn and squash is traditional in native American gardening.  According to the Native Tech website, the three plants work together for a better garden.  “The corn stalk serves as a pole for the beans, the beans help to add the nitrogen to the soil that the corn needs, and the squash provides a ground cover of shade that helps the soil retain moisture.”   (thanks Tammy for the tip).  Nutritionally a combo of beans and corn combine to form a complete protein and the addition of squash and peppers supercharges the vitamin content. 

Like in my skinny harvest dip, the blend of sweet and a little heat made a delicious combo.  My visiting oldest daughter even asked to take some home!   

Add cilantro last (but good without) too

Add cilantro last (but good without too)

Three Sisters Stew
Serves 8
Three Sisters Stew is a delicious and healthful combination of winter squash, sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers and more--clean out that garden!
Write a review
Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
160 calories
31 g
0 g
3 g
7 g
0 g
297 g
723 g
6 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 160
Calories from Fat 23
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 723mg
Total Carbohydrates 31g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Sugars 6g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  2. • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. • 1 medium onion, diced
  4. • 1 medium green pepper, chopped roughly
  5. • 2-3 cups pumpkin or winter squash cubes (1 butternut squash or 2 smaller squash)
  6. • 1 can (14.5 to 16 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice (or about 1 quart fresh)
  7. • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped mild green chiles (or 1-2 finely chopped jalepeno peppers)
  8. • 2 cups cooked black beans (if using canned, rinse and drain)
  9. • 2 cups corn kernels (2-3 ears of fresh corn)
  10. • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  11. • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  12. • 1 teaspoons salt
  13. • 1 teaspoon pepper
  14. • 2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  15. • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a large pot, heat oil. Add garlic, onion, green pepper and squash and sauté a few minutes over medium heat. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, beans, corn, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until hot.
  2. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired (you can also add extra broth if it is very thick). Add a spoonful of cilantro to individual bowls just before serving.
  1. Although the vitamin A content of this dish is high, the recipe app I am using is likely overestimating it.
Art of Natural Living https://artofnaturalliving.com/

12 thoughts on “Fall Casino Food: Three Sisters Stew

  1. David

    Having worked with the Native American community in New York, the three sisters reference made me smile with great memories of those wonderful, American ingredients. Your stew looks beautiful and healthy – and such a welcome harbinger for autumn!

    1. Inger Post author

      I was excited to find such a fine mix of seasonal ingredients David. Belonging to two CSAs does have its challenges in the bountiful fall!

  2. Juliana

    Inger, this is such a hearty stew…I like the idea of pumpkin/squash and beans…this stew would sure make a great meal.
    Thanks for the inspiration…have a wonderful week ahead 🙂

  3. grace

    i’d definitely opt for winter squash over pumpkin for something like this, but that’s just my preference. i love the other ingredients in this stew–dishes like this are part of the reason i enjoy fall so much!

  4. Sue

    The Three Sisters Story
    Modern day agriculturists know it as the genius of the Indians, who inter-planted pole beans and squash with corn, using the strength of the sturdy corn stalks to support the twining beans and the shade of the spreading squash vines to trap moisture for the growing crop. Research has further revealed the additional benefits of this “companion planting.” The bacterial colonies on the bean roots capture nitrogen from the air, some of which is released into the soil to nourish the high nitrogen needs of the corn. To Native Americans, however, the meaning of the Three Sisters runs deep into the physical and spiritual well-being of their people. Known as the “sustainers of life,” the Iroquois consider corn, beans and squash to be special gifts from the Creator. The well-being of each crop is believed to be protected by one of the Three Sister Spirits. Many an Indian legend has been woven around the “Three Sisters” – sisters who would never be apart from one another- sisters who should be planted together, eaten together and celebrated together.

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks for your insights Sue! I love being connected to something like this…

    1. Inger Post author

      A nice bread is probably all you would need Nola. If you wanted to get super healthy perhaps add a salad. Isn’t it nice to have some easy meal options?!

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