A bowl of Three Sisters soup with a green cloth napkin on a dark wood surface.

Together, corn, beans and squash are known by many First Nations/Indigenous Peoples as The Three Sisters. This recipe was inspired by inspired by Haudenosaunee teachings and harvests at Kitchener’s White Owl’s community gardens


Yield/Servings 1.5-2 litres

Three Sisters soup

30 minPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

1 hr, 30 Total Time

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  • 3 tablespoon flavourless oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 minced garlic cloves, to taste (2-3 teaspoons)
  • 1 butternut squash (approx. 1 – 1.3 kg/ 2-3 lbs), or other pumpkin or squash suitable for soups, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3 cm (1") pieces
  • 1 L (4 cups) cold vegetable broth, plus more, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely minced chipotles in adobo sauce, to taste, optional
  • 225 g (1½ cups) lye corn (hominy) (one 425 g/15 oz tin, drained)
  • 225 g (1½ cups) rehydrated turtle, black, pinto or other bean – do not use green beans
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, to taste
  • Optional garnish: chopped coriander leaf, shelled toasted pumpkin seeds, or finely sliced green onion


  • In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté onions until golden. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add squash and turn pieces to coat them in onion and garlic.
  • Pour in enough broth to barely cover. Bring the pot up to a boil before turning down the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally as the pot slowly bubbles, until the squash is fork tender. This will take about 15 minutes).
  • Purée or mash the contents so it’s as smooth or chunky as you wish. Add more broth or water if it’s too thick. Stir in the maple syrup and chipotles (if using). Add the lye corn and beans. Simmer to heat through the vegetables, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes). Stir in the vinegar. Adjust seasoning and balance flavours to taste.

What’s a spoon or a cup?

To read the article that accompanies this recipe for Three Sisters soup, click here: Actively reclaiming Indigenous foodways in Waterloo Region.