Many of you are already planning your Thanksgiving dinner with relatives and friends. But it’s not too late to invite the Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash. Three Sisters recipes pay respect to a wonderful Native American tradition, are satisfying and filled with delicious flavors—and can easily replace turkey and other animal products on your Thanksgiving table.
Centuries before Europeans crossed the Atlantic, Native Americans developed an agricultural system for growing corn, beans, and squash symbiotically with no fertilizer and almost no weeding. The corn is a trellis for the bean stalks, beans provide nitrogen for the soil, and the squash’s leaves cover the ground and protect from pests.
When the pilgrims arrived, the Three Sisters was already a 300-year-old tradition in northeastern North America. The system had been used for much longer in other parts of the continent. Indigenous nations from North and Central America found endless ways to turn these simple foods into delicious and healthful feasts.