Celebrating the Harvest- Three Sisters Salad

Celebrating the Harvest- Three Sisters Salad

Brooke McArthur

The Three Sisters in Indigenous agriculture and cuisine are corn, beans, and squash. Traditionally, these three are grown together as they all benefit from being companion planted together- the corn grows tall and provides structure for the beans to run up, the beans fix nitrogen into the soil for the corn and the squash, and the squash leaves provide ground cover for the beans and corn so they don't have to compete with other plants. They all get planted at the same time, and they all grow as seedlings at the same rate; then the corn shoots tall, the beans grow up the corn, and the squash plants grow out across the ground, perfectly timed to not hinder either of the others.

Being planted at the same time, these plants are also ready for harvest at roughly the same time. The nutrients in each of the parts we eat of these plants are also complementary to each other, which means that eating them together makes for a pretty well-rounded meal. Not to mention that they taste great!

This salad is pretty simple- fresh corn, fresh beans, fresh zucchini, and a nice and tangy vinaigrette. A perfect side salad for summer barbecues.


Corn kernels, fresh (from a few cobs, depending on how much salad you'd like to make)

Beans (green, yellow, dragon etc, whatever you prefer), cut into bite-sizes

Zucchini (1-2 long), cut into sections and halved into bite-sizes



Oil, 1 cup

Vinegar, 3/4 cup

Salt (to taste)

Pepper (to taste)

Fresh lime juice (from a few wedges, to taste)

Sugar, 1/2 cup (or sweetener of choice, to taste)



1. Boil desired amount of corn cobs in pot of hot water (enough to make them tender). Strain and put aside to cool. OR heat corn in husks on barbecue. remove husks and char slightly (for more earthy flavour)

2. Blanch desired string beans in water, put into ice bath and then strain and let cool.

3. Cut ends off zucchinis, cut them in half lengthwise (and again if desired). Then slice into wedges. Pieces should be bite-sized semi-circles or triangles. Put pieces into mixing bowl. OR roast cut-up zucchini at 350 degrees farenheit in the oven coated lightly with oil, salt, and pepper.

4. Cut kernels off corn cobs and put into a mixing bowl. Cut beans into bite-sized pieces and put into mixing bowl.

5. In a separate bowl, combine oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, lime juice, sugar, and any other herbs, spices, or seasonings you would like. Whisk until combined.

6. Pour vinaigrette over the vegetables and mix. Serve room temperature or chilled. Can garnish with cilantro or fresh parsley.

PRO-TIP: Don't throw away the kernel-less corn cobs! They can be saved and boiled to make stock for dishes like corn chowder!


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