This delicious recipe is my spin on a Three Sisters Soup. Three Sisters refers to a companion planting technique used for planting beans, corn, and squash together. This easy, healthy, and delicious version uses crookneck squash, pinto beans, sweet corn, and the beautiful flavor of sage to tie it all together! This soup can be made in an Instant Pot pressure cooker or on the stovetop and it’s vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Read on to learn more about the Three Sisters, as well as find this wholesome Native American-inspired recipe!
What are The Three Sisters?
The “Three Sisters” refers to a companion planting technique attributed to the indigenous people of the Americas. It involves the planting of corn (maize), beans, and squash in such a way that they support one another. Corn provides a steady vertical structure for the beans to climb, and squash provides ground cover preventing weeds and keeping the soil out of too much sunlight. The three together provide a fertile and sustainable planting system as well as a wonderful food source of complex carbohydrates, protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients. Needless to say, it’s a beautiful & inspiring combination and mighty tasty when used in recipes together, too!
Is Soup Gluten Free?
Soup can be gluten-free, or it can contain gluten, it all depends on the ingredients used to make it. Some soups contain wheat-based broth, or even wheat-based ingredients (like pasta) added to them, which means they contain gluten.
Other soups are made with gluten-free ingredients such as chicken, beef, or vegetable broth and do not contain gluten. It is important to read the label or ask about the ingredients if you are trying to avoid gluten in your diet.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- High in protein, fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.
- Hearty, filling, and nourishing. Ultimate comfort food!
- Rich, flavorful, and slightly spicy with the use of dried rubbed sage and ancho chile powder. It tastes like a slow-cooked stew!
- Versatile (see notes below), and makes AMAZING leftovers.
- Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free.
- I recommend soaking the pinto beans for three hours prior for the best results, BUT in a pinch, dried pinto beans that have not been soaked WILL work without adjusting cooking time.
- Bean substitutions that will work without adjusting time: navy beans, Great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, and even chickpeas will work as a great substitute for the pinto beans.
- Instead of crookneck squash, zucchini can be used.
- Any fresh, frozen or canned corn variety works well in this recipe. If you use canned, I highly recommend an organic non-GMO version without the use of BPA lining in the cans or any added sugar or preservatives like this one.
- Instead of using fresh tomatoes, you can use 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes instead, or omit them altogether if you prefer.
- This recipe was created and tested using a 6-quart Instant Pot so I cannot attest to how well it works in an Instant Pot mini or 8-quart (though I think it will work just fine). If you try this recipe out in one of those, I would love to hear your experience down below in the comments!
- On a sugar-free diet? The honey can be omitted or you can replace it with a honey alternative such as this one.
- This recipe stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed throughout or by using the saute feature on your Instant Pot.
- This IP soup is great topped with pumpkin seeds, served with bread or crackers or simply AS IS!
More Vegan Soup Recipes
Three Sisters Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 to mato diced
- 3 yellow crookneck summer squash, chopped (larger pieces)
- 1 1/2 cups sweet corn frozen, fresh, or canned
- 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 red chili flakes
- 1 cup dry pinto beans soaked for 3 hours prior
- 4 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- sea salt to taste
- Optional to garnish: pumpkin seeds
Instant Pot Instructions
- Press the ‘Saute’ button on your Instant Pot. Add oil, pepper, garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in tomato, squash, and corn. Saute for 1 minute longer.
- Press ‘Cancel’. Stir in spices, broth/water, and pinto beans.
- Cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before opening the vent.
- Stir in maple syrup/honey and apple cider vinegar. Salt to taste.
- Optionally, garnish with pumpkin seeds before serving.
- In a large pot over medium heat add oil, pepper and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add tomato, squash, corn, sage, ancho chile powder, coriander, optional red chili flakes, beans, and broth/water.
- Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 50 minutes, or until beans are tender, adding more water/broth as needed to maintain soup consistency.
- Turn off heat, then stir in maple syrup/honey and vinegar. Salt to taste. Top with pumpkin seeds, if using, before serving.