This hearty Three Sisters Stew is loaded with tender squash, protein-packed beans, and fresh corn. It's delicious comfort food, and makes a perfect vegan main dish for Thanksgiving too!
Here's a great main dish option for Thanksgiving dinner. This stew is somewhat like a chili, though more about the squash than beans.
In Native American mythology, squash, corn, and beans are known as the "three sisters" — the very crops that the harvest festival of Thanksgiving is meant to celebrate!
To make meal prep quick and easy, you can bake your pumpkin or squash a day in advance. Then the whole dish comes together in a snap! This makes it a great dish to serve when you're entertaining.
If you're short on time or simply can't deal with chopping and peeling pumpkin or squash, you can use pre-peeled and cut butternut squash. In the Fall and Winter seasons, it's easy to find in the fresh produce department of most supermarkets or natural foods stores.
More Vegan Recipes
If you love this Three Sisters Stew, be sure to browse my full collection of vegan soups, stews, and chilis. Or check out these other delicious vegan ideas:
- Best Vegan Thanksgiving Main Dishes
- Old Fashioned Vegan Stew
- Creamy Vegan Pasta and Butternut Squash Casserole
Recipes photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
“Three Sisters” Stew
- 1 large butternut squash or sugar pumpkin, about 2 pounds; or use pre-cut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion medium, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bell pepper medium, green or red, cut into short narrow strips
- 14 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes canned, with liquid
- 2 ½ cups canned pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 2 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 1 hot chili pepper fresh, seeded and minced; or substitute one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder or mesquite seasoning, add more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, fresh, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove stem from the pumpkin or squash and cut in half lengthwise. Cover with aluminum foil and place the halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. If your knives aren't sharp enough, just wrap the pumpkin or squash in foil and bake it whole. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until you can pierce through with a knife, with a little resistance.
- When cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds and fibers (clean the seeds for roasting, if you'd like). Slice and peel, then cut into large dice.
- Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the pumpkin or squash and all the remaining ingredients except the last 2, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If time allows, let the stew stand for 1 to 2 hours before serving, then heat through as needed. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. The stew should be thick and very moist but not soupy; add additional stock or water if needed. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Scoop into bowls to serve.