Delicious & Easy

Three Sisters Salad

Known as the Three Sisters, beans, corn, and squash are the foundation of Indigenous American agriculture and cuisine. They grow well together, like sisters, in a garden and offer a perfect balance of nutritional benefits as the base of many Indigenous recipes. This version of a Three Sisters Salad created by Holly Haines features black and white tepary beans.

Three Sisters Salad recipe originally published with What's Smart About Smart Food? in issue 71.

Cover image by Haley Hazell for Edible San Diego.

Ingredients for

Three Sisters Salad


1 cup tepary beans, soaked overnight

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 jalapeño, seeded, stemmed, and minced

Kosher salt to taste

8 ounces cherry tomatoes

3 ears corn

1 pound summer squash (zucchini, pattypan, yellow crookneck, starburst)

1⁄4 cup roasted pepitas

Torn mint and cilantro leaves, for serving

Instructions for

Three Sisters Salad

Holly Haines garnishes a Three Sisters Salad with flower petals.

Cook the beans:

Place tepary beans in a large bowl with enough water to cover by a few inches. Soak overnight at room temperature.

Drain the beans, discard the liquid, and add the beans to a large pot with enough water to cover by a few inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours. Drain the beans and set aside.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the vegetables and make the dressing.

Make the dressing:

In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, lime juice, and honey. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Stir in jalapeño. Season with salt to taste.

Marinate tomatoes:

Cut smaller tomatoes in half and quarter larger ones. Sprinkle with about 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Set aside.

Char the corn:

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, place corn in the skillet and let cook, without moving, until charred in spots, about 3 minutes. Turn and repeat on all sides. Remove corn from skillet, allow to cool, then cut the kernels away from the cob with a sharp knife.

Cut the squash:

Using a knife or a mandoline, slice longer pieces of squash lengthwise into thin ribbons. Slice smaller, round squash into thin coins.


Layer half of the beans with ribbons of squash on a serving platter. Spoon marinated tomatoes over the top, followed by the corn and the remaining beans. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and garnish with pepitas and torn herbs.

Frequently asked

Questions About This Recipe


Notes & Thoughts