Traditional indigenous foods such as corn, beans and squash — known as "the three sisters" — are not just good for the environment, but also for our health.
Here & Now's Deepa Fernandes speaks with Mariah Gladstone, host of the online cooking show "Indigikitchen," about the benefits to infusing our diets with pre-contact foods. The show's intrepid staff also try their hand at some recipes.
Recipes from 'Indigikitchen'
Three sisters enchilada bake
- 1 can of black beans or pinto beans, drained
- 1 winter squash (acorn or butternut work well)
- Corn tortillas
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce (store-bought is fine)
- Optional: ground buffalo meat
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove seeds and peel of winter squash and cut into 1-inch cubes. Simmer in a pot of water until fork tender. (If using ground bison, brown in a pan to ensure it is fully cooked.)
- Drain water from winter squash and in a large bowl, mix with beans, cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder.
- Line 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and lay down a layer of corn tortillas. you may need to fold some in half to create a relatively even line around the edges.
- Spoon in bean and squash filling and cover with another layer of tortillas. Pour enchilada sauce over the entire dish, working to ensure every part of the tortillas has sauce on it.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.
Sunflower maple cookies
We can talk about sunflowers as the 4th sister, and this is a super easy recipe. You don't even need to cook them if you want to keep them as no-bakes.
- 1 ¾ cups sunflower seed flour
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- Avocado oil for pan
- Use coffee grinder, food processor, mortar and pestle, or a Ziploc bag and a hammer or rolling pin to grind raw sunflower seeds without their shell into flour.
- Mix ingredients thoroughly and form cookie patties.
- Heat avocado oil in pan on stovetop on medium heat and toast each cookie until golden brown on both sides.
- Eat by themselves or serve with mashed fresh berries.
Maple cedar tea
- Cedar leaves/needles (I'm not sure where you're located, but there are tons of white cedar in New England or you could use anything in the Juniperus genus. If you can't locate one of those, you could do a white pine tea or spruce tea instead).
- Maple syrup
- Rinse cedar needles and then simmer in hot water for 30 minutes.
- Sweeten tea with maple syrup to taste.
This segment aired on June 13, 2023.