3 Sisters Salad - recipe by Melissa Bernstein

3 Sisters Powerhouse

Imagine a beautiful combination of three powerful foods that have vivid color and are full of fiber, antioxidants and protein. Then layer in dark greens, and you have a perfect combination for a fabulous, nutritional salad for your brain and body. 

A staple among the Costa Rican indigenous people and Native Americans, the trio planted near each other complement their growth and enrich the soil too.  

The 3 Sisters Salad (and other recipes featuring the 3 sisters) supply a powerhouse of nutrients. Through complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and complementary amino acids, they form a complete protein!

Be sure to add this power packed recipe to your Power of 5 eating menu each week for the health of it!

To Healthy Cooking & Eating for a Power of 5 Life,


3 Sisters Salad

A superpowered salad filled with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals – combining these 3 ingredients makes a complete protein.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 92 kcal


  • 2 lbs Butternut squash Cubed (may use winter squash)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil, optional If not using oil, bake whole squash, seed, then cube.
  • 1 15.5oz Black beans, or beans of your choice Drain and rinse with cold water. May use other beans such as cannellini, kidney, pinto, or even green lentils.
  • 2 cups Fresh corn kernels 3-4 ears of corn, roasted then cut off the cob
  • ½ Small red onion sliced (sweet yellow onions may be used)
  • 3 cups Curly kale, or other varieties such as Lacinato modify using Arugula or Spinach
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste
  • Black and/or cayenne pepper a dash or two, if desired


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Squash — Wash whole butternut squash, halve it, and scoop out the seeds (save those for later to roast — delicious). Bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, based on the size of your squash. Cook until golden brown and soft. Once cooled, cut into cubes.
  • Corn — cook the corn on the cob: Boil in 8qt pot for 5-7 min. If you are using canned corn, drain and rinse.
  • Beans — Rinse and drain well. Pat dry to remove excess liquid.
  • Red onion – Slice thinly.
  • Gently toss together the beans, corn, onion, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and cubed squash in a large bowl; cover and chill 2 to 3 hours.
  • Kale/Greens — Layer greens of your choice on the bottom of serving bowls, place tossed mixture on top, and enjoy!
  • For an added kick (and health benefit) — sprinkle a dash of black and cayenne pepper onto your serving and give it an easy toss.


Melissa’s Modifications

I just love the 3 Sisters Salad … its freshness, versatility and superfood combination for body and brain health fosters longevity. You can combine these 3 ingredients to make other recipes as well — soups and stews that offer the same powerhouse of nutrition. 
Recap of modifications:
Beans – Black, kidney, cannellini, lentils, garbanzo, or pinto. You can combine your 2 cups of beans making a trio of beans for your salad.
Squash – Butternut or winter squash baked in the oven or roasted on a sheet pan using olive oil or olive oil spray.
Dark Greens – Kale, arugula, and/or spinach 
Corn – Prepare  corn on the cob roasted or boiled than cut off the cob, or use canned.
However you prepare this delicious dish, continue to make it each week as part of your healthy Power of 5 menu.  


Serving: 2cupsCalories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 18.2gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gFiber: 3.4gSugar: 4.6g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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