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Three Sisters Chili

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(7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes (not including soaking time)
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegan, gluten-free chili is inspired by the story of the “Three Sisters,” the Native American agricultural tradition of planting beans, squash, and corn together.



  • 1 pound red beans (i.e., kidney, small red, cranberry), dried
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube (gluten-free)
  • 1 small acorn squash, peeled, cubed (about 2 ¼ cups)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries (available at spice shops or online), ground using mortar and pestle
  • 2 teaspoons ground, dried sage
  • ½1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper (according to taste preference)
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • Sea salt (optional)


  • Fresh tarragon, mint or sage, as desired


  1. Soak beans overnight in water.
  2. Drain and place beans in a large pot. Add fresh water, vegetable bouillon cube, squash, onion, garlic, celery, pepper, bay leaves, juniper berries, sage, chili pepper, tarragon, and corn. Stir well, cover, and bring to a heat. Simmer over medium-low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. May need to replace water lost to evaporation.
  3. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for an additional 15-30 minutes, until thick and beans are tender. May add additional water lost to evaporation as needed—should make thick, stew-like consistency. Add fresh mint and stir well. Remove bay leaves. Season with salt, if desired. May serve with fresh tarragon, mint or sage, as desired.


Instant Pot Directions: Skip step 1. Follow steps 2-3, placing all ingredients, except garnish, in the container of the Instant Pot. Press “Bean/Chili” setting. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions. Garnish as desired with tarragon, mint, or sage. Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Directions: Soak beans in water overnight as in step 1. Follow step 2-3; draining beans and placing them in slow cooker container, along with all ingredients (except for garnish). Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-12 hours until tender. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions. Garnish as desired with tarragon, mint, or sage. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 216
  • Sugar: 9 G
  • Sodium: 233 mg
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Keywords: soup, vegan chili, healthy vegan chili