Three sisters tacos

Have you heard of the three sisters? It’s a gardening technique used by native Americans. First they plant corn. When the corn is established, they plant beans that climb the strong corn stems and steady the corn in strong winds. Lastly, they plant pumpkins that spread across the ground, preventing weeds. The three sisters are also nutritionally balanced. I knew I wanted to use the three sisters as the basis for a vegetarian taco. What I came up with was delicious, nutritious and incredibly satisfying. The three sisters take centre stage.

I slow cooked the beans with taco seasoning and mulato chilli. They provided a rich and meaty base for the taco, to which I added the sweet crunch of my pumpkin chips. I was lucky to get some lovely fresh corn cobs. By cooking them on my chargrill pan, the kernels bought a burst of fresh, sightly smoky goodness to the tacos. Lastly, I topped the tacos with fresh coriander for greenery, a squeeze of lime for zing and some beautiful fresh ricotta. You could use sour cream if you’d prefer, or soy cream cheese if you want these to be vegan friendly.


1 cup dried red kidney beans
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Mulato chilli powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup tomato passata
½ salt


3 corn cobs*
8-12 tortillas
1 cup pumpkin chips
1 cup ricotta, sour cream, or soy cream cheese
1 lime
½ cup fresh coriander leaves

*if it’s not corn season, you can use a can of corn kernels instead of chargrilling the fresh corn.

Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain the beans. Gently fry the onion in the oil. When the onion is transparent, add the garlic, herbs, spices and pepper. Do not add the salt. Gently fry the spice mix. When it’s fragrant add the soaked beans and tomato passata. Cover and gently simmer until the beans are tender. Add a little water if it gets too dry. Season with salt and set aside.

Preheat a chargrill. Remove the hairs from the corn, and recover the cobs with some of the corn husks. Grill the corn till it’s cooked, with some chargrill marks. When the corn is cool enough to handle, slice off the kernels.

To make a taco, heat tortilla in a dry pan. When it is golden on both sides, transfer it to a plate. Top with some of the beans, grilled corn kernels and pumpkin chips. Then add some ricotta, sour cream, or soy cheese. Top with fresh coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

Three sisters taco

Three sisters taco

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3 Responses to Three sisters tacos

  1. lizzygoodthings says:

    Sounds delicious… you sure do enjoy your tacos : )

  2. frankieandgiuseppe says:

    Can’t resist a recipe with a story. Sounds like a very sensible gardening technique!

  3. nice and comforting dish!!!
    my Indonesian licking ask for chilies on it….

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