Three Sisters SoupExecutive chef Paolo Vasapolli provides the recipe for the soup served during last week’s dedication of Turtle Island Walk.

Chef shares secret of sisters soup

Last week’s community event to celebrate the grand opening of Turtle Island Walk had one special highlight — First Nations Three Sisters Soup.

Event-goers raved about the hearty dish, named for three foods traditionally grown and used together by First Nations people — beans, corn, and squash — in spite of soaring first day of fall temperatures.

“The Three Sisters Soup was such a big hit at the Turtle Island Walk event that we wanted to share the recipe with the whole university community,” said UWindsor executive chef Paolo Vasapolli. “Now that cool days are finally here, it’s soup season and this is a great recipe to try on those fall evenings.”

Three Sisters Soup


  • 3/4 to 1 cup dried pinto (or other) beans, soaked overnight in 4 cups water
  • 1 cup of canned red kidney beans
  • 1  butternut squash
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup corn off the cob (or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Bake squash halves, cut side up, in a 375-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Heat butter or oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and a pinch of salt and sauté over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add carrot, garlic, and celery, and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, scoop cooked squash out of shell. Add squash to onion mixture and mix well, smoothing out any large lumps. Add the drained red kidney beans.
  5. Add veg stock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and add beans, corn and thyme. Simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Vasapolli says the recipe serves four and recommends accompanying it with a crusty bread.