From Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen—Three Sisters Casserole

A great festive dish for your holiday gathering

Three Sisters Casserole with polenta topping

Three Sisters Casserole with polenta topping

This cozy recipe is made with traditional Native American ingredients. The term “three sisters” comes from the practice of growing beans, corn and squash. This recipe is a festive dish for a party. You can freeze it or make it fresh.

This recipe makes two 8 x 11  dishes. Cut the recipe in half if you only want one or make both and freeze one!

Ingredients—Polenta Topping

  • 3 cups yellow cornmeal or corn grits
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large peppers, any mix of red, yellow and/or orange, diced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 14.5 oz low sodium diced tomatoes or 4-5 large tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 14.5 oz low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed or fresh beans (you may substitute the variety of bean)
  • 1 can of low sodium corn, drained and rinsed or frozen
  • One 14 oz. bag of spinach


  1. To make Polenta Topping: Whisk together cornmeal, chili powder, salt and 9 cups water in double boiler, or in a large metal bowl over barely simmering water. Cook until polenta is thick and stiff, stirring a few times. This may take as along as an hour depending on your stove. If you choose to make the topping using the corn grits, follow the directions on the package. Remove from heat.
  2. To make Filling: Preheat oven to 375F. Add water or vegetable broth to large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, adding liquid as needed to prevent it from burning, cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened.
  3. Add the peppers, and cook about 10 minutes more, stirring often.
  4. Stir in the squash, tomatoes, garlic, coriander and cumin. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup of water and the salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, partly covered, 15-20 minutes, or until squash is soft.
  5. Add beans and corn, and cook 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  6. Stir in the spinach, cover and let wilt for about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Coat baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread enough of polenta over bottom of dish to cover. Add squash mixture over top. Smooth polenta over top, covering the squash mixture.
  8. Score casserole into squares with knife. Bake each dish about 45 minutes or until heated through and top is golden brown.
  9. Enjoy!

For a “printer-friendly” one-pager, ideal on your fridge with a magnet—Just click here for a PDF.

With love from Lisa

With love from Lisa

Click here for the page containing all recipes.

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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1 Response to From Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen—Three Sisters Casserole

  1. Sal Liggieri says:

    Lisa’s dress certainly does not look like a typical chef’s apron.

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