Three Sisters Chili

Photo: Sharon Palmer

If you can believe it, Thanksgiving is less than a week away. This weekend is the calm before the storm, and what better way to savor the pre-holiday serene than enjoying a warm and comforting bowl of chili?

Sharon Palmer’s Three Sisters Chili is the perfect recipe to try this weekend as you’re prepping for travel, spending time with relatives, cooking a five-course meal, and/or hosting a holiday get together!

And if you have any doubts about navigating the upcoming holidays as a vegan, make sure you check out Kim Sujovolsky’s video, Tips for Enjoying the Holidays as a Vegan, for various tips and tricks.

Three Sisters Chili

Yields 10 servings


  • 1 pound red beans—i.e., kidney, small red, cranberry, dried
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 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
  • 2 teaspoons ground, dried sage
  • ½-1 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 and sage, if desired


  1. Soak beans overnight in water.
  2. Drain and place beans in a large pot. Add fresh water (4 cups), 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 boil. Lower to medium-low heat and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. You 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. Add fresh mint and stir well. Remove bay leaves. Season with salt, if desired. May serve with fresh tarragon and sage if desired.