My first go at college resulted in a Cultural Anthropology degree. I loved all my classes, but after four years, I graduated college without a clue on how to use my degree! (sorry mom and dad!)
What to do? Go back to school!
That’s when I decided I wanted to become a dietitian. I know, the two may not seem to be related, but they are in many ways! Every culture revolves around food. Every region of the earth takes pride in their distinct style of cooking. Food has played a fundamental role in the developing of nations through production, trade and social interaction. We identify through food, we celebrate with food, we base our religion around food. It’s just another reason why “we are what we eat!”
One of my favorite classes was on the Native American cultures and their diet. This is where I learned of The Three Sisters; corn, squash and beans. Planted together, these three flourish. The corn helps support the pole beans grow up towards the sun. The pole bean is a legume that fixes nitrogen in the soil. The squash grows around the corn and bean plant protecting them from predators. It’s a technique called “companion planting,” which has been practiced by the Native Americans for thousands of years. Not only do these three help one another grow, combined together these three provide all essential amino acids creating a balanced meal!
Three Sisters Salad
1-2 cups roasted butternut squash, cubed
1/2 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 cups arugula
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon honey or agave
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
-Cube butternut squash, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and bake on 400 degrees until tender, ~20 minutes. Let cool.
-Assemble salad and top with balsamic vinaigrette.