There was a restaurant near my old job called Moxee. It recently closed (shame, it was really good!), and they had a dish called the "Three Sisters." To be 100% honest with you, I never had ordered it because 1) beans cause indigestion for me - and I didn't want to eat them at work and 2) typically work was paying, and I went for a higher priced item, like a blackened salmon salad. That being said, this was a favorite for a lot of my colleagues (apparently they didn't have the same issue with beans... *side eye*). I was asked recently to try and recreate it. The humor in all of this is that I had never eaten it. So I basically I took the ingredients and made my own #shedapproved version.
But first, I was intrigued, I hadn't heard of the "three sisters" before this, so I did a quick google, and I was fascinated by my findings. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, apparently, the three sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: winter squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans.
"The three crops are planted close together and benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, helping prevent the establishment of weeds. The squash leaves also act as a 'living mulch', creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Corn, beans, and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and all eight essential amino acids, allowing most Native American tribes to thrive on a plant-based diet."
I mean, I don't know about you, but I think that this is pretty much the most amazing thing ever. How cool that the Native Americans figured this out: 1) From an agricultural standpoint and 2) from a biological, nutritional perspective. This inspired me to do the dish justice. I got to work.
Here was the menu description: "Vegetarian hash with roasted butternut squash, corn, and pinto beans (3 sisters) topped with sweet peppers, onions and a light roasted garlic sauce with a grilled herb polenta cake."
Well, no knock to polenta, but it's not shed approved, so it was out. To give homage to our South American Native Americans (hello Incans!), I thought quinoa could be a good substitute. As I had never made a "quinoa cake" before, I looked to pinterest for inspiration. It did not disappoint. I found a recipe from the Domestic Superhero that seemed would work perfectly. There was a catch, she had used breadcrumbs in her recipe (not Shed approved) – would it still work? Well spoiler alert: it worked just fine without them. Didn't miss them either!
Also, I made one other big change to the original menu item - the light roasted garlic sauce became tzatziki. This gives it a bit of a mediterranean flair (I'm Lebanese, what can I say, can't help myself!). The lemon zest and feta were just asking for the tzatziki. While these vibes seem to not be the same, I can tell you, the flavors complimented each other beautifully.
The rest of the recipe seems to speak for itself. I hope you try it- it's perfect for #meatlessmonday! Have a great day, beauties!