Three Sisters Salad

A mixture of maple roasted corn, squash, beans, and fresh greens with Dijon sweetgrass vinaigrette.

The three sisters refer to a traditional trio of plants grown by various Indigenous Peoples across North and Central America—corn, climbing beans and squash. When planted side by side these crops help each other grow. Corn provides support for the bean vines to grow on. Beans add nitrogen into the soil to fertilize the corn and squash. Finally, squash grows as a groundcover to provide shade, which keeps the ground moist and prevents weeds from growing.

The three sisters are a complete nutritional package with carbohydrates from corn, protein from the beans, essential vitamins and minerals from the squash.

Sweetgrass is an aromatic herb and is also a sacred medicine symbolizing healing and peace. It’s a grass with long soft leaves that grows from 1-3 feet tall. The grass is often gathered and dried, then the leaves are braided together for smudging. The 3 sections of the braid represent mind, body and spirit to some Indigenous peoples and in other traditions the 3 sections also symbolize love, kindness and honesty. Smudging invites good spirits and positive energy. Sweetgrass grows across North America and Northern Europe, below the Arctic Circle.  

Teetl'it Gwich’in Language Lesson

Nihtat gwinzhih Nihjuu kat tik Tłoo | Three Sisters Salad


Our sweetgrass is purchase locally through Cedar Root Gallery, who sources it from Six Nations Ontario, where it is picked by the local Haudenosaunee People. 

The story of the three sisters (corn, squash, beans) is one of helping each other and  protecting each other during growth. Our land has taught us so much about what we need to survive. We are still learning from the land today. We need to protect and care for the land for a brighter future. 

-Chef Stephanie

Meet The Chef

Steph Baryluk 

Chef Steph Baryluk (BAR-luck) created the Rooted Catering and Dining Commons menus at SFU. She is Teetl'it Gwich'in from Teetl'it Zheh (Fort McPherson), Treaty 11 Territory located in the Northwest Territories and now resides in Tsawwassen, BC with her husband and two kids. After completing her Red Seal as a Cook she knew she wanted to do more with her Indigenous roots. Chef Steph has hosted cooking classes and speaking engagements in her hometown, at the FAO in Rome, and across the Lower Mainland. She also launched her own company, MRS B’S JERKY, which is a play on traditional caribou dried meat ‘Nilii Gaii’ but made with beef. She's excited to share her Indigenous cuisine and stories with the SFU community.