Food for the soul: Native American recipes

December 22, 2021 Providence Body & Mind Team

At Providence, the Diversity & Inclusion Council in Southern California (SoCal D&I) is supporting diversity and inclusion efforts by empowering people to raise their voices and get involved when it comes to social issues and health disparities. 

Our commitment is to drive change, create unity, and foster a world of love by reconciling these issues, once and for all.

To help you bring an appreciation of cultural traditions to your table, Providence chefs Joy Cantrell and Luis Castro have created some Native American recipes to share at your next gathering.

Three Sisters Hominy Harvest Stew


2 cups dried hominy corn (Pozole) (white, blue, or red)

6 qts. Water

3 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 yellow onion

2 diced garlic cloves

2 green zucchini (finely chopped), cut in half lengthwise, and sliced ¼ inch (6 mm) thick 

2 yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch (6 mm) thick

4 tomatoes, diced 4 dried 

New Mexico red chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 12 pieces

2 tsp New Mexico red chile powder (mild) 

2 bay leaves 

4 cups vegetable stock 

1 tsp azafrán (Native American saffron)

2 cups cooked tepary beans   (Brown or White) – Can sub in Black Beans or Pinto Beans

2 tsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano)

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped 

1½ tsp kosher salt

Microgreens or sunflower sprouts, for garnish

Nutrition Facts: Servings Per Recipe: 7 Serving Size: 1 serving Calories 209.5 Total Fat 1.4 g Sodium 814.2 mg Protein 10.0 g


1. Soak the dried hominy (Pozole) overnight in 4 cups of water. The following day, drain the hominy and discard the water.

2. Place the hominy in a large pot and add the remaining 5 quarts of water. The water should cover the hominy by at least 3 inches, if it does not, add a little more water.

3. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the kernels burst and are puffy and tender when tasted, 2–3 hours. *Note: The white corn tends to puff the most. Add more water during cooking if needed. Drain, reserve the cooking water, and set aside. You should have about 4 cups of the cooking water. (You can also cook your hominy corn in a slow cooker overnight, which is my preferred method.

4. Place the hominy corn in the slow cooker and cover it with plenty of water.

5. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let cook overnight, (6–8 hours.)

6. In a separate large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

7. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 2–3 minutes.

8. Add the garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes and sauté for another 3 minutes.

9. Add the hominy, red chiles, red chile powder, bay leaves, stock, hominy cooking water, and azafrán. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.

10. Add the tepary beans, oregano (if using), thyme, and salt and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. If you prefer a smooth, thick stew, transfer the mixture to a blender, reserving 2–3 cups (480–700 ml) for garnish, and blend until smooth.

11. Serve hot in large soup bowls, garnished with microgreens and with the reserved stew if you’ve blended the stew.

Notes: Corn, beans, and squash are known by many native peoples as the Three Sisters and are considered to be sacred gifts from the Great Spirit. Often planted together, they help one another to grow and provide complementary nutrients when eaten together. Tepary beans are native to the Southwest. We sometimes source ours from Ramona Farms or Native Seeds. You can substitute pinto or black beans if desired.


Fry Bread


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk warm

110 degrees

1 tbsp butter or shortening, melted

Canola oil for frying

Nutrition Facts: Servings Per Recipe: 4 Calories 190 Total Fat 6g Sodium 280mg


1. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

2. Gradually stir in the wet ingredients

3. Knead the dough on a flour cutting board.

4. Return the dough to the bowl – cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes

5. Shape the dough into small balls, roll out until approx. 8 to 10 inches in diameter

6. Heat a cast-iron skillet until very hot

7. Place your dough (flattened) into the skillet cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

8. Repeat this process with each “bread”

9. Keep warm between two clean kitchen towels.

10. Serve immediately

Meet the chefs

Joy Cantrell is an executive chef and food production manager at Providence SaintJoseph Medical Center Burbank. Prior to joining Providence 15 years ago, Joy was the director of operations for the catering division at Warner Music Group and has also owned her own catering company. Joy is also on the culinary board of directors at Los Angeles Mission College and is a Providence Mission Spirit awardee. Fun Fact: Joy was born at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center Burbank. 

Luis Castro is a cook at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center Burbank, who will be celebrating his 12th year work anniversary in July. Luis oversees the Meals to Go program in addition to managing catering at Providence. Luis attributes his passion for cooking to his father who’s an executive chef at a reputable hospital.


Find a doctor

If you are looking for a primary care doctor, you can search for one that’s right for you in our provider directory

Related resources

Food for the soul: Collard greens

Food for the soul: Macaroni & cheese

Food for the soul: Hanukkah recipes

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Body & Mind Team is dedicated to providing medically-sound, data-backed insights and advice on how to reach and maintain your optimal health through a mixture of exercise, mindfulness, preventative care and healthy living in general.

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