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Aug 13, 2023

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup

This Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup is a hearty bowl of comfort. 

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup in a bowl.


This soup is a take on mutton and three sisters soup, a delicious blend of vegetables native to the Americas, traditionally corn, beans, and either winter or summer squash. The vegetables are grown together to support and nourish each other. 

Our Sunday Funday group is honoring Navajo Code Talkers Day, which is August 14, with recipes derived from Navajo foodways. Mutton and three sisters soup is one of those dishes. 


Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup in a small bowl.

The day celebrates the contribution from men who were recruited from the Navajo nation to join the Marines during World War II in the Pacific. These men developed a code derived from their language to transmit messages. 

They created terms, including Navajo bird names, to represent weapons, and the code was never broken. There is so much more to the story, so be sure to explore the history of the holiday. 

Ronald Reagan declared it a National day in 1982, and in 2014, Arizona declared August 14 as a state holiday. 

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup Ingredients.

Ingredients and Adaptations for this Soup:

All of the recipes I found for a Navajo inspired soup or stew included mutton. Most folks are not able to readily find mutton, so I used lamb shoulder meat instead. 

Both lamb and mutton come from domesticated sheep, with lamb coming from sheep younger than one year. If you do find mutton, to tenderize it, you will need to simmer it for an extra thirty to forty-five minutes before adding the vegetables. 

"Three sisters" ingredients include corn, summer squash, and canned black beans. If you like, you could instead use dried beans that you have soaked in advance, but you will need to cook them before adding them to the soup. 

Additional ingredients also include an onion, some garlic, vegetable stock base, and fire-roasted diced tomatoes (which are also native to the Americas). 

I also included some ground coriander, black pepper, salt, and paprika. 

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup in a bowl.

I used fresh summer corn in this soup, but if it's not available, frozen corn kernels will also work. I just love the extra creaminess that the freshly stripped corn adds to the soup. My favorite tool for this is the OXO corn stripper

My best taste testers, my grown kids, seemed to really enjoy this soup. Even though we weren't experiencing soup weather, they didn't seem to have a problem finishing their bowls of this soup. 

P.S. If you'd like to make this soup more hearty and filling, just add some potato chunks at the same time that you are adding the vegetables. 


This soup is a perfect make-ahead dish. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days and re-heat beautifully. 

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup in a bowl.

More Navajo Inspired Recipes You May Also Enjoy:

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup in a bowl.

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup

Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
This Lamb, Summer Squash, Black Bean, and Corn Soup is a hearty bowl of comfort.


  • 2 tablespoons corn or olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound lamb shoulder meat or loin (more tender), cut into 1-inch chunks (or pre-cut lamb stew meat)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable soup base, such as Better Than Bouillon.
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • Corn kernels, stripped from two ears of fresh corn
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium zucchini, ends cut off, halved and cut into 1 inch chunks.
  • 1 medium summer squash, ends cut off, halved and cut into 1 inch chunks.
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a six to eight quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook them until softened. Add the chopped garlic and then cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the lamb pieces and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until browned. Add the water, vegetable soup base, paprika, coriander, and pepper. Add the can of roasted diced tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, black beans, zucchini, and summer squash.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and skim off any "scum" that is lingering on the top with a mesh skimmer.
  4. Lower the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot with the lid, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add salt to taste. I didn't add any. 
  6. Serve.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

5.8 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.26 g

Carbs (grams)

15.6 g

Fiber (grams)

5.21 g

Net carbs

10.38 g

Sugar (grams)

3.71 g

Protein (grams)

12.03 g

Cholesterol (grams)

22.89 mg
lamb, squash, corn, beans
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Would you like to comment?

  1. What a great summer/fall soup recipe. Love that you used lamb in this and curious if some of our local butcher's sell mutton.

    1. I've never actually tried it. There's probably no demand around here!

  2. Great choice for this theme! It looks delicious!

  3. I'll stick with lamb....I think mutton is gamier in taste. This recipe sounds wonderful.

  4. Karen, what a hearty and filling soup. Like the name too Three Sisters Soup. I am going to give the vegetarian version a try.

  5. I love a beef and veggie soup. And the three sisters always make a tasty dish.

  6. I love the sounds of this. I have ground lamb in the freezer. I might try it with that! Should work, right?

  7. I have ground lamb in the freezer. Should work with that, right?


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