Strengthening Native American Communities & Economies
Native American Recipes
Bring a Bit of Native America to Your Table!
First Nations Development Institute – with the help of some of our great grantees – is offering cookbooks and recipes from Native American tribes and organizations.
Preparing some of these dishes is a great way to bring a delicious taste of Native America to your table.
We have posted three cookbooks that were developed under a project aimed at healthier cooking and improving nutrition for recipients of the USDA's Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or FDPIR. And we have included various individual recipes.
First Nations’ longtime food effort – the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative – and our newer partnerships in the FDPIR "Nutrition for Native American Communities" project and the “Seeds of Native Health” campaign, led us to think that sharing cookbooks and a few recipes -- some of which use traditional Native ingredients or processes, or which can be prepared with food items in the FDPIR program -- would be a wonderful way to observe Native American Heritage Month. “There is a major shift occurring in Indian Country as Native people are producing their own traditional foods on their own lands to sustain themselves, their families and their communities. This movement is an act of sovereignty and will contribute to having sustainable sources of foods. We sincerely thank our community partners for providing these cookbooks and recipes this year.
The new cookbooks include a regional version called Cooking Healthier with FDPIR Foods, and two local versions from the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and the STAR School, which serves the Navajo Nation. You can read or download these cookbooks for free at these links:
(These cookbooks and other items can also be found in the FDPIR Toolkit that is located elsewhere on the First Nations website.)
From First Nations Staff Member Autumn Romero (above)
Combine yeast and warm water to activate, following the instructions on the packet, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Combine dry ingredients and add half the activated yeast, then mix. Add small amounts of the yeast until the mixture forms a dough-like consistency. Form the dough into a circular shape.
Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and roll out the dough using a rolling pin. From the flattened dough, cut small triangles (no larger than 3" to 4" in height) and fry in oil until golden brown.
The individual recipes we’re sharing come courtesy of two of our former grantees – Dream of Wild Health and the Intertribal Agriculture Council – and our own staff member Jona Charette (Northern Cheyenne/Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) and her aunts Maria Charette and Patricia Rowland (both Northern Cheyenne). Besides the recipes presented below, you can find additional recipes at these links: https://www.wozupi.com/recipes or http://www.redlakenationfoods.com/recipes
For quick access to the recipe you want, click on the name of the item in the menu below. Otherwise you can scroll down the webpage to find your recipe.
Wild Gitigan Salad and Dressing
Wojapi (Dakota Berry Sauce)
Three Sisters Soup
Double Cornbread Muffins
Corn, Blueberry and Wild Rice Salad
Blueberry and Peach Salsa
Wild Rice Hamburgers
Dry Meat Soup
WILD GITIGAN SALAD
From Executive Director Diane Wilson
Six talented Native youth leaders from Dream of Wild Health created this salad using ingredients important to their Native American cultures as well as vegetables grown at their Hugo, Minnesota, farm. The youth promoted this salad at Minnesota Twins baseball games as part of a healthy food initiative called Roots for the Home Team that encourages local youth groups with entrepreneurial projects.
Cherry tomatoes are delicious in this salad, but if you can find ground cherries at a farmers' market or grow your own, they are amazing! Makes 8 (1-cup) servings.
For the salad:
For the dressing:
WOJAPI (DAKOTA BERRY SAUCE)
Makes about 4 cups
In a saucepan, simmer berries and water over low heat, stirring occasionally. (If using fresh berries, you may need more water to keep them from scorching.) Once the berries are broken down into a sauce, spoon out some sauce and whisk in the thickener. Fresh berries should need 1 tablespoon, frozen might need 2 tablespoons thickener. Whisk until completely dissolved, then add back to the rest of the sauce. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup. Serve on cornbread or ice cream.
THREE SISTERS SOUP
From Donna LaChapelle and Patricia Chandler
Makes 4 servings
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in spices, cook for 1 minute. Add stock, corn, hominy, and beans, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes to develop flavors. Stir in pureed squash, cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm with chives and plain yogurt as a garnish.
DOUBLE CORNBREAD MUFFINS
Makes 12 muffins
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350° F. Spray muffin liners with cooking spray and place in tray. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oil and maple syrup until a thick slurry forms. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and then whisk in the buttermilk and sour cream. Pour the wet egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture, and then, using a rubber spatula, fold together until all of the cornmeal is completely incorporated. Fold in the corn kernels and the sage until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. The batter will be thick and pasty. Fill muffin cups half full. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. The corn bread can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. If muffins have been frozen, put them directly into the oven for 15 to 18 minutes at 300° to thaw.
CORN, BLUEBERRY AND WILD RICE SALAD
Makes 8 servings
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add corn. Cook covered for 5 minutes, or until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut corn from cobs. In a serving bowl combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, wild rice, and jalapeno.
For dressing: in a screw-top jar combine lime juice, oil, honey, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover; shake well to combine. Add to salad and toss. Cover the salad and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
BLUEBERRY AND PEACH SALSA
Blueberries have and continue to be a major food source for Great Lakes Region Indian communities in the summer; peaches don’t have the history or tradition but grow especially well in the tribal regions on the eastern side of Lake Michigan.
Another simple recipe. Simply mix the ingredients and serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
WILD RICE HAMBURGERS
Want to lighten up those burgers while helping to keep them moist and delicious? If so, definitely give this recipe a shot. Some restaurants use a very similar version to help meat like ground duck stick together while cooking. The wild rice’s flavor and texture add a subtle yet unique character.
Thoroughly mix the wild rice, ground beef and optional ingredients, if desired, in a large bowl until the texture is consistent. Form into patties and grill or cook, and then serve like a standard hamburger.
Jona Charette (Northern Cheyenne/Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa)
BERRY PUDDING (Northern Cheyennes make Chokecherry Pudding)
There are no measurements in this berry pudding. The recipe depends on the amount of berries you have.
DRIED BERRIES (Traditional Northern Cheyenne berries such as chokecherries, buffalo berries or wild blueberries)
*This process takes about two days. The patties may be stored in a tightly covered container for future use and can be used to make berry sauce.
DRY MEAT SOUP
By Maria Charette
Boil water in a large sauce pan, add the dry meat. This process will take a while as you need to get the dry meat soft. This process may take up to three to four hours. During this process, you can change the water out. Once the dried meat is soft, add the potatoes or hominy and salt pork. At this point, you do not want to change the water because this is where you capture all of the flavor. Bring the soup to a boil then turn to medium heat until the remaining ingredients are cooked through.
By Patricia Rowland
Pound meat very thin and dry in the oven. Grind the dried meat in a food processor. Add the chokecherries and blend together. The consistency should be dry and loose with fruit broken up. Add melted lard slowly while mixing. Two tablespoons of fat are used for each 4-5 ounces of meat plus 1/3 cup of fruit. Fat changes the consistency and makes it appear semi-moist instead of dry and improves the flavor and texture. Store in paper bags.