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Native American Buffalo Burgers with Three Sisters Slaw


Three Sisters Slaw
1/2 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium corn-on-the-cob, husked
1 medium zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 chopped red onion
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cilantro & Sunflower Seed Mayo
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic

1 1/4 pounds ground chuck
3/4 pound ground buffalo
1 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons dried rubbed sage
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
12 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 6 equal slices
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
6 (1/4-inch-thick) large heirloom tomato or tomato slices


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the slaw, lightly mash beans with a fork in a medium bowl; set aside. Generously brush corn and zucchini with vegetable oil. Place corn in middle of a 12x16-inch piece of foil; bring up foil sides, double folding sides and ends to form a packet. Place foil packet on grill rack, cover, and cook, 15 to 20 minutes, turning packet over once. Place zucchini on grill rack during last 8 minutes of cooking, and cook until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Cut the corn from the cobs with a sharp knife; coarsely chop the zucchini. Add corn, zucchini, red onion, maple syrup and salt to beans and mix well; set aside.

To make the mayo, combine the mayonnaise, sunflower seeds, cilantro, lime juice and garlic in food processor; process until smooth; set aside.

To make the patties, combine the chuck, buffalo, sunflower seeds, sage, cayenne pepper and salt in a large bowl. Handling as little as possible, shape into 6 patties.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, about 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium or longer for well done. Top the patties with the cheese during the last 2 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack during the final minute of grilling to toast to a light golden brown.

To assemble the burgers, spread the cilantro mayo over the cut sides of the buns. Place a grilled patty on each bun bottom and top with equal portions of the slaw. Add a tomato slice, followed by a bun top. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 burgers


I am Native American, registered with Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), and created a delicious burger with ingredients representing the American Indian. The term Three Sisters is of Native American origin, consisting of squash, corn and beans, planted together in the same earth mound for soil fertility. I chose zucchini because of its ease in preparation and availability year round in grocery stores.