3 recipes for honoring Native foods and true history this Thanksgiving

giving thanks for our food can be — should be — an ongoing, beautiful part of our lives. Native foods educator and Muckleshoot tribal member Valerie Segrest generously spoke with The Seattle Times about thanksgiving, Thanksgiving and what non-Indigenous people can do to celebrate the holiday with respect — find that interview here — including putting Native foods on the holiday dinner table. Here are three recipes courtesy of Segrest and the Indigenous Food Lab, two of them found in their co-authored cookbook “Indigenous Home Cooking: Menus Inspired by the Ancestors.”

It’s Segrest’s hope that these recipes act as conversation starters for bringing greater truth and understanding to the table, while also prompting more gratefulness for deliciousness. For those seeking knowledge about Indigenous foods and more recipes — and those seeking to give this gift to others — the book is available on-site or online from Seattle’s Arundel Books.

Smoked Fish & White Bean Dip

To source Native-produced beans, check out American Indian Foods. Recipe courtesy of the Indigenous Food Lab in collaboration with Valerie Segrest, from “Indigenous Home Cooking: Menus Inspired by the Ancestors.”

Serving: 6


  • 2 cups white northern beans, cooked and drained (or substitute 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 6 ounces smoked trout, skinned and boned
  • 1 tablespoon sumac, ground
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup


A food processor works best, or blender in a pinch: Place all ingredients and purée until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated. If too thick, add a little water at a time to get a hummus-like consistency. Place in a bowl, garnish with sumac or smoked paprika, and serve with cut vegetables, corn chips or gluten-free crackers.

Wilted Wild Rice Salad

To source Native-produced wild rice, check out American Indian Foods. Recipe courtesy of the Indigenous Food Lab in collaboration with Valerie Segrest, from “Indigenous Home Cooking: Menus Inspired by the Ancestors.”

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 1/2 cups veggie stock or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or other fat
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil (or sub olive oil)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 red or yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 cups very finely chopped rainbow chard
  • Salt and lemon to taste


Bring stock or broth to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and rice. Bring to a boil again, cover, lower heat and simmer for 60-65 minutes. Make sure all of the stock/broth is absorbed by tipping the pan to one side to check for pooled liquid.

Combine lemon juice, 1/2 cup oil, garlic and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large serving bowl.

Begin to layer on top of that mixture the fennel, then red pepper, cabbage, parsley and greens.

Toss gently until evenly covered with dressing. When the rice cools to room temperature, toss it with the vegetables. Taste the salad and adjust the seasonings. Some extra salt and/or lemon may be required.

How to roast salmon in the oven

“Salmon is so delicious that most people prefer to season it with just some Johnny’s Seasoning Salt, fresh-cracked pepper and garlic powder. Your fishmonger can advise you on which salmon have come from local tribal fisheries, and how much to buy per person for a whole salmon or fillets. Preheat the oven to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the salmon and place on a cookie sheet (for fillets, skin-side down). Sprinkle with seasonings, then drizzle a little olive oil or place small pads of butter on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes per pound. When done, the meat flakes easily with a fork and brightens up into shades of blushed pink, depending on the variety of salmon you are roasting; for fillets, you’ll see that beautiful white omega-3 fatty acids emerge to the surface. To be sure, check that the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees.”

Valerie Segrest, Native foods educator and Muckleshoot tribal member

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