What Kind of Food Do Amerindians Eat?

The three main staples in Native American cuisine are beans, squash and corn. Venison, wild rice, squash, pumpkin, berries and greens are also mainstays in American Indian food culture.

Corn is by far the most frequently used food in Native American cuisine. Corn is used to make blue corn meal, which can be used to make tortillas, flour and various other starches. In the past, meat was also a staple, as the Native Americans relied on hunting for food. Besides venison, American Indians often hunted lamb, beaver, prairie dog, rabbits, pig, goat and buffalo. The meat was often served with vegetables and wild grains.

Other regular additions to American Indian meals include cactus, wild onion, sage and cabbage. Some common American Indian dishes include salted salmon, cornbread, buffalo stew, mutton stew, walrus flipper soup and bean bread. Herbs and plants such as peppermint, spearmint, clover and sage were often used by Native Americans to make teas and other foods.

As of 2014, many Native American groups eat a rich variety of traditional foods, including turkey with cornbread, hominy, mush, blueberry and cranberry. Modern-day Native Americans eat a blend of domestic and wild foods. Typical modern Native American cuisine is similar to Southwestern or Mexican food, but it tends to be less-complex and more subtly flavored.