This Corn Succotash recipe is a bright, simple, vegetarian dish that has deep roots in indigenous culture.
What is succotash?
Succotash is a dish that was created by Native Americans that uses whole vegetables and in-season produce. It dates back many many years. Some food historians even believe it was served at the very first Thanksgiving!
Succotash is from the Narragansett word “msickquatash” which means broken corn or boiled whole ear of corn. This dish boils whole ears of corn and combines them with fresh vegetables and beans. Over the years, it became popular during the great depression because it was delicious and economical, and has since been adapted many times throughout the country.
My adaptation of the classic succotash recipe uses the same fresh and seasonal produce with a few modern twists. Let’s get to making it!
Ingredients for Succotash
This dish has all the good stuff! Corn, zucchini, butter – yum! And while it may seem like there are a lot of ingredients, succotash is pretty flexible in that you can use what you have.
- Butter: You can never have too much butter. You will need a little bit of butter or oil to saute the veggies and then additional butter will be mixed into the final dish to help spread the seasonings.
- Yellow Onion: I am going to say garlic is the motherload of flavor and onion is the fatherload. Yellow onion is a sweeter onion but you could use white onion if needed.
- Garlic: The motherload of flavor! Fresh is best, but pre-minced will work too.
- Jalapeno: This is my modern twist. I love a little spice and hope you do too!
- Corn: Traditional whole ears of corn were used. I cut the kernels off of the corn and cook them but you could use canned or frozen types of corn if short on time.
- Zucchini: No seasonal dish is complete without healthy zucchini! Whether you have fresh or frozen the summer harvest, either will work (or use another type of squash, like acorn or butternut!)
- Red Bell Pepper: Another bright vegetable! You could use any colored pepper you have. Red is just a bit sweeter than yellow or green.
- Lima Beans: These can be canned or dried (these would need to be rehydrated). Lima beans add great protein and have a mild flavor.
- Basil: Fresh basil is best! But, dried basil could be used in a pinch.
- Spices: To amp up the flavors of this fresh dish, I use salt, pepper, and smoked paprika (yum!).
Whole corn is used for this recipe but sometimes it can be a pain to peel the husk away. To remove the husk and silk (the thin wispy pieces between the husk and cob), make sure to grab the full bunch of silk and husk at the top of the cob and pull directly down. This will remove most of the silk with one pull.
How to make Succotash
Succotash is a pretty simple dish. For my version, I just saute the veggies together and then mix in the spices. Easy peasy!
Step 1: Flavor Base
Set the largest pan or pot you have over medium heat. Add oil or butter, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. As they soften, they release juices that will mix into the dish.
Step 2: Veggies
Increase heat to medium/high. Add corn kernels, zucchini, and bell pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until zucchini is soft and corn is a bit brown around the edges, about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Beans
Stir in the lima beans and cook until warm, about 3 minutes.
Step 4: Serve
Remove from heat, and stir in the remaining butter, basil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Serve warm. The butter helps spread out the seasonings and who doesn’t like butter corn?
Succotash with Okra: Okra is a classic southern ingredient and makes a great addition to succotash. Simply swap out zucchini for okra and make as directed.
Serve It With
Succotash is great on its own, but here are some pairing ideas to round out the meal.
- Grilled Watermelon Salad is a delicious, crisp, cold salad that’s a nice compliment to this warm succotash.
- Garden Fresh Tomato Soup is wonderful in the summer or on a cool fall day.
- BBQ Pulled “Pork” Mushrooms Another great pairing that can be served as sandwiches or tacos.
- Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner! Succotash is an easy Thanksgiving side that can be made ahead of time and warmed up when ready to serve.
- 2 Tbsp oil or unsalted butter 28 g
- ½ cup diced yellow onion about ½ an onion
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeno finely diced
- 6 ears corn kernels cut from the cob
- 2 zucchini diced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 2 cups lima beans 340 g
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter 28 g
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped, 10 g
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- Flavor Base: Set the largest pan or pot you have over medium heat. Add oil (or butter), onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Veggies: Increase heat to medium/high. Add corn kernels, zucchini, and bell pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is soft and corn is a bit brown around the edges, about 15 minutes.
- Beans: Stir in the lima beans and cook until warm, about 3 minutes.
- Serve: Remove from heat, and stir in remaining butter, basil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Serve warm.