How To Make a Vibrant Pan of Succotash with Fresh or Frozen Veggies

updated Aug 16, 2022
summer
How To Make Succotash

A big platter of succotash is a celebration of all the vibrant vegetables coming into season: sweet corn, baby lima beans, ripe red tomatoes, and tender okra.

Serves4 to 6

Prep22 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 22 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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succotash on a serving platter
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

A big platter of succotash is a celebration of all the vibrant vegetables coming into season: sweet corn, baby lima beans, ripe red tomatoes, and tender okra. When sautéed in smoky bacon drippings and finished with a splash of tangy apple cider vinegar, they create a savory side that pairs well with anything you’re pulling off the grill, from tofu to hot dogs to a saucy rack of ribs.

But if you’re eager to dig in before we reach peak corn and tomato season, you can — our version tastes great with frozen veggies, too. Here’s how to make it.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

What Is Succotash?

According to The New York Times, succotash originated with the Narragansett people in what is today New England. Settlers interpreted and Anglicized the word “msickquatash,” which described a dish of cooked corn and beans. It’s a dish that could have only been created in this part of the world, where the Three Sisters of corn, beans, and squash are native.

Although the dish is mainly composed of vegetables, it’s not unusual for bacon to be added for flavor. Regional differences can be found in the Midwest, throughout the South, and into New England, but corn and lima beans remain constant.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Making Succotash with Frozen Vegetables

You don’t have to wait until August to enjoy this summer side. Before fresh corn and okra reach their peak, look to the freezer. Vegetables are flash frozen soon after harvest, and many large markets carry local or regional varieties of frozen vegetables. As fresh summer vegetables come to market and reach peak flavor, add them to the dish instead of using frozen.

Succotash knows no limits when it comes to substitutions. In the off-season, small grape and cherry tomatoes have the freshest flavor, but when ripe red tomatoes are at their peak, dice them and add them to the skillet. Swap edamame or fava beans for lima beans. And if you’re looking for a side with some spice, add a finely diced jalapeño or two.

How To Serve Succotash

Succotash is an incredibly versatile side — it can be served hot, warm, or even chilled from the fridge. The freshly sautéed summer vegetables are classically paired with grilled meats and barbecue, but there’s no reason to limit yourself there. And although you can freeze succotash, it’s best to store leftovers in the refrigerator for a few days and reheat in a skillet.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell
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Here is how to make succotash.

How To Make Succotash

A big platter of succotash is a celebration of all the vibrant vegetables coming into season: sweet corn, baby lima beans, ripe red tomatoes, and tender okra.

Prep time 22 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 22 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    frozen baby lima beans

  • 1

    medium green bell pepper

  • 1/2

    medium sweet onion

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 pint

    grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 4 ounces

    fresh or frozen okra (about 1 cup)

  • 1/4 cup

    loosely packed fresh basil leaves

  • 2 cups

    fresh or frozen corn kernels (from about 2 ears fresh)

  • 4 slices

    bacon (about 4 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Equipment

  • Chef's knife and cutting board

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Large cast iron or stainless steel skillet

  • Slotted spoon

  • Paper towels

  • Plate

  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Instructions

  1. Thaw the frozen vegetables. Place 1 cup frozen lima beans in a shallow bowl at room temperature to thaw. If using frozen corn or okra, add 4 ounces frozen okra and 2 cups frozen corn kernels to the bowl to thaw also.

  2. Prepare the vegetables. Dice 1 medium bell pepper and 1/2 medium sweet onion (about 1 cup onion), and finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Halve 1 pint grape tomatoes. Trim and slice 4 ounces okra 1/4-inch thick (about 1 cup). Thinly slice 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves. If using fresh corn, remove the husks and cut the kernels from the cob (about 2 cups).

  3. Chop the bacon. Chop 4 slices bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.

  4. Cook the bacon until crisp. Cook the bacon in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until the bacon crisps and the fat renders, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

  5. Cook the onion and pepper until soft. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt to the bacon fat in the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

  6. Cook the garlic until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  7. Add the remaining vegetables. Stir in the tomatoes, corn, okra, and lima beans, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through and tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

  8. Season the succotash. Stir in 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  9. Serve the succotash. Top with the crisped bacon and basil leaves, and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated. The onion and green pepper can be stored together, and the corn, lima beans, and okra can be stored together. Store the bacon in a separate container. Wait until ready to cook before slicing the basil.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Vegetarian variation: Omit the bacon and use 2 tablespoons olive oil to cook the vegetables.

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