In my mind, succotash is kind of an old fashioned dish. It was popular in our grandparents' generation (especially if your grandparents lived in the Northeast U.S. or parts of the South), but doesn’t seem to make much of an appearance on menus today. It was also a popular dish during the Great Depression because it was cheap and made from common ingredients (just the kind of thing we like around here). It's simple goodness of is exactly what makes it a perfect side for a family meal. I like to make it as an easy side dish full of fresh, summer vegetables, and topped with a little bit of bacon, just to make it extra good. (It's also great for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas).
There are actually many versions of succotash, but because of its Native American origins, it almost always includes two vegetables native to the Americas – corn and lima beans. Now, I know that the first inclination may be to dismiss this recipe because of those (oft-dreaded) lima beans, but you can easily substitute another shelling bean for the lima beans - black beans, pinto beans, cranberry beans, or kidney beans would all be delicious here. Don't be too quick to substitute, though, because the baby lima beans I use in this recipe are creamy and mild. Even my husband who typically hates limas loves this succotash.
I typically use canned lima beans when I make this recipe, but you could use fresh or frozen - just be sure to cook them until tender first (20-30 minutes). Also, while fresh sweet corn is the best kind to use at this time of year, frozen or canned will work just fine. You can use regular bacon, turkey bacon, veggie bacon, or just leave it out entirely (but why would you do that? it's bacon!) This recipe is flexible, so just use what you like!
Succotash is cheap, easy, delicious and packed-full of nutrition. I say, it deserves a revival.
- 3 or 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, thinly-sliced into half moons
- Kernels from 4 ears of corn, cooked until crisp-tender (about 3 cups)
- 1 can (1 ½ - 2 cups) baby lima beans, or butter beans
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, or other all-purpose seasoning
- 2 teaspoons dried basil (or 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crumbly. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.
- In the same skillet, sauté the onion and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly tender. (If there is not enough oil in the skillet from the bacon, add a little olive oil or vegetable oil.) Add in the zucchini and cook, while stirring, for 2 more minutes.
- Add the corn kernels and the cherry tomatoes, gently mixing all of the vegetables together. Allow to cook for another minute.
- Remove pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, cajun seasoning, basil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with crumbled bacon before serving.