Vegetarian Succotash (1)
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  • Food: Vegetarian Succotash
  • Writer: Nicolas Wilson
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

Suffering succotash, to be sure! That’ll be the last time I mention Loony Tunes. This vegetarian succotash recipe is light, bright, and devoid of bacon.

Pan-seared corn, plump lima beans, and fresh peppers are among the ingredients.

Make this recipe right now using early-season vegetables, or save it for Thanksgiving. If fresh sweet corn isn’t available, you can easily substitute thawed freezer corn.

Succotash has Native American roots in various varieties, as you’ll see here. Succotash is the name of a local restaurant in Kansas City that serves the meal.

Vegetarian Succotash Yum (1)
Food: Vegetarian Succotash (Source: The Kitchn)

This recipe is my take on a classic American dinner. To generate a more rich flavor, I browned the corn in a skillet. To assist in offset the sweetness of the corn, I added a variety of peppers (poblano, bell pepper, and optional jalapeno).

Because individual preferences and corn sweetness vary so greatly, I’ve written the recipe to allow you as much control as possible over the spice amount.

I left the tomatoes out since they made the dish more stew-like, and without them, it’s more like a warm salad. This produce-driven, vegetarian side dish is made tempting by creamy butter (no cream) and fresh herbs.

Succotash’s Origin

Succotash was created by Narragansett Native Americans who lived in what is now Rhode Island. The word sohquttahhash comes from a Narragansett word that means “broken corn kernels.”

In the 1600s, Native Americans introduced succotash to starving colonists. Corn and beans, which, when combined, provide a vegetarian source of all essential amino acids, were included in the Succotash.

Succotash was a New England favorite before spreading to the rest of the South, and it resurfaced in popularity during the Great Depression since it was so cheap.

Succotash recipes differ greatly in terms of ingredients and texture. Corn and lima beans are the two most important ingredients. Bacon or corned beef, okra, squash, tomatoes, or heavy cream are all common ingredients in many dishes.

How to Serve it?

From summer to fall, this succotash recipe is ideal. Succotash is a popular Thanksgiving side dish, and this dish would certainly liven up the dinner. Here are some ideas for serving:

  • Salad of Arugula and Wild Rice with a Zesty Lemon Dressing
  • Veggie Burgers of Choice
  • Roasted Garlic Bread or Honey Butter Cornbread
  • Mashed Potatoes by Lucille
  • Green Beans Roasted to Perfection

Sweet Corn Suggestions

Purchase fresh corn and consume it as soon as possible. Corn has the sweetest, most delectable flavor when it is first harvested, and it loses that flavor with time.

I find it easier to simply lay the corn on the cutting board and cut it off the cob. With a sharp knife, cut a longitudinal strip of kernels, flip so the flat side is against the cutting surface, and repeat as needed.

If fresh corn is unavailable or you want to save time, use defrosted frozen corn, which tastes far better than canned corn. Watch out for splatters as we add the corn to the hot oil in the skillet.


15-minute prep time

Time to prepare: 20 minutes

35-minute total time

Succotash is a Native American-inspired side dish. Corn and lima beans (fresh or frozen), peppers, basil, and butter are all used in this colorful succotash recipe. It’s best eaten right after it’s been cooked. This recipe serves 6 people as a side dish.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ears fresh corn, shucked (or about 3 cups frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, divided
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen lima beans, thawed under cool running water
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Optional: 1 medium jalapeño, ribs, and seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Pinch of cayenne (for even more spice)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • Flaky sea salt or kosher salt, for serving

Instructions For Succotash

Vegetarian Succotash Easy (1)
Food: Vegetarian Succotash (Source: The Kitchn)
  1. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Combine the corn and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl. Cook, stirring every minute or two until the corn is golden brown around the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes (careful, it can jump out of the pan while it’s hot).
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Combine the onion, poblano, bell pepper, jalapeno (if using), and the remaining 12 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to incorporate, scraping up any browned bits from the pan’s bottom as much as possible. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and transparent.
  3. Add the garlic to the pan, stir to incorporate, and heat for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the lima beans are warmed through.
  4. Stir in the butter until it’s mostly melted in the skillet. Turn off the heat in the skillet. Allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. If you want it to be spicier, a pinch of cayenne pepper can be added. Half of the basil should be added now, with the remainder saved for garnish.
  5. If desired, transfer the succotash to a serving plate. Finish with the remaining basil and green onion. Add a few extra pats of butter and a pinch of flaky salt or kosher salt to taste. Serve as quickly as possible. This meal is best eaten within a few hours of preparation, but it will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, covered.


DAIRY-FREE/VEGAN: Miyoko’s Creamery, for example, makes dairy-free butter. Alternatively, skip the butter and serve individual servings with vegan sour cream dollops.

NOTE ON LIMA BEANS: I’ve recently discovered lima beans in the freezer department of Whole Foods. I haven’t tried canned lima beans, however, they should be thoroughly rinsed and drained before use.

You could substitute shelled edamame for lima beans, though this is an unusual substitution (they are fairly similar in color and texture).