Thanksgiving Succotash ♥ Recipe

Indigenous corn deserves a place on the Thanksgiving table
Today's Thanksgiving recipe: Succotash [SUHK-uh-tash], a simple mix of corn and lima beans topped with cheesy bread crumbs. Easy to convert to vegetarian and vegan versions.

How is it that corn -- or more specifically, maize -- indigenous to the Americas and one of the staple foods of Native Americans, so rarely makes its way onto Thanksgiving tables? Let's launch a 'Yes, we can!' effort to change that! Corn and lima beans are a magical combination, especially when their texture is contrasted with a little smooth heat from a poblano pepper. I was some surprised: this simple dish adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

What is succotash? I had to check, myself, even though the word itself and the sufferin' succotash of Sylvester the Cat are both embedded in the back of my brain. Succotash is a traditional American food with many regional variations. The two constants are lima beans and corn. Beans, potatoes and tomatoes may be added, some times the vegetables are topped with a crust, like a pot pie. Many succotash recipes bind the lima beans, corn and other vegetables with cream and eggs, making a thick casserole. In contrast to the more-typical rich Thanksgiving side dishes, this casserole uses broth and thus is positively healthful -- and it tastes like it, in a good way.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 50 minutes
Makes about 5 cups

1 tablespoon bacon grease or butter or olive oil
1/2 an onion, chopped fine
1 poblano pepper, chopped fine
8 ounces (about 2 cups) frozen corn
8 ounces (about 2 cups) frozen lima beans
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled between fingers to release the oils
1 cup chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large skillet, heat the fat on MEDIUM until shimmery. Add the onion and pepper as they're prepped, stirring to coat. Gently cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers are soft but not brown. Add the remaining ingredients (except the topping) and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook until the beans and corn are both cooked, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. (If there's liquid left, transfer it too, it helps keep the beans moist.)

Mix topping ingredients, sprinkle over top. Bake for about 30 minutes until heated through and topping turns golden.

DAY BEFORE Cook the vegetables, cover and refrigerate. Mix the topping.
BEFORE DINNER Return the vegetables to room temperature. Arrange in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle topping onto the vegetables. Bake at 425F for about 30 minutes until heated through and topping turns golden.

If you like, use a green or red bell pepper instead of a poblano pepper.
For the topping in the photo, I used a 1:1 mix of panko:cheddar. A 2:1 mixture is preferable and is specified in the recipe. The mix is taken from the recipe for One-Skillet Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce.
For a vegetarian dish, use olive oil rather than bacon grease and vegetable broth rather than chicken stock. For a vegan dish, substitute a no-dairy cheese for the cheddar.

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~ Roasted Fennel ~
~ Seared Radicchio ~
~ Reuben Casserole ~

~ Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes 2008 ~

Here at A Veggie Venture, vegetables are the real stars of the Thanksgiving table. So watch for new Thanksgiving recipes all November long, new additions to my collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes. Whether it's 2006's famous World's Best Green Bean Casserole or 2007's favorite Cauliflower Cream or a brand-new recipe which catches your fancy, this year, move vegetables to your center stage.
© Copyright 2008

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I'm going to make this for my family but with soy cheese as I have someone with lactose issues. I'll let you know how it turns out and if the kids eat it. They eat lima beans. They eat corn. Why is always a question of they will eat the two together?

    hpsarabeth AT gmail DOT com

  2. I'm a bit of a corn snob, and seldom eat it except in season when I can buy it the same day it's picked. But every now and then the craving for something with corn and beans strikes in the middle of winter, and then I'm grateful for good quality frozen corn.

  3. I first tasted succotash when I lived in NC and loved it so much that I'm still making it 5 years later. I love the idea of your Thanksgiving succotash!

  4. I made succotash just the other day. Mine was plain though - I just used leftover limas and added enough corn to feed us both. ;>

    That was good, yours looks better. I look forward to trying it.

    Thanks for the great holiday veggie ideas.

    debra AT teleport DOT com


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna