Succotash salad. Ever tried it? It’s a summer classic made with lima beans, gently charred corn, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and red onions that come together with a slightly sweet, creamy, and tangy dressing made with garlic, vinegar, and cream.
Adapted from Alexander Smalls | Meals, Music, and Muses | Flatiron Books, 2020
This summer succotash salad is a simple but grand dish. I love to serve it to international guests whose experience with American cuisine might be limited. This is almost always something they’ve never tasted before. How often can you say that?–Alexander Smalls
Succotash Salad FAQs
What is succotash?
The word succotash comes from the Naragansett Indian word ‘msickquatash’, which refers to a simmering pot of corn. Succotash recipes typically include a combination of corn and lima beans, with other vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes often added to the mixture.
Can you freeze succotash?
This recipe makes a lot of succotash, which is fine if you’re planning a picnic or a party with more than 6 people. If not… you might wonder what to do with it all. Succotash will last a few days in the fridge but if you want to put it away for another day, you can definitely freeze some.
Keep in mind that dressings don’t always fare well in sub-zero temps, so if you can plan ahead and freeze some and dress it later, you’ll probably prefer the taste and texture. To freeze, it’s as simple as waiting until your succotash is cool, then portioning it into freezer-safe plastic bags. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 4 months. Later on, just thaw, dress, and serve.
What do you serve with succotash?
This succotash salad pairs well with grilled meats or seafood, such as these spiced grilled boneless chicken thighs, or this grilled trout.
For the dressing
- 4 large garlic cloves unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the succotash salad
- 6 ears corn shucked or about 3 cups frozen corn (16 oz | 454 g)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups (12 oz) frozen lima beans or edamame
- 1 red bell pepper diced 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 to 13 mm)
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 to 13 mm)
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) finely chopped red onion
- 2 cups (about 14 oz) grape tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup (1/2 oz) minced fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil. Roast until soft, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze each garlic clove gently between your fingertips to release, discard the papery skins.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, mash the roasted garlic cloves into a paste. Whisk in the vinegar, cream, and sugar until smooth, then gradually whisk in the oil until well blended.
Make the succotash salad
- Heat a grill to medium-high.
- Brush the ears of corn with the oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs and add them to the bowl with the dressing. (If using frozen corn, simply boil it with the lima beans in the next step.)
☞TESTER TIP: To corral stray corn kernels as you cut them from the cob, place the ear of corn inside a deep, large bowl and use a sharp knife to trim downward, collecting the kernels in the bowl.
- Fill a medium bowl with ice and water. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lima beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. (If using frozen corn, toss it in with the lima beans during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.) Drain the beans, then transfer them to the ice water to cool. Drain again and add to the bowl with the dressing and corn.
- Add the bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, parsley, and mint to the bowl with the lima beans. Toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Cover the salad and chill for at least 30 minutes, or dump into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving. (Editor’s note: This is one of those dishes that actually tastes better the longer it sits over the course of a day or two!)
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe for succotash salad did not disappoint. This was spring in a bowl with a refreshing combination of flavors, colors, and textures. As a lover of spice and party-in-your-mouth flavors, I was surprised about the satisfying nature of the delicate flavor combinations.
The mint seemed like it was going to be a bit much so initially I only used 2 tablespoons. Upon tasting though, I added the third and it was just perfect. I mixed the roasted garlic in the dressing and used both frozen lima beans and corn. I had planned to char the cooked corn separately as if it had been grilled but I changed my mind and decided to keep the simple sweet fresh flavors.
We enjoyed this salad al fresco facing my garden where I am growing most of the ingredients in the recipe. It truly felt like an homage to my garden…will definitely be making this one again. The oohs and aahs at the table dictate that.
I made extra dressing and added to poached pacific white shrimp to complete this salad as a main course. It would also work as a stand-alone veggie dish or as a side. Succotash salad, you’re a keeper!
This colorful and fresh combination of charred corn, peppers and (if you can find them) lima beans is far more elegant and adult than any impression of ‘succotash’ I had experienced. I’m not talking about the bagged frozen medley version (though I ALWAYS thought that the lima beans were the very best part of those). Nor is it the overly-dressed, sweetened potluck variety.
Charring the corn (which can be done as easily indoors as out) can be done in minutes. I brushed mine with a bit of avocado oil and rolled the cobs two at a time on a hot flat-bottom wok for 2-3 minutes each pair. Keep them moving to get a bit of char or brown on all sides. Remove to cool a few minutes, then slice the kernels off safely (I used a small OXO peeler curved exactly for this job).
My chopped peppers and onion were about 1/2” dice, between the size of the corn and the size of my beans. My beans had to be swapped–some smaller stores have stopped carrying lima beans, devoting that space to edamame (even medley versions of succotash in the frozen section seemed to have gone for edamame). It worked fine, and I have nothing against edamame (there’s usually some in my freezer as well), but I would like this even better with limas, and probably would increase their presence. There, I admit I am probably the only kid on my street who liked the lima beans!
The dressing is deceptively simple–roasting the garlic mellows the necessary depth you get, and the parsley and mint take the fresh flavor forward (and it all marries well if left overnight, as witnessed by happy spoons on the 2nd day). It all pulls together in the bowl–no fussy vinaigrette, the cream and tiny amount of sugar, good olive oil.
The herbs had only slightly wilted but were more melded by extra chilling time (first serving was just after 45 minutes and everything was super fresh, but the elements more discrete). Even the assorted tiny grape & pear tomatoes were better the second day. I was more generous with the pepper than salt, and the light hand of acidity let the crisp sweetness of the peppers and corn shine. The only thing I might try (other than hunting harder for lima beans) is swapping shallots for the red onion and mincing it a bit smaller.
This succotash salad was the perfect fresh and equal partner to a seared, sliced Bavette steak (aka flap or flank) and a glass of wine–though it would be a great vegetarian dish with grilled mushrooms or vegetable skewers. Nobody will run from the table yelling sufferin’ succotash–they’ll be sneaking seconds.
This succotash salad is a great combination of fresh flavors that really tastes like summer. I found it needed a kick or two here and there to amp up the flavor, but pretty good as written. It did need a fair amount of salt and pepper to bring out the flavor–I’d estimate I gave it 8-10 good grinds of both before I was satisfied.
I also would add more roasted garlic in the future, as I didn’t think four cloves was enough to infuse the flavor (and I chose big cloves). Fresh corn and the fresh herbs made the salad come together as a coherent dish and not just a bunch of vegetables tossed together.
This succotash salad is a wonderfully refreshing summer salad with a hint of the roastiness of the corn and the fresh hit of mint. It makes a great addition to a summer barbecue or Father’s Day dinner.
If you went back in time and told my younger self I was going to be championing a recipe with beans in it, let alone lima beans, I would have accused you of slander. However, this succotash salad was such a delightful surprise and my family happily ate on it for days. It lures you in with the familiarity of three-bean salads at family picnics but sinks its hooks in with a far more nuanced and fresh-forward flavor. This will be in regular rotation for summer and is a reason to always pick up frozen lima beans at the market.
If you don’t have a grill but want the smokey flavor for the corn, I had success broiling it after I brushed it with olive oil, about 3 minutes every quarter turn on a high broiler for light charring. I’d recommend chopping everything roughly lima bean sized to help facilitate easy eating, but take my advice and “wash” your red onion before it goes into the salad. It remained uncomfortably sharp even after several days in the fridge, so definitely soak the chopped onion in water for the time it takes you to assemble the salad (rinsing after).
Lastly, the salt in the dressing will draw water out of the vegetables as it sits, so if making ahead, make sure to re-test for flavor before serving.
Originally published August 13, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Succotash salad is one of the delights of summer, and when the farm stand down the road has fresh limas, I always make it. This salad is a keeper, and my husband was all for it. The peppers, onion and herbs gave crunch and brightness and the salad stayed fresh for 3 days until my husband polished it off. He is rarely so effusive about a dish as he was about this salad.
The corn cobs were hefty so I added a third cup of limas because they were fresh and why not?! I served this succotash with skirt steak cooked on the grill for a lovely dinner.