Succotash is a traditional American food that comes from a Native American word meaning “boiled corn,” so you should always include corn in the dish even if it isn’t the main ingredient. Over the decades, lima (or butter) beans have taken the star role in succotash, and it’s a great way to highlight those often neglected members of the legume family.
In the South, fresh butter beans are plentiful from July through September, and there’s really nothing quite like them. However, if you don’t have access to the fresh ones, frozen lima beans are very similar (some say they’re exactly the same thing) and will work quite well. We avoid canned lima or butter beans since they tend to fall apart and can taste a little pasty.
We usually add fresh (or frozen) kale and/or okra, but other great options include yellow squash, zucchini, or green beans. As you can see, succotash is basically a clean-out-the-refrigerator type of dish. As long as it has corn and beans in it, you can get creative with the remaining ingredients and still call it “succotash.”