Sweet corn, red bell peppers and edamame (organic soybeans) create a colorful vegetable side dish – my version of succotash. Perfect for the end of summer, I discovered that succotash was also traditional on New England Thanksgiving tables. So here is an easy, healthy recipe that will work as we transition from summer into fall.
From Lima Beans to Soybeans
Popular during the Great Depression for it’s relatively inexpensive ingredients, succotash is traditionally made with corn, sweet peppers and lima beans. While I love corn and red bell peppers, I’ve never grown to like limas. OK, that was polite. I can’t stand them. So I swapped lima beans for another green bean, soybeans, and now have another welcome way to keep vegetables interesting.
Soybean Nutrition – The Good and Bad
Nutritionally speaking, soybeans are high in protein, folate, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, iron and fiber, plus important minerals. Additionally, their protein is complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids our bodies can only get through diet.
While soybeans can make a healthy contribution to many diets, this legume is not for everyone. Soybeans are on the “most controversial” list on the World’s Healthiest Foods website. If you are allergic to soy, this is not a dish for you. Swap the soybeans for limas or fava beans.
This recipe uses whole, natural soybeans. As with most foods, the whole form is healthy. It’s the processed forms of soy that are a big problem, health-wise. Processed forms like soy protein isolate (SPI) and TVP, textured vegetable protein should be avoided. So should mass market soy “vegetable” oil that is GMO and processed with high heat or chemicals. These are unhealthy forms of soy.
Succotash is one dish where I am careful to choose organic ingredients. Soybeans and corn, if conventionally grown, are going to be GMO (genetically modified). Not a healthy choice. In fact I believe a dangerous choice. And red bell peppers are on the Dirty Dozen list for produce with high levels of pesticides.
For soybeans, buy only shelled, fresh or frozen organic. The frozen are handy to stock in your freezer. The same is true of corn. Whether fresh or frozen, choose organic corn.
Organic peppers are not always available. I will make this with conventionally grown bell peppers, because it is still more important to get your vegetables than to choose organic in this case.
Prep Your Succotash
There is not a lot of cooking time with this recipe. Drop frozen soybeans into boiling water for about 4 minutes. Corn can be cooked fresh on the cob for 3 minutes in boiling water, or use frozen, thawed and cooked kernels.
Chop and saute a bell pepper (for help, see photos below) along with sliced leek, garlic and herbs. In quick time, you have a delicious side dish to serve with chicken, fish, burgers or about any main dish.
I’ve been enjoying this succotash for lunch mixed with cooked quinoa. It’s great! I discovered this after we finished shooting the photos so unfortunately we don’t have a picture. It’s terrific for a high protein, light, healthy vegan lunch. It’s good warm or cold. Mixed with the quinoa, it also makes for a heartier side dish to serve more people.
For help cooking quinoa, here is my recipe.
- 1 1/4 cups organic corn kernels (2 large ears fresh, or use frozen kernels)
- 12 ounce (340 grams) frozen, shelled, organic edamame (soybeans)
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 cup sliced leek
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- For fresh corn: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Strip cobs of husk and silk. Drop cobs into pot and cook for 3 minutes. Remove corn cobs with tongs and drain. When cool, cut kernels from cob and place in a medium bowl. For frozen corn kernels: cook according to package directions, drain, and place in a medium bowl.
- In same pot with water still boiling (or bring a pot of water to a boil), drop in frozen edamame. Cook for 4 minutes and drain. Add to bowl with corn.
- Cut top and bottom off of bell pepper, slice out the seeds and ribs, then chop into small squares (medium dice). See photo in post for help.
- Trim dark green top and root end from leek. Slice in half lengthwise. Run under cold water to remove any sand or dirt. Lay leek flat on cutting board and chop into thin half moons. Heat oil a medium saute or fry pan over medium-low heat. Saute leek until softened, then add garlic and thyme. Cook 1 minute, then add corn, edamame and bell pepper. Season with a little salt and pepper and heat through.
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