By the Gracious Vegan
My friend Jo introduced me to this outstanding dish. The original recipe comes from Food and Wine, by the great Michael Romano from Union Square Café. It was dairy-heavy, so Jo and I proceeded to experiment on veganizing it. We succeeded, according to everyone who has tasted it over the last 5 years. It is my absolute favorite dish at the Thanksgiving table. Its mild flavors are perfect for Thanksgiving, but "mild" shouldn't be confused with "boring." Many succotashes are made on the stove, but this one is baked, with cashew cream, flaxseed meal, and a creative mix of spices and herbs holding everything together deliciously.
Soak ¾ cup raw cashews the night before—in the morning, drain them, then put them in the blender with water just to cover, liquefy for 3-4 minutes until absolutely smooth.
Mix 2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal with 6 T. warm water. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the center. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter.
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
Add these vegetables and seasonings and cook until the green beans are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 cups corn kernels, fresh (from 4 large ears) or frozen (thawed)
- 1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 3 cups cooked fava beans or frozen baby lima beans, thawed
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper
Add the stock and simmer until evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
Transfer the vegetables to a large baking dish and let cool slightly. Stir in the basil, chives, cashew cream and flaxseed mixture.
- 2 Tablespoons chopped basil
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped chives
- Cashew cream from ¾ cup cashews
- Flaxseed mixture from 2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal
In a small bowl, toss the panko crumbs with the shredded cheese. Season the topping with salt and pepper; sprinkle over the succotash.
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 4 ounces vegan cheese (1 cup)
Bake the succotash for 10-15 minutes, until heated through. Then, if needed, turn on the broiler and broil in the center of the oven for about 3 minutes, just until the top is golden. Let the gratin stand for 5 minutes, then serve.
Make it ahead: The finished, baked gratin can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.