Heavenly. Creamy. This dish made with veggies tucked in your freezer is good for you too!
The garden is offering up a few chives right now, and this weekend I’ll tuck some lettuce in the cold-frame to at least give the illusion of gardening season starting. The squill is blooming, the daffodils are budding, and the mud is drying up a bit. It’s early spring, and that means we’re still trying to eat down the food we put by in the freezer last season – a perfect time to create dishes with that in mind.
Fresh is best, but frozen is pretty good this time of year!
In high summer, we’ll use fresh corn, edamame, and spinach in this. I poked through the freezer last week and found a few treasures, including a lovely bag of local cherries, edamame, some buckwheat crepes left from a brunch, tofu hotdogs, and three bags of corn. I should invite my friend Terrie from Comfort du Jour over for a chopped competition!
I’m always pleased when I retrieve a container of corn from the freezer that I dutifully tucked away in September. The flavor is so much nicer than anything in a can, and just for a moment I’m sitting in my backyard with a buttery ear of corn in my hands. Just for a moment. If you don’t have a stash in the freezer, use your favorite corn.
Cranberry or lima beans are traditional in a succotash, but I’ve swapped edamame for the old standby. I like them a lot, but you might stick with limas or butter beans if you prefer. The spinach is not traditional, but elevates the nutritional profile. If you can get spinach from your local greenhouse this time of year, use that of course! Even without the spinach, this dish is packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Tradition also often calls for cream to be added to succotash at the end, but I’ve substituted light coconut milk to reduce the saturated fat and it was delicious.
Mustard and tarragon, a great match
Two tablespoons sounds like a lot of mustard, but it lends just the right note and mingles nicely with the tarragon. If you can’t find fresh tarragon, use a scant teaspoon of the dried, it can be overpowering. And if you don’t like tarragon, how about using the last of that pesto you tucked away in the freezer. That is if there is any left. I have one precious container left that fell behind something else!
A tasty pasta
Fregula (fregola) is a toasted, tiny Sardinian semolina pasta that resembles Israel couscous in size, and I’m sure my friend Antonia will agree it is a wonderful item to have waiting for you in the pantry. The toasted flavor adds much to the end product! I usually buy this at an Italian market, but I’ve seen it in health foods stores and co-ops as well, and you might even be able to find it in a larger grocery store. I was lucky enough to find a whole wheat fregula, but if you can’t find it, just toast some whole grain Israel couscous in a dry skillet until it starts to brown. It’s not exactly the same, but a good substitute.
The tofu is perfect in this dish, but you could also substitute another favorite protein, or just serve this up as a side dish.
Baked Tofu with Mustard Cream Succotash and Fregula
- 12 oz. firm tofu
- Cornstarch to dust
- 8 oz. whole wheat fregula or toasted Israel couscous
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 10 oz. fresh or thawed frozen corn
- 10 oz. fresh or thawed frozen edamame, or other bean
- 10 oz. thawed frozen chopped spinach
- 2 heaping tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 cup coconut milk, light or full fat
- 2 tbsp. vegan or dairy butter
- 1 tbsp. tarragon, minced, plus more for garnish
Press the excess water out of the tofu. Place toweling on a plate, add the block of tofu, wrap the towel to cover the top as well, then place a second plate on top. Weight it down with something heavy like a 28-oz. can of tomatoes, and let sit for a half hour. You can also use a tofu press of course.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Once drained, cut the tofu into desired shape, cubes or planks, and dust with cornstarch. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, arrange the tofu single file, give it a quick spray of oil, and a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, them turn and cook until lightly brown and crisping on the edges.
While the tofu bakes, Bring a large pot of water to boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt, and cook fregula a couple of minutes shy of the package directions. Mine advised to cook 14 to 17 minutes, so I took it out at 12 and it ended up perfect.
While the fregola is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then stir in the corn, edamame, spinach, mustard, and tarragon. Season with salt and lots of black pepper, let these flavors all mingle for a few minutes, then add the coconut milk and reduce the heat.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water.
Add the fregola to the skillet and cook a few minutes, until everything is well blended. If you feel it is too thick, and it will be, loosen it up with about a half cup of the pasta water, or a little more. Add the butter.
Turn out to your serving platter or bowl. Top with the tofu, sprinkle a bit more tarragon and black pepper, and enjoy. I won’t look if you want to add a little more butter…
Note: If storing, when you reheat you will probably have to add some water as the pasta will continue to suck up the juices of the dish in the refrigerator!
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What a great dish! A complete balanced meal 😋 and with the addition of that coconut milk it makes it somehow exotic 😉😋
Thanks Ribana! The coconut milk does let it slip slightly out of New England!
My son is into all things healthy and would love this! Great vegetarian dish!
Thank you Jan! It’s really tasty, the tarragon and mustard love each other!
Interesting recipe! I’ll definitely try it!
Thank you! It is so good, and so good for you!
I think you won the chop challenge this week. I make my succotash with more of an Italian bent. Definitely trying your recipe. Thanks
Thanks Bernie! Sometimes that is what making dinner on the fly feels like, a chopped episode! What will you make with…..
My mouth is watering! Looks fabulous. We just returned home, I haven’t done any food shopping yet and my options are severely limited. I’m adding some of this to the list! xxoo, C
Don’t forget to check your freezer first! ☺️
Oh that’s rich because I did scan the freezer and found some frozen taquitos! Salvation. 💕
I know this is delicious because you made it. I’m not into tofu so I’ll have to bow to your creativity without tasting. 🙂
Thank you Judy! Understood on the tofu, it’s not everyone’s favorite, but you can substitute chicken or any other protein you like, or just enjoy as a side dish.
I often make chicken with mustard and tarragon, so it’s great to have a vegan dis that uses this wonderful combination. Love all the rest of ingredients you’ve used. 🙂
Thank you Ronit! There’s something about that combination of mustard and tarragon that is truly memorable, a favorite combination.
One of my favorites as well. 🙂
A yummy treat is in store! Great ingredients make for a superb meal. There’s always coconut milk and cream in the pantry – and I have quite a few packets of edamame in the freezer waiting their turn!
What gorgeous daffodils you have – and the little chook (chicken) is so cute.
It sounds like you are all set to raid your freezer as well Carolyn!
The little chick was a gift from my youngest granddaughter! She put it in the fairy garden to make them happy too!
What a wonderful gift!
Now, Dorothy, you’ll have to excuse my enthusiasm here, but, taking a miniscule leaf from your book –
Last night I coated pounded chicken with egg and flour and fried in a little olive oil – a usual method that turns out well. However, here’s the miniscule leaf – Remembering this recipe I added a heaped teaspoon dijon mustard to a half cup coconut milk, heated in through after removing the chicken and voila – a simple yet tasty sauce we loved. Never would have tried this without first reading your recipe! 🙂
Wonderful! That’s exactly what I hope for, suggesting techniques and flavor and ingredient combinations that one can use by instinct and enjoy the beautiful results.
So glad you enjoyed it my friend!
You are so thrifty! I am trying to preserve veggies too but preserving meet will also be a challenge. Your tips really help. 🍮🍮💕
Ah, thanks! Just start small, like homemade pesto when the basil is sold by the armful!
Oh goodness! Any creation I’d conjure would not keep pace with this dish! Thanks for introducing me to fregula, which I’ve never tried before, but anything that is made from semolina is already a winner in my book. I’ll be on the lookout for it! 🙂
Thanks Terrie! I’m honored with your words!
I found this by chance quite a few years ago at a small Italian pantry in Manchester, VT. I bought it simply because I’d never seen it before. It was high summer, so I made a salad out of it with corn and lots of other veggies and it was an instant hit! It is hard to find sometimes if you are looking for it, but if you are not, you’ll stumble upon it. Best bet besides an Italian shop is a larger co-op.
I have never had of succastash, although vaguely remember some cartoon characters using it as an expletive!
This certainly looks like a great dish and I had not thought of freezing corn. I must do that in future !
I am finding more things to do with Edamame beans now!
“Suffering succotash!” said Sylvester, the lisping cat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9pR_i9jOtk
We grew up with succotash, especially in late summer when corn was everywhere! Edamame is my twist, and I love it much more than lima beans!
We love edamame beans and this sounds lovely especially using coconut milk(which) I always use anyway I would have to swap the tofu as I really don’t like it too much but with some meaty mushrooms or chicken it would do me just fine 🙂
You can use any protein you like here Carol, it’s all about making it our own, which you do so well my friend!
Thank you, Dorothy 🙂 x
I haven’t had succotash in years. My mother always make it for Thanksgiving. looks delicious!
Thank you! When I make succotash, I usually omit the cream, but the coconut milk is great here, not as heavy so the flavors of the vegetables shines through.
Your freezer is quite a treasure trove! What a beautiful and delightful vegetarian dish!
Thank you Jenna! I like to tuck those treasurers away, you just have to remember they are perishable and use them!
I like baked tofu–I’ve had it several times, but never made it myself yet–I need to try it one of these days! 🙂 This sounds really good!
Thanks Nancy. I like this way to bake the tofu best. There’s a nice crust and the center stays soft.
Love this delicious healthy dish .
Thank you, it is really addictive!
I’ve never had succotash! When you talked about frozen veggies, I was reminded how much I love having a freezer. It’s great for keeping those ingredients you want to use later 🙂
They are like little surprises sometimes, but usually good surprises!
Wow delicious healthy Tofu dish ! Thank you 🙂🙂👌
As my grandkids say, delicious and nutritious!
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