Lima beans had an infamous reputation when I was growing up. One of my siblings hated them more than pretty much anything. (My personal nemesis was Spam, a delicacy I still can’t stand the smell of.) Even now, although her tastes have widened considerably, she still doesn’t think much of limas.
I happen to like them though. And I recently discovered an heirloom variety, Christmas Limas, that are big, buttery and beautiful. They are marbled red-brown and white, and unlike some other legumes that are marbled only when dry, they retain some of their mottled appearance even after cooking.
This week’s Meatless Monday recipe can be eaten either warm or cool as a salad. It’s substantial enough to be a meal in itself. But you can always supplement it with some roasted veggies such as cauliflower or carrots.
If, like my sibling, you prefer other beans to limas, you can always substitute another large bean such as cannellini or red kidney beans. But if you want to be adventurous, try Zürsun’s Christmas Limas. This dish is full of surprises—the roasted yellow peppers provide sweet accents that are perfectly balanced by salty Greek olives.
This recipe came from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.
Meatless Monday: Lima Beans, Olives and Roasted Peppers
- 1-1/4 cups dried lima beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled, quarted lengthwise, and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Several celery leaves, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- Sea salt
- 2 yellow bell peppers, roasted and cut into small squares
- 12 Greek olives, pits removed and cut into large pieces
- Good olive oil, to finish
- Roast the peppers: Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the tops of the peppers and removed the seeds and spines. Brush the skins with oil. Place the peppers on a rack about 5 to 6 inches under the heating element. Leave in the oven 10-20 minutes, until the skin is wrinkled. The skins can be a bit charred. Check them every 5 minutes or so. Remove them from the oven and enclose them in a paper bag to steam for 10-15 minutes. Peel the skins off, using a paring knife to remove the stubborn pieces.
- Meanwhile, drain the beans and cover them with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for several minutes, then skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Lower the heat and cook the beans slowly until tender but a little on the firm side, for about an hour. Limas are tricky; they may be large, but they can cook more quickly than other beans. When they are done, drain them and reserve the liquid.
- When the beans are ready, warm the olive oil in a roomy skillet or sauté pan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, celery leaves, bay leaf, and all but a little of the parsley and dill. Cook briskly for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the cooked beans and enough of the cooking liquid to cover. Simmer until the beans are tender and the liquid is mostly reduced. Stir in the peppers and olives and cook for a few minutes. Serve the beans garnished the remaining herbs and finish with your best olive oil drizzled over all.