An absolute first for me: Herby, Brothy Lima Bean Soup

marilynfl

Moderator
Since I'm bored with baking pastries I've been reviewing vegetarian and vegan cookbooks from the library. I'm gonna state right here and now that vegans get my utter respect because it is damn hard to make something without using 90% of the ingredients you grew up with. Meat is an easy one for me to eliminate when trying a recipe. It's the dairy--the milk and the heavy cream and the half/half and the butter and yogurt and cheeses (cream, parmesan, gruyere, feta, romano, sour, boursin, cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack, paneer--and those are just the ones in my bin right now) that I am struggling with. Struggling and failing. Oh yes...absolutely failing.

So anyway, I have this book "The Weekday Vegetarian" by Jenny Rosenstrach. Here's her blog: Dinner: A Love Story Recipe Index
This latest book was her attempt to get the family (hubby and two teen-age daughters) to go vegetarian just during the week. Weekends were back to normal family meat-based favorites. And this lima bean recipe was a test for me. See, like the FBI, I have a "most hated" list that developed as a child and has continued throughout my life, gradually winnowing down as my taste buds matured or food began tasting less...less.

Lima beans were in the top five. You could always find my empty bowl at our table of 8 when Campbell's vegetable soup was served because it had the stray lima bean, stranded and abandoned at the bottom. But Jenny bragged about this simple soup; it's also on the cover and I actually went looking for the recipe, not realizing the star attraction was my arch nemesis.

So I decided to put this life-long hatred to a test. The recipe is simplicity itself. Soak then cook beans with salt and oil until soft, then add other stuff. Jenny recommended heirloom baby lima beans but I located dried baby lima beans and that was good enough for a test. She also said she wasn't including the option to use canned lima beans because the broth is key for the taste.

She was right.

1 lb dried lima beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped coarsely
1 TBL kosher salt
1/4 C EV olive oil
1 dried bay leaf

To serve:
leaves from fresh thyme
1 TBL fresh lemon juice
pesto (optional)
parmesan (optional)
more olive oil for drizzle

Cover dried beans with 2" of water and soak 6 hours or more. When ready to cook, ensure there is 1.5" of water over beans, add onion, bay leaf, salt and olive oil. Simmer 40 minutes. When beans are soft, ladle into bowl with broth and add toppings.

Marilyn's Note: I followed this exactly and the only key change was it took much longer to get to soft bean than 40 minutes. My beans soaked overnight, simmered 40 minutes, then another 20 minutes, then ANOTHER 20 minutes....so nearly an hour and half for me. The baby limas were small when dried but ended up full size once rehydrated and cooked. I can't imagine what size a regular lime bean ends up like.

Anyway, the moral of this story is, the beans were not mushy nor mealy and not a single one was left at the bottom of the bowl. I only wish I had crusty bread worthy of it.

Take note: Cantaloupe just moved up a notch on The List.

lima bean.jpg
 
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deb-in-mi

Well-known member
Oh how I detested lima beans (most any bean unless it was sugary baked beans) as a child. Now I find them absolutely divine! So creamy! Soup looks yummy!!!
 

charley2

Well-known member
Since I'm bored with baking pastries I've been reviewing vegetarian and vegan cookbooks from the library. I'm gonna state right here and now that vegans get my utter respect because it is damn hard to make something without using 90% of the ingredients you grew up with. Meat is an easy one for me to eliminate when trying a recipe. It's the dairy--the milk and the heavy cream and the half/half and the butter and yogurt and cheeses (cream, parmesan, gruyere, feta, romano, sour, boursin, cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack, paneer--and those are just the ones in my bin right now) that I am struggling with. Struggling and failing. Oh yes...absolutely failing.

So anyway, I have this book "The Weekday Vegetarian" by Jenny Rosenstrach. Here's her blog: Dinner: A Love Story Recipe Index
This latest book was her attempt to get the family (hubby and two teen-age daughters) to go vegetarian just during the week. Weekends were back to normal family meat-based favorites. And this lima bean recipe was a test for me. See, like the FBI, I have a "most hated" list that developed as a child and has continued throughout my life, gradually winnowing down as my taste buds matured or food began tasting less...less.

Lima beans were in the top five. You could always find my empty bowl at our table of 8 when Campbell's vegetable soup was served because it had the stray lima bean, stranded and abandoned at the bottom. But Jenny bragged about this simple soup; it's also on the cover and I actually went looking for the recipe, not realizing the star attraction was my arch nemesis.

So I decided to put this life-long hatred to a test. The recipe is simplicity itself. Soak then cook beans with salt and oil until soft, then add other stuff. Jenny recommended heirloom baby lima beans but I located dried baby lima beans and that was good enough for a test. She also said she wasn't including the option to use canned lima beans because the broth is key for the taste.

She was right.

Cantaloupe just moved up a notch on The List.

1 lb dried lima beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped coarsely
1 TBL kosher salt
1/4 C EV olive oil
1 dried bay leaf

To serve:
leaves from fresh thyme
1 TBL fresh lemon juice
pesto (optional)
parmesan (optional)
more olive oil for drizzle

Cover dried beans with 2" of water and soak 6 hours or more. When ready to cook, ensure there is 1.5" of water over beans, add onion, bay leaf, salt and olive oil. Simmer 40 minutes. When beans are soft, ladle into bowl with broth and add toppings.

Marilyn's Note: I followed this exactly and the only key change was it took much longer to get to soft bean than 40 minutes. My beans soaked overnight, simmered 40 minutes, then another 20 minutes, then ANOTHER 20 minutes....so nearly an hour and half for me. The baby limas were small when dried but ended up full size once rehydrated and cooked. I can't imagine what size a regular lime bean ends up like.

Anyway, the moral of this story is, the beans were not mushy and mealy and not a single one was left at the bottom of the bowl. I just wish I'd had bread worthy of it.

View attachment 30
That does look delicious--and I'm so glad you (and the recipe author) used baby limas (what we call "butter beans" ). Regular limas are just too starchy. And the broth is surely the key.
And a vegan diet is difficult!! I spent last week at the beach with our family and DGD's graduation friends, several of whom are vegan--as is DGD. I checked with them about how strict they wanted to be on some things and they bent the rules for my crab cakes and some other things. But DGD has said she is having trouble keeping her iron up and another of her friends said she just had to stop--she just wasn't getting enough protein.
But I do have to say I have found some really tasty vegan recipes for her--and my DD who while not vegan eats a low meat diet.
 

mariadnoca

Moderator
Several years ago i did a Whole Foods sponsored vegan for a month challenge. It was ridiculously difficult and I don’t know how I managed it or why I didn’t just give up. Vegetarian is easy peasy after that. This soup sounds good, though not a bean fan I might give it a go.

Right now I’ve got the Nimble Cook checked out and got a watermelon to try out using every last part of one.
 

karennoca

Well-known member
My favorite bean is the Royal Corona Bean from Rancho Gordo. It is a huge white bean that gets even bigger during the slow cooker process. I often refer to it as a baby baked potato. It is so creamy in the inside and totally delicious. I never soak my beans. but cook them long and slow with onion and garlic in chicken stock. Mexican Oregano is a must, added later. Then at serving a drizzle of Pineapple Vinegar, also from Rancho Gordo. Oh, and the bean is shaped just like a Lima Bean, but larger.
 

earnie

Well-known member
Marlyn, I love lima beans, but I'm right there with you on the difficulty of a vegan diet. I managed vegan for a year and a half some years ago, but ditto on your list of dairy items as my downfall. Thanks for this recipe.
 
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