Lima Beans, the Misunderstood Vegetable

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I had Lima beans tonight with my dinner. I grew up loving Lima beans, sometimes called butterbeans. My mother made them, added butter and seasonings and they were delicious! Although I’m not a great cook, I have always tried to make a balanced diet for my family. When my children were able to eat “adult” food, I made Lima beans one night for dinner. My whole family looked at them and turned up their noses. We had a rule in our house that at dinner you had to try a food once. If you didn’t like it, at least you tried it. My family took one bite of the Lima beans and refused to eat anymore of them. I couldn’t believe it. They don’t like Lima Beans? Deluding myself, I decided that my children were too young so I waited until they were older to try again. I had the same reaction.

My children are grown now and we were all recently together for a visit. I announced that I was making Lima Beans for dinner. Their response? Mom, you will be eating them alone. My children like vegetables but Lima Beans isn’t one of them. Why do people have such a strong reaction to this wonderful vegetable? Is it the texture, color, taste or just the way they look? I decided do some research.

I found that Lima Beans are a superfood! They are a very good source of iron, magnesium, protein and may help stabilize blood sugar. One cup of Lima beans contains about one quarter of the daily recommended amount of iron. They were also staple products during the Incan empire in the Andes region. and the Spanish explorers named them Lima after the capital city of Peru. There are two main types of limas. Fordhook Lima beans are larger and pale green. Baby Lima beans are a different variety that are smaller and not as starchy . I like the Baby Lima Beans. I also didn’t realize, until I was doing some research for this post, that Lima beans come in many varieties, dry, canned or frozen and can be grown from seeds. California farmers supply almost all of our country’s Lima beans. I have only had the frozen ones.

There are fun recipes to use Lima Beans in, too. Some recipes add mint, bacon and other seasonings. They can be added to soups, stews and casseroles. The options are endless!

This looks like a delicious salad! (

I asked some of my co-workers if they liked Lima beans. Most of them said that they would eat them in a soup or with other vegetables like succotash but didn’t want to eat them any other way. This poor vegetable doesn’t get any respect!

There is a children’s picture book about Lima beans, A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. In this book, Camila Cream loves Lima beans but she stops eating them because her friends don’t like them. Poor Camila!

I’m not going to be like Camila and will speak up for this misunderstood and hated vegetable. Lima beans are delicious!

Do you like Lima beans and have a favorite recipe for making them? Please share it so we can try them.