By Mayo Clinic Staff

Dietitian's tip:

Also known as butter beans, fresh lima beans are creamy with a mild flavor. Keep an eye out for them at your farmers market. Fresh fava (broad) beans are a good substitute in this flavorful side dish.

Number of servings

Serves 6


  1. 4 pounds fresh lima beans, shelled, or 2 packages frozen lima beans, thawed
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 tomato, peeled and seeded, then diced
  4. 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 cup vegetable stock or broth
  10. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley


Bring a large saucepan 3/4 full of water to a boil. Add the lima beans and cook until just tender-crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomato, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and salt. Saute until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the cooked lima beans and simmer, uncovered, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Serving size :About 1/2 cup

  • Total carbohydrate 26 g
  • Dietary fiber 6 g
  • Sodium 157 mg
  • Saturated fat < 1 g
  • Total fat 5 g
  • Trans fat 0 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Protein 7 g
  • Monounsaturated fat 4 g
  • Calories 177
  • Added sugars 0 g

This recipe is one of 150 recipes collected in "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook," published by Mayo Clinic Health Information and Oxmoor House, and winner of the 2005 James Beard award.

Oct. 20, 2012