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Lima Bean

Lima bean, also popularly called as butter bean, belongs to the legume family. The botanical name of this South American bean is Phaseolus Lunatus. There are two main varieties: one is a large curved, flat and green, and the other is a smaller variety which is also called the sieva type. It is called as sem phalli in India. They are also called as sugar beans, haba beans, guffin beans, hibbert beans, pallar beans, civet beans, burma beans and Madagascar beans. The size of the beans varies from 1 cm to 3 cm. They are either available fresh or dried.

Origin and History

Lima bean is majorly of two origins, Andean and Mesoamerica. They were first cultivated in the Andean region around 2000 BC. A smaller variety was cultivated in the Mesoamerican region around 800 AD. People from the Moche civilization grew lima beans and also depicted them in various arts.

Preferable Cooking Techniques

· Lima beans can be cooked by soaking in water for about 6 – 8 hours and then pressure cooking. When the beans are cooked, they have a soft texture.

· Fresh beans can be cooked without soaking.

Culinary uses

· Lima beans are used extensively in South American cooking.

· It can be cooked, mashed and seasoned to make a healthy and nutritious side dish.

· The boiled bean can be used to make a salad or a casserole.

· It can also be used to make pot meals and savoury soufflés.

Popular Recipes

· Lima bean bake is the most popular recipe made using lima beans. Canned lima beans, milk, cream, eggs, cheese, butter and seasonings are used to make this casserole. All the ingredients except beans are mixed to make a creamy base. Lima beans and other ingredients like mushrooms, corn or carrots can also be added to make the dish. It is spooned into a baking dish and baked at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes.

· Lima bean soufflé is a baked savoury dish made using separated eggs, cooked beans, cheese and seasonings. Eggs yolks are whisked along with melted cheese, mashed beans and seasonings. Egg whites are beaten till soft peaks and the yolk mixture is folded in and spooned in soufflé ramekins. It is then baked till it rises.

· Southern style butter beans is a dish made with chicken and lima beans. The ingredients are cooking in roux along with seasonings till chicken and beans are tender.

Health and Nutrition Facts

Serving size – 100 g cooked beans

Calories – 115 cal, Fat – 0 g, Protein – 8 g, Dietary fiber – 7 g, Total Carbohydrate – 21 g

· Lima bean is low in calories and fat. It is very high in protein and fiber.

· It contains both soluble as well as insoluble fiber. It helps to lower blood sugar levels and also cholesterol. It helps to avoid problems like constipation and digestive disorders.

· It is a very good source of minerals like manganese, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium.

· Almost 100% daily requirement of molybdenum is met by eating one serving of cooked lima beans. Molybdenum is very essential for iron utilization, it also acts as a cofactor for sulphite oxidase, xanthine oxidase and aldehyde oxidase.

· Eating lima beans helps to prevent the body from gastroesophageal cancer and persistent problems like asthama.

Buying and Storing

· If dried lima beans are bought, they should be stored in an air tight container.

· Fresh lima beans should not have soft and dark spots. It can be refrigerated up to a week. It is best to consume it as soon as it is bought.


· Lima is the name of a city in Peru.