Butter beans (also known as Lima beans) are a very understated and versatile ingredient originating from Meso- and South America.
Being soft and creamy, they taste great and are a fantastic alternative ingredient. They are also beneficial to your health, including being a great source of fibre, copper, iron, potassium and manganese. For example, they aid towards lowering cholesterol levels, and help stabilize blood sugar levels. (For further information about any health benefits, and the proof behind them, feel free to get in touch). Even for those sensitive to sulphates, butter beans contain a mineral that creates an enzyme crucial to the detoxification of sulphates.
As it’s supposed to be getting hotter, we were initially planning on a summer recipe. However with the current cold and rain coming across, it was difficult to decide between that and a warming recipe. As we couldn’t choose, here are 2 recipes for you to decide between:
Zesty butter bean, fig and quinoa salad
Hearty butter bean mash
In the recipes, we use the weight of ‘soaked, cooked and drained butter beans.’ You can use tinned butter beans, but if you have enough time, then we would recommend buying dry butter beans. To get the dried butter beans ready for the recipe, we recommend soaking the beans in cold water for 6-8 hours/overnight, then draining, before simmering the beans for an hour. They are now ready to use.
Before we get to our recipes, here's a couple of other super tasty recipe ideas:
1. Try substituting chickpeas for butter beans in beetroot hummus, or smoked paprika hummus!
2. Blend cooked butter beans with herbs and mushrooms to create a herby veggie pâté
Zesty Butter Bean, Fig & Quinoa Salad
This is a taste sensation, adventurous, and the ingredients are very flexible (most can either be swapped or even taken out, depending on availability and taste). Our dry ingredients are sourced from Lemon & Jinja, while the veg and fresh herbs are sourced from our local greengrocers (Longs, Romsey). We encourage people to use seasonal veg if possible. The figs and goji berries are used to sweeten the salad up a little, but obviously can be taken out/added dependent on taste. Another benefit of this recipe is that it can be created without the use of an oven. (We’ve cooked the spring cabbage slightly, but this is not necessary).
Due to the versatility of this dish, it can be used as a meal, as a side dish, or even buffet style (e.g. at a barbeque).
Serves: 2-3 people (full meal); 5-6 people (side dish)
Time to make: 20-30 mins
- 350g soaked, cooked, and drained butter beans (similar to 1 can drained butter beans)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 50g uncooked quinoa (we used red quinoa)
- 3-4 large leaves of spring cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 med carrot, grated
- 1/2 sprig parsley, finely chopped
- 6 cherry vine tomatoes, quartered/eighth-ed
- 1 tbsp olive oil/rapeseed oil
- 2 dried figs, roughly chopped (if you fancy it)
- Handful of goji berries (if you fancy it)
- Small sprig of parsley to garnish
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ lemon, juice
- Pinch of oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine all ingredients for the dressing and leave to marinade
2. Rinse the quinoa. Boil water in a saucepan, then add the quinoa to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil on a high heat, then add the garlic and spring cabbage for a couple of minutes until slightly seared. Take off the heat.
4. Drain most of the water from the quinoa and cover for roughly 8 minutes. The quinoa should be fluffy and light, easily separable with a fork.
5. Combine all ingredients for the salad together, including the cabbage.
6. Stir in the dressing.
Examples of other seasonal veg to add in or swap around: purple sprouting, cabbage, broccoli, fine green beans.
Most other grains can be swapped for the quinoa; e.g. buckwheat, couscous, puy lentils, rice.
Hearty Butter Bean Mash
This winter warmer is not only super tasty, but also very quick to make. It makes a fantastic alternative to potato mash, and is delicious coupled with bangers (vegan/veg/meat - whatever your preference) and gravy, or stew.
We’ve added in a nutty twist of cashews to give it a crunch, which can obviously be left out if wanted.. We do love a chunky mash (as in this recipe), but to get a creamier blend, just add the mixture into a food processor/blender rather than the hand blender we used. Additionally to make it more creamy (for vegans), the cashews can be soaked beforehand for 4-6 hours/overnight to soften them up, or nut milk/dairy-free butter can be used as an alternate. For the non-vegans, butter/milk or cream can be used.
Rosemary has been used in this recipe, but could be easily swapped out for parsley or thyme. Or even try smoked paprika, or curry/garam masala and cumin powder, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Serves: 2 people
Time to make: 15 mins
- 350g butter beans
- ¼ lemon, juice (for a tangier taste, add more lemon juice)
- 1 sprig rosemary, roughly chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Olive oil/rapeseed oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 40 g cashews (if you fancy it)
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, then add the garlic, onion and rosemary
2. If adding cashews, throw them in the pan also with about 50 ml water, then cook off the water
3. Add the butter beans and softly heat for another 4 minutes, then take off the heat
4. Add the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste
5. For a chunky mash: blend with a hand blender to your liking
For a smooth mash: blend in a food processor/blender for at least 20 seconds, adding olive oil (or water/nut milk) gradually to your liking.
6. To finish, garnish with rosemary and crushed black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil
Hope you enjoy our recipes! And we welcome any feedback!