Baby Lima Bean Soup

My Sicilian husband loves his lima beans, so I flavored his favorite lima bean soup with fresh vegetables and pancetta and gave it a burst more flavor to his favorite soup.

I sautéed a few carrots, celery, and an onion along with cubed pancetta (Italian-style bacon) and baby lima beans, added some chicken broth and water, then simmered the soup for 1 and 1/2 hours.  I also added in 1/2 cup of marinara sauce just before serving.  It was fantastic!

We love adding pancetta and even prosciutto into our soups, either one adds wonderful aroma flavors to the beans.  Nowadays, you can find them already cubed in easy-to-find packages in your deli section at the local supermarket.  Which is a great find!

This is an great soup to make on the weekends either on stove-top or in your slow-cooker or crock pot because you will need some time to prepare the lima beans before incorporating them into the soup.

When making lima bean soup, I use the entire bag (1 pound) of dry baby lima beans. You will need to rinse, boil and then soak them for 1 hour before using the beans in this recipe.  Also, you will need to simmer the soup for 1 and 1/2 hours. But guess what?  It's definitely all worth it.

These baby lima beans become tender and luscious, making an amazing hearty soup that is not only light and comforting, but also filling.  And, it's even high in protein and in fiber, folate and magnesium; most of all- it's big on flavor!
Even the leftovers are never a problem, since this soup freezes very well for future quick meals when you need them.  A healthy soup is pure comfort food, especially on these cold winter nights.  Enjoy!

Here's a tip: Adding some marinara sauce adds some sweetness to this soup and other recipes; but if you don't have any on hand, you can add some tomato paste (about 1/4 cup) and sauté the paste with the beans before adding the broth.

Baby Lima Bean Soup

  • 1 pound dry Baby Lima Beans
  • 8 cups of boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion-chopped
  • 4 small carrots-chopped
  • 2 stalks celery -chopped
  • 2 ounces (about 6 Tbsp.) cubed pancetta
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce

Rinse and sort beans. Add 1 pound of beans to a pot filled with 8 cups of hot water and on high heat, boil beans in rapid boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and set aside for 1 hour.  Drain soak water and rinse beans again in cold water.

In a soup pot or a slow cooked pot, sauté on medium heat the vegetables and pancetta in olive oil until the pancetta are cooked and onions and celery have softened, about 5 minutes.

Add lima beans and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the broth, water and cayenne pepper.
Cover and simmer the soup on low heat, for 1 + 1/2 hours.
Lima beans should be soften and tender to the bite. Turn off heat.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in 1/2 cup of marinara sauce.
Serve warm.

Yields: about 2 quarts
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