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Lima Bean Puree


Ingredients

  • 3 10 ounce packages frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine 6 cups water, lima beans, garlic, and rosemary sprig in large saucepan. Boil until beans are very soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. Discard rosemary sprig. Transfer bean mixture to processor. Add butter and puree until smooth, adding some of reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls as needed to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding more reserved cooking liquid as needed to moisten.)

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After beans boil for a minute, strain the beans and wash them well.

Wash the pot at the same time.

Place washed beans back into clean pot.

Add water to cover and place back on stove.

Turn heat down and simmer beans for about 90 minutes, or until very tender.

Strain cooked beans and place into a food processor.


Place 2 tablespoons oil into a hot pan.

Add garlic & rosemary sizzle both together for a few seconds.

Add cooked garlic-rosemary and oil to beans.

Add the rest of the oil, lemon juice, salt and peppers to the beans.

Run food processor for a couple of minutes, until beans are well pureed.

You may need to add a bit of the cooking liquid to the beans if they get too dry.

If you love lima beans you will love this recipe. You can serve the lima bean puree as you would serve mashed potatoes.
They go great with many of the lean protein recipes such as grilled pork or chicken.


  • 2 Aji Amarillo soaked for 12 hours
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Layover in Peru spice blend, ground
  • 1 cup carrots, cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups cooked Lima beans
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped parsley

Put Ajis along with 4 Tbsp of their soaking water and 4 Tbsp olive oil in a blender or food processor. Grind for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce to a fine purée. Set aside.

Make a sofrito by letting the onions sweat in 6 Tbsp olive oil on low heat (10 to 15 minutes).

Once onions are golden, add garlic and ground spices and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add carrots, beans and enough of their cooking water to make a sauce. Salt to taste.

Simmer for 15 minutes, until carrots are al dente. Incorporate the Aji purée. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. Garnish with chopped parsley.


2 thoughts on &ldquo Lima Bean Rosemary Puree – Light Version &rdquo

HI Nathan, Still wishing I could save your recipes, esp this one. This would be perfect for a party. I was wondering if you have any recipes for using tarragon. I have made tarragon vinegar, but after that and sauce, I am out of ideas. Got any? My plant came back in full force this year.

On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 10:02 AM, Chef Nathan Lyon wrote:

> Chef Nathan Lyon posted: “Dip into this delicious dip any day of the week! > Lima Bean Rosemary Puree 1 lb (approximately 3 cups/1 bag) frozen lima > beans 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (1 5-inch sprig) ¼ cup 2% > plain Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons extra-virgin” >

How about making fine herbes: equal parts finely chopped fresh chervil, chives, flat leaf parsely & tarragon. Mix with eggs for the morning, throw on roasted chicken – dry it out and use in soups, stews, etc.


Minted Lima Bean Puree

I first tasted a fava bean the summer of 1997 on a farm in Gisborne, Australia.
My father had passed away that September and in December, we went to have Christmas with our friends on their farm in the country outside Melbourne. I spent many hours walking through the acres of beautiful gardens, sitting on the bench by the pond, and thinking about Dad. I felt much sadness that Christmas time, but being in the Antipodean summer heat so far away from the chill of California,
was refreshing and restoring.

We decorated the Christmas tree, secretly wrapped gifts that Santa would leave by the fireplace for our young children, and picked vegetables for our simple, fresh dinners. The garden must have been a full acre, the large raised beds in long rows, surrounded by fruit orchards, an enormous compost bin, and a chicken coop providing fresh eggs. There was an entire bed each of asparagus, peas, lettuces, carrots, tomatoes and more. Plants of all kinds produced vegetables in quantities well sufficient for a house full of children and adults. The most memorable to me that year were the fava beans.

I don’t believe I had ever seen a fava bean, also known as broad bean, before that summer.
At least I hadn’t seen one still in the pod on the plant. The Gisborne garden had an abundance of them, tall and rigid and unruly in their growth. The plants are popular in producing gardens because they are a cover crop used to nourish the soil in between plantings and restore the nitrogen. Many people don’t bother with the actual harvesting of the beans which, as I discovered, is quite a labor of love. We enlisted the children to help pick and returned to the kitchen with a large bowl filled to the rim with extra-large bean pods. It takes many hands to make light work of fava beans. You shell and boil and peel before you arrive at the soft green kernel suitable to eat. But with a little fresh mint and butter, they were worth the effort and I had discovered a new food that we all enjoyed.

Returning to California, tanned and relaxed and ready for the new year, I set out to relive the joy of the fava beans. I looked for recipes and searched the grocery for them and eventually, after time and life took over, I forgot about them and never made them after that lovely Australian Christmas day.

Years later, I saw a photo that took me back to my time on the farm when I was grieving my father, and I thought of the fava beans. However, fava beans were no more available or any less work than in the past so I decided to do as I usually do and make something inspired by the farm favas. I bought frozen lima beans, picked fresh mint and lemons from my garden, and adapted a Martha Stewart recipe for fava bean crostini. My lima bean puree has been called many things over the years, including “that green spread stuff” by one of my children, but history has proven that it is a simple, reliable and delicious appetizer that is loved by all.

“Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.” -Marcel Proust

2 cups frozen lima beans, thawed in cold water
3 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T. lemon juice
Parmesan Crisps OR crackers and Paremsan cheese for serving.
Special Equipment: Food Processor

Drain lima beans. Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Remove to a bowl and chill until ready to serve.
Spread a generous amount of the spread onto a parmesan crisp and top with a small mint leaf or piece of a leaf.
Parmesan crisps are available at many gourmet shops and grocery stores. They are also quite easy to make by frying mounds of fresh grated parmesan cheese in a nonstick skillet until melted and slightly brown.

Note: Hubby is not a huge fan of parmesan crisps and he prefers the puree spread on a cracker with a shaving of fresh parmesan cheese on top.


Deliciously Creamy Lima Bean Soup

I’m here to make more promises! Oh, yes, I am! This soup is phenomenal. Really. I’m sure you’re thinking that lima beans are the last thing you’d describe as phenomenal, but trust me this silky smooth, hearty soup is nothing short of amazing. Even if you despise lima beans, I’m willing to place bets that you’ll actually like this soup because when lima’s are pureed their creamy texture lends itself to a delicious soup base. No mealiness found here!

What I love about this soup and why I’ve been making it for many years is because it’s incredibly quick to put together (almost instant to make), it’s tasty, hearty, satisfying and loaded with protein, fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, and manganese. So to break that down, it’s healthy, fast, and delectable!

Lima Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 10 oz. bags of frozen lima beans
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 heaping teaspoons dried thyme (don’t forget this ingredient—IMO, it completely makes the soup!)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook Beans: Empty both bags of frozen lima beans in a medium pot and fill with just enough water to cover. Cook the beans over high heat until they boil. Reduce the head to low, cover, and cook until heated through—about 10 minutes.

Sautee Veggies: While the beans are cooking, pour the olive oil in a medium saute pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 7-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the carrots and garlic and saute for another 7 minutes.

Puree Beans: While the veggies are cooking and after the beans are heated through, puree the beans in their cooking liquid either directly in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until silky smooth. Return the pureed beans to the cooking pot and then add the cooked veggies. Add the dried thyme (I like to rub it between my hands to allow the flavors to come through more before adding it), salt, and pepper. At this point, you can either cook the soup for another 15 minutes on low heat or, if you’re pleased with the tenderness of the veggies and the flavors of the soup, eat it now.

Note: The rosemary garnish is completely unnecessary and would be ridiculous to actually eat with this soup—I just thought it needed some kind of accessory in order to be more photogenic and that was the best I could find in my fridge :). A few fresh thyme leaves would be more appropriate.


1. Remove all the rosemary leaves from the branches except 2 inches’ worth at the top of each. Cut the leafless end of the branch at an angle with a sharp knife to make a point (this will make it easier to skewer the lamb). Coarsely chop the rosemary leaves you removed from the branches.

2. Cut the lamb into 1-to-1 1/2-inch-thick 2-ounce pieces.

3. Season the lamb with 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves, the smashed garlic, thyme, and cracked black pepper. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking, and take the lamb out of the refrigerator so it comes to room temperature.

4. Skewer three pieces of lamb onto each rosemary branch. The pieces on each skewer should be of similar thickness and not skewered too tightly or they will not cook evenly.

5. Stir the feta into the salsa verde. Taste for seasoning. It does not usually need salt but might need lemon and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.

6. When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the lamb skewers with olive oil, and season generously with salt. Place the lamb on the grill, and cook 3 minutes on each side, rotating the skewers a few times to get nice color, until they’re medium-rare.

7. Spoon the warm lima bean purée onto a large warm platter. Scatter the dandelion greens over it, and arrange the skewers on top. Spoon some of the French feta salsa verde over the lamb, and serve the rest on the side.


Lamb Skewers: Entree or Appetizer

I believe that I cook more lamb than beef. Lamb is a natural for a stew or whereas lamb ribs are great for a summer bbq. But I was looking for something a bit different and found it in “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” by kitchen goddess Suzanne Goin.

There are many lamb haters out there. These lamb haters feel the meat is too gamey and are turned off. Nine times out of ten the reason for the gaminess is the fat. But this recipe uses clean cubes of lamb. I’ve overheard party guests say that these lamb skewers are the “best beef they every tasted”.

The paring of lamb, feta mint is a home run. I’ve made this recipe for dinner many times and have converted lamb haters to the fold.


Since this is a grilled lamb dish with a short cooking time it’s best to use leg of lamb or sirloin.


Shiroan (白餡 or 白あん) is the smooth and sweet white paste called an (餡) or anko (餡子) made from lima beans or butter beans, or in Japanese, Shiro Ingen Mame (白いんげん豆). The beans are hulled, simmered till tender, drained, and pureed/passed through before sugar is added to sweeten the paste.

You may be familiar with red bean paste made from azuki beans. The red bean paste has two types non-hulled and coarse paste “Tsubuan” (粒餡) and hulled and smooth paste “Koshian” (漉し餡). However, the white bean paste is always hulled and smooth Koshian.

Frequently Asked Questions on White Bean Paste

1. What types of white beans should I use?

Use lima beans (butter beans) or navy beans. I used Shirohana Mame (白花豆) from Hokkaido in this recipe (bought in Japan).

2. Can I reduce the amount of sugar?

You can, but typical traditional recipes require ⅔ to 1 part of sugar for 1 part of dried beans (in some cases, more than 1 part). You can replace sugar with a healthier alternative, such as maple syrup or honey but the paste will be more liquidy and the flavor can be overpowering.

Sugar is necessary for the preservation of the bean paste, but if you are going to consume it soon, you can reduce the amount slightly.

3. Is salt necessary?

You may wonder why salt (or salty taste) is required in the mixture when you are trying to sweeten. Adding some salt contrarily makes it taste a lot sweeter and brings out more flavors.

4. Can I use a pressure cooker instead of simmering on the stove?

Yes, you can cut down on the cooking time by using a pressure cooker (Instant Pot). According to the Instant Pot, it takes 6-10 minutes for soaked lima beans and 7-8 minutes for soaked navy beans. However, for making white bean paste, I use high pressure for 15-20 minutes and run the food processor.

5. Can I use a food processor instead of pressing through the fine-mesh sieve?

Yes, you can use a food processor or blender to make a smooth puree. But even though you don’t have these kitchen appliances, you can use a fine-mesh sieve to make a fine and smooth puree.

Do you have any other questions? Please leave a comment below.

Japanese Sweets Recipes with White Bean Paste

You can simply replace the red bean paste with white bean paste for wagashi, Japanese confectionery. Here are some recipes you may like to try:

Try These White Bean Paste Variations

You may not see white bean paste as often, but instead, you will see colorful fillings that are made of white bean paste. To improve the taste of bland white bean paste, it is often mixed with other aromatic and colorful ingredients like the ones below:

  • Matcha An (抹茶餡) – 100 g white bean paste + 2 g matcha (green tea powder)
  • Sakura An (桜餡) – 100 g white bean paste + 5 g salted cherry blossoms
  • Miso An (味噌餡) – 100 g white bean paste + 10 g sweet saikyo miso
  • Kabocha An (南瓜餡) – 100 g white bean paste + 100 g kabocha (pumpkin/squash) puree
  • Kimi An (黄身餡) – 150 g white bean paste + 1 egg yolk
  • Kuri An (栗餡) – white bean paste + kuri kanroni
  • Yuzu An (柚子餡) – white bean paste + yuzu zest
  • Kurumi An (胡桃餡) – white bean paste + chopped chest
  • Goma An (胡麻餡) – white bean paste + ground sesame seeds

White bean paste is also used to make Nerikiri combined with gyuhi (soft mochi). Add a few dollops of food coloring to create beautiful wagashi (picture above).

Are you looking forward to experimenting with wagashi filled with white bean paste? I’d love to see your creations!

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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