Give lima beans another chance

For The Press

By combining several varieties of colorful beans you can create an attractive dish with plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Kidney and garbanzo beans are familiar to many Americans, but it's the less-known butter beans that provide the earthy quality in this dish.

Butter beans, popular in the South, are a seed and considered a vegetable. There are two main varieties: the slightly curved flat green beans (often called lima beans) and the lighter colored ones called the sieva bean. Sieva is the butter bean referred to in Southern cuisine. Lima beans are thought to have been first cultivated in the South American Andes Mountains and the smaller sieva beans in Mexico.

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You can find fresh butter beans grown in the U.S. from late spring into summer or in the frozen section when not in season. Mature butter beans are dried and may be prepared as you would other dry beans.

So, forget any school cafeteria bias you may have against lima beans, because well-prepared butter beans have a rich flavor and smooth texture.

The onion, celery, tomato, flavorful herbs and simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and lemon make this a garden-fresh salad.

You can pair it with a sandwich of cucumbers and thinly sliced avocado for an earthy and satisfying meal.

Want something a little heartier? Serve with a cup of tomato soup.

The American Institute

for Cancer Research

Mediterranean Bean Salad


• 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

• 1 15-ounce can butter beans, rinsed and drained

• 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

• 1/2 small red onion, chopped fine

• 1 celery stalk, chopped fine

• 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

• 1/2 to 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

• 1/4 cup basil, chopped fine

• 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine

• 2 tomatoes, diced

Dressing Ingredients:

• 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

• 1 tablespoon vinegar (either white wine or apple cider work well)

• Juice of one lemon

• 1/2 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


In large bowl combine beans. Mix in onion, celery, garlic, parsley, basil and rosemary, adding tomatoes last to keep them from unnecessarily breaking apart.

In separate mixing bowl whisk together dressing ingredients. Add dressing to beans and toss gently to coat.

Chill for at least an hour to allow beans to absorb the flavor of the dressing. Re-toss gently and serve.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Information per Serving: 190 calories, 7 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein, 8 g dietary fiber, 228 mg sodium.

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