lima beans in tomatoes

My love of tomatoes runs deep and if you have peeked in here (or over on Instagram) you know that this household embraces the humble legume just as fiercely. It was only a matter of time before these two elements found their way into a singular lowercase stovetop classic (wouldn’t want to get in trouble with Kraft or McCormick or whoever it was that made that product that I remember from the 80s).

I used my favorite Christmas Limas from Rancho Gordo for today’s beans but have pulled this and variations of it together with dried lima beans from the grocery store with equally scrumptious success. The magic here is really the caramelized onions and tomatoes marinating the beans.

How to make

This is more of a template than a recipe with just a few ingredients: olive oil, onions, canned whole tomatoes, lima beans, and s&p.

It starts with caramelizing onions. If you don’t feel up to the looooooong wait to full caramelization you can brown them for as long as your patience or schedule allow knowing that the longer you let your onions cook, the more rich your flavor will be. Crush your canned tomatoes by hand and add once you are happy with your onions, salt and pepper to taste. Then add in your cooked beans. As for ratios, I like equalish parts tomatoes to beans but you can tweak this based on what you have on hand or taste. Simmer it all on low until the tomatoes reduce in volume to about half.

I eat these without any other sides generally (they are that yummy), but they would pair well with a side of well-cooked greens and/or a grain on the side.


  • Cook your lima beans with a bay leaf and drizzle of olive oil in either a slow cooker or slowly on the stove top so they don’t fall apart on you. They should be done, but firm.
  • Double your batch of caramelized onions and freeze some in portions to make shorter work of your next batch or to add to soups.
  • In the summer when there are fresh tomatoes on hand I make a brighter version with fresh tomatoes, white lima beans and onions cooked just until they start to soften.

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