Luscious Limas

Learning to Love Limas

A lima bean side dish that kids will eat? Sign us up.

Dr. Miles Hassell and his 6-year-old son, cooking together in their kitchen.

Dr. Miles Hassell and his 6-year-old son, cooking together in their kitchen.

Children generally love junk food, which is engineered to seduce taste buds, right away. And that can be a problem. To compete, good, homemade food needs to practically leap off the plate with excitement.

This can be as simple as making judicious use of things like healthy fat and flavor, as with the following recipe – the baby lima beans are dressed in a shiny coat of olive oil and enlived with garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Even though we all know grown-ups who won’t touch lima beans, children generally love this particular

I made this recipe for the first time for my buddy Robbie when he was about 1½ years old, and he thought they were very good. (He was a man of few words but he had strong opinions about food, and his judgments were usually accurate.) At the time of this writing Robbie is in college, but he still likes Luscious Limas. Is there a higher recommendation?

Luscious Limas

Serves 4

Frozen baby green lima beans in 10- or 16-ounce packages, are in the frozen vegetable section of your supermarket. Look for beans that break up easily when you handle them — if they are in a solid icy clump it’s a bad sign. If the beans look shriveled when you open the bag or box, the situation is possibly hopeless. They will probably taste freezer-burnt and won’t soften much as they cook. Also, you can substitute any fresh frozen beans, like speckled butter beans, black-eyed peas, or green soybeans (edamame).

1 bag (16 ounces) frozen baby lima beans

1 cup water

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly crushed garlic

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring water and salt to boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add beans and bring back to a boil, gently breaking up any big clumps. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 7-10 minutes or until tender. Beans should be tender, but not mushy.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in your mixing bowl. Drain cooked beans and add to the oil and vinegar mixture and toss. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then toss again. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Miles Hassell, M.D., is an internist in private practice at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and co-author with his sister, Mea Hassell, of Good Food, Great Medicine. See for more information.

By Miles Hassell, M.D.

PDX Parent Staff
PDX Parent Staff

Latest posts by PDX Parent Staff (see all)