Lemon–Lima Bean Soup

by Brenda Langton, Tastemaker in Residence


If you think you don’t like lima beans, this soup will win you over. It’s a simple and straightforward variation of traditional Greek avgolemono. // serves 6 to 8


5 cups cooked lima beans (2 cups dried)

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

8 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons salt

11⁄2 teaspoons dried sage

Zest of 1 lemon

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice


  1. If you are using dried lima beans, soak the beans for 3 to 4 hours. Rinse the beans and place them in a large saucepan with enough water to cover the beans completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the beans. The beans will not be quite done, but will continue to cook in the soup. Remove any skins that have slipped off the beans. 

  2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Cook the onions slowly for 30 minutes over medium to low heat, stirring often, until they are caramelized. If the onions start to stick to the pan, turn down the heat.

  3. Add the celery and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes, until the celery is soft.

  4. Combine the beans, stock, and sautéed vegetables in
a large soup pot. Add the salt, sage, and lemon zest. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat. Gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice just before serving.