Simple, easy things are best especially if you’re going through cancer treatment. During my treatment, I would often cook and freeze lima beans to use to make deliciously easy soups like this one. I happen to love lima beans, especially the large beans known as ‘gigantes’ or butter beans. They have a soft and creamy yet meaty texture that I just love. They add heft and creaminess to vegan dishes like this Leek & Lima Bean Soup. Once you have your beans, this thick nourishing soup is a snap to make. The soup is finished with an exotic tasting tangy blend of lemon, parsley and cumin that lifts its subtle flavor to perfection. It’s really, really good.
To make the beans:
1. Place the soaked beans in a heavy pot. Cover with water by ½-inch. Add the garlic and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Spoon off the foam that forms on the surface then drizzle the beans with a little olive oil. Turn down the heat to low and cover. Simmer until the beans are just soft, about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size and age of the beans. Set aside to cool. Discard the bay leaf.
1. In a Dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sautee the onions until they start to color. Add the leeks. Cook stirring for a minute until the leeks start to wilt. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and sweat partially covered until they start to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until the tomato starts to disintegrate, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the beans and their broth plus 1 cup of water. If you prefer a thinner soup, add more water. Mix well and cook until the beans can be easily mashed against the sides of the pan.
3. While the soup is cooking, pour the ½ teaspoon of salt, lemon zest and cumin onto a board and chop together until they start to look like a paste. Bundle the parsley leaves and roughly chop. Fold the salt cumin mixture into the parsley and chop them both together until well blended and the parsley is finely chopped. Stir into the soup. Let the soup sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Serve with Homemade Croutons, and with wedges of lemon on the side to squeeze into the soup to taste.
- 1 cup dried lima beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed (see Ann’s tips)
- Water, as needed
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 large leeks, white parts only, finely diced and rinsed well to remove any grit
- 3 ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 inch strip of lemon peel
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves
- Lemon wedges (optional)
Ann's Tips and Tricks
The beans can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen.
You can also use canned white beans, cannellini or navy, to make this soup. Drain and rinse them well, then in step 2, add them to the leeks and tomatoes with water or stock to cover + 3 smashed and peeled whole cloves of garlic.
I use big lima beans because I like a chunky texture for soups like this, but you prefer or need your soup smooth, baby lima beans or canned beans will do just fine. Blend the soup then sprinkle the individual bowls with the spice/herb mix instead of stirring it in family style. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
You can peel the tomatoes with a sharp peeler, or drop them into boiling water for a minute, spear them with a fork, and quickly pull the skins off starting from where the fork breaks them.