The lima bean is a contentious bean – you either love it or really hate it. An excellent source of fiber and protein, the lima bean has an earthy and buttery taste.
Lima beans are frequently used in soups, casseroles, and stews. They’re also great as a standalone side dish. But what do you do if you need a substitute?
The best substitutes for lima beans include fava beans, white and red kidney beans, soybeans, and the allergy-friendly alternative, quinoa.
Substitutes for Lima Beans
All of these alternatives have a unique flavor profile, however, they won’t mess up your recipe if it originally calls for lima beans.
1. Fava Beans
Also known as ‘horse’ beans, fava beans have a similar nutty taste to lima beans, making them a great alternative.
Fava beans are green, flat legumes and can be eaten cooked or raw. Make sure you remove their skin before eating – otherwise you’ll have digestive problems abound!
You can prepare fava beans just like you would lima beans – just know they’ll have a slightly firmer texture than lima beans when cooked.
2. Kidney Beans
Both red and white kidney beans are excellent alternatives to lima beans. The two kinds vary slightly in terms of cooking time and texture.
Red Kidney Beans
The cooking process for red kidney beans is similar to that of lima beans, so you won’t need to switch things up too much. Keep in mind that you’ll need to soak your beans before cooking if you’re using dried beans.
Red kidney beans will add a stronger flavor to your dish than lima beans. That said, they’re a great substitute for stews and chili beans.
White Kidney Beans
Perhaps even more similar to lima beans than red kidney beans, white kidney beans are another great alternative to lima beans.
White kidney beans have an even nuttier taste than red kidney beans. They also take a bit longer to cook, given their firmer texture.
As with red kidney beans, you’ll need to soak white kidney beans before use if you’re using dried ones.
Perhaps the most versatile of legumes, soybeans work in a multitude of recipes. They will need to be cooked longer than you might cook lima beans in order to achieve the same buttery texture.
If you decide to cook soybeans with their skins on, let them cool and peel the skins off before adding to your dish or consuming. The skins’ texture is unpleasant and tough.
If you have an allergy to legumes, quinoa is the lima bean alternative for you! This seed texture is not similar to that of lima beans in the slightest, but the nutty flavor of quinoa is excellent in stews, soups, and casseroles.
When using quinoa in soups and stews be sure to compensate with slightly more water or broth than you would normally use. This is because quinoa is more absorbent than lima beans.
Tip: Don’t have quinoa on hand? Couscous, crushed durum wheat semolina, is another great alternative. Try not to use couscous in soups as it will lose its texture and become mushy.
You can usually find fresh, dried, canned, or frozen lima beans in your local grocery store. That said, if you don’t have any on hand or can’t find them, you can still make a tasty recipe using these substitutes.
Are Butter Beans a Suitable Alternative for Lima Beans?
Butter beans and lima beans are the same things – their name just varies by region! So, if you can’t find lima beans, but you see butter beans, you’ll have the exact same result when cooking.