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Lima Bean Soup Or Ragut

Experiment with cooking beans from dry for this recipe. You can inject a lot of flavor this way.

Lima Bean Soup

Photo: Sarah Kaiser/WFIU

This soup will warm your belly in these cold winter months. Add a sprig of rosemary to the bowl for extra seasoning and garnish.

No More Canned Bean

Cooking beans from dry may take longer, but we think it’s worth it in the end. The thing with cooking beans from dry is that you can inject a lot of flavor into the beans.

I start off with some olive oil and garlic in a pan and then — this is one of my secrets — once the garlic starts to brown, I add rosemary for a nice rustic flavor. You can reuse this trick when you’re trying to spruce up some canned tomato sauce. It will taste like you’ve been cooking it for hours!

However, you certainly can pre-soak beans if you like. They will cook faster that way. To do this, add one part beans to three parts water and soak them for 6 hours before you start cooking.

Whatever you do, make sure to pick through the Lima beans and remove non-bean materials before you start cooking. And don’t forget to rinse the beans to wash off any “insect material.”

Lima Bean Soup Or Ragut


  • 1/2 pound washed Lima beans
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 chopped onion (red or white)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots (other root vegetables of your choice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups water

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large pot with olive oil, toast the garlic. Add leaves from the rosemary sprig once garlic has browned.
  2. Add beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, carrots, bay leaves, and water. (Err on the side of adding too little water at first. You can always add more later, but you can’t take it out!)
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer until beans become soft.
  4. Serve as a soup or a sauce over fish.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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