White Lima Beans with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Preparation info

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    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

We used to cook dried beans on top of the stove in lots of liquid, but then we learned to bake them. Baking is a relatively mindless, labor-free method, for there is no stirring or other attention required. Just place the beans in a baking dish, add seasonings and unsalted broth or water, cover, and bake. We’ve even baked beans this way without soaking them first. The beans needed about thirty minutes more baking time, and the results were excellent.


  • cups dried medium or large white lima beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 leafy rib celery
  • 1 garlic clove, bruised
  • 2 to 3 cups water or unsalted Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup diced (½ inch) ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


    1. Rinse the beans and soak them as described. Next day drain the beans, discarding the water.
    2. Heat the oven to 350°F.
    3. Place the beans in a casserole and add the bay leaf, celery, garlic, and enough water or broth to cover the beans. Cover and bake until the beans are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 1½ hours. Cool slightly. As beans cook they will absorb most of the liquid.
    4. Combine the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a serving bowl. Add the beans and stir to blend. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.