Spanish Butterbean and Vegetable Soup

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

  • About

I love the flavors of Spanish foods, and this Spanish-style soup sings the praises of fennel seeds, smoked paprika, tomatoes, bell peppers, and saffron, with the health benefits of protein, fiber, and vitamin C. I serve this soup with my Parmesan-Herb Garlic Bread.


  • quarts (10 cups) water
  • 1 cup (½ pound) dry organic lima beans, sorted for stones and rinsed
  • 2 organic bay leaves
  • 6 cloves organic garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium organic yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons organic Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter or organic vegan buttery spread
  • 1 cup chopped organic Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 large organic red bell peppers, seeded and cut into large dice
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can organic or San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon organic fennel seeds
  • A generous pinch of saffron, about 1 teaspoon
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Finely grated zest from 1 organic orange
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1 organic orange


    1. Measure the water, the sorted lima beans, and the bay leaves into a large, heavy pot. Cover and set over high heat and bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook at a medium boil for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lima beans are crisp-tender when tested with a fork (scoop a bean into a big spoon, then test it with a fork).
    2. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and continue cooking (it will return to a boil in about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the beans and peppers are tender-soft. Taste for seasonings.