Lima Bean Stew Recipe with Olives and Kale | Stew Recipes | PBS Food

Lima Bean Stew with Olives, Tomatoes, and Kale

Lima Bean Stew recipe

Serve this warming stew recipe with crusty sourdough bread. (Recipe Credit: Aube Giroux of Kitchen Vignettes)


Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 cup of dry lima beans (about 3 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled, separated, and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup chopped garlic)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed dry thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 to 6 large kale leaves, finely chopped (about 2 cups chopped kale, loosely packed)
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock or water (more or less depending on how thick you like your stew)


  1. To prepare the beans: If you can, soak and prepare dry beans instead of using canned beans for this recipe (I always make more than the recipe calls for, so I can snack on them as well). To prepare the lima beans from scratch, simply place them in a bowl of warm water, making sure the water covers them by at least 2 inches. Leave them to soak for abut 12 to 18 hours, changing the water about halfway through. Once the beans have finished soaking, drain them and rinse them well, then place in them in a medium lidded pot filled with fresh water, covering the beans by at least 2 inches. Do not add any salt to the cooking water or it will toughen the beans as they cook. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat down to a low gentle simmer. Depending on the size of the bean, they can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes to cook. Be sure to check them often after the initial 30 minutes of cooking, piercing them with a fork or tasting them frequently to make sure they don't overcook (overcooked lima beans can easily turn to mush, as I've sadly experienced on a few occasions). They are ready when they're soft and tender but still holding their shape. Once they're cooked, drain them and let them cool, then place them aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. To prepare the stew: In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the onions in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the finely chopped garlic, salt, smoked paprika, and thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the garlic is fragrant and soft. Add the red wine and olives, cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes. After about 20 minutes, add the chopped kale, half of the chopped parsley, black pepper, and drained lima beans and cook for about another 10 minutes.
  3. Taste the stew. If it's too thick for your liking, add a little water or vegetable stock. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the stew hot, with grated parmesan, a sprinkling of the remaining chopped parsley on top, and some nice crusty bread.
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