This Peruvian Lima bean recipe (ensalada de pallares) is a highly underrated bean salad. It’s got flavor, texture, and is healthy.
Growing up in Texas I’ve had my share of blackeyed pea salads aka “Texas Caviar” and this Lima bean salad is very similar in taste profile and technique. Lima or butter beans are common to soul food/southern cooking, but I first encountered this dish during a visit to Peru in Lima of all places.
It was during a summer of firsts- my first triathlon, my first trip to Peru, etc. The fact that I was on an 8-hour flight to Peru three hours after completing said triathlon and hiking Macchu Picchu a few days later is a story to be told in another post, but that summer was essentially the summer of pain, summer of bucket list check-offs, and summer of the Peru culinary influence.
Lima Bean Salad Recipe Ingredients
The biggest difference from Texas Caviar I noticed was the presence of cabbage so in this way the salad has slaw characteristics. Given the amount of cabbage (Cabbage Soup and Cabbage & Beef Saute) we eat in our household the addition of this to the recipe is welcomed. This is a light salad but the combination of Lima beans and cabbage adds some heft to it.
How to make this Lima Bean Recipe (Step by Step)
Step 1: Soak the beans overnight
Step 2: cook the beans
Step 3: drain the beans
Step 4: Assemble the salad
I treat this dish like a slaw and serve as part of my bbq menu. Serve with dishes like:
Lima Bean Salad Expert Cooking Tips
- If using dried Lima beans, be sure to soak overnight and use ample amounts of water when cooking as you want that puffy smooth texture for this salad.
- Overcooking can lead to mushy beans, so be careful and check firmness/doneness after about 30 minutes of cooking. Lima beans should be slightly firm.
- I used fresh oregano, but feel free to use your preferred herbs. Flat parsley and cilantro work well with this recipe.
- Lastly, technique is important with this recipe, particularly for ingredients like the cabbage which needs to be thinly sliced like the pepper and onions. This aids the character of the salad as well as texture and presentation.
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- 1 1/2 cups dried large lima beans
- 1/4 cabbage
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced red or yellow bell pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 radishes diced fine
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
- Soak the beans overnight.
- Rinse beans and place in a large pot of water about 3-4 cups to soak overnight.
- Drain the beans then bring to a boil in a fresh pot of water. Reduce and let simmer for an hour. Check frequently after 30 minutes of cooking as you want the bean to be tender but not mushy soft. Drain then put aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the drained and cooled lima beans with the the cabbage, tomatoes,peppers,onions, and radishes. In a small bowl whisk in the lime juice, vinegar, oregano, and olive oil. Season to taste with pepper. Toss the dressing into the lima beans and vegetables. Let it sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Give it one final toss before serving.