Slow Cooker Lima Beans in Tomato Sauce

I have high hopes. My hopes are that everyone is going to be thinking “oh yeah, lima beans, my favorite!”. The realities are that I might not get an overwhelming response from this post which is a damn shame. A REAL damn shame because for those of you who have never tried lima beans, I wish you knew how lovely they are because you would scream ‘yum!’ or ‘ I want to try those!’ upon the sight of these delicious buttery beans. Alas, I am no fool, beans are a hard sell. I’m still going to try though, so here are my sales pitches.

What if I called them by their Greek name gigantes (giants! cute right?), would that make you feel more like eating lima beans? I sure wish it did, but cute names for under appreciated food doesn’t often work, therefore I am employing other tactics.

Taste maybe? These beans are soft, tender, and delicately simmered in a rich tomato sauce. They are to ‘try’ for, get it? As in ‘to die for’, ok not helping.

Cost? It will cost you less than $5 to make a pot of beans for a week. What do you have to lose? Certainly not your fortune!

If prospects as intriguing as adventure, great taste and even the possibility to save money all failed, what about minimizing effort put into meal preparation? Will the idea of ‘cooking while you work and coming home to a warm pot of beans’ help you on a rainy day? I think so! That is some major spirit lifting in my books. Or if it’s really warming up where you are now, do you really want to turn on the oven? I would hope not, you have beer to drink and sun to dance in. 

Plea-bargaining. Just make the beans, please, they won’t disappoint, they take minimal effort, and yeah I’ll even throw this in (health), they be good for you so eat ’em! Beans are not for just the winter months so dust off your slow cooker and save some sanity.

Slow Cooker Lima Beans in Tomato Sauce

adapted from Bobby Flay’s recipe for Gigantes 

  • 2 cups of lima beans soaked overnight (12 hours), rinsed
  • 1 large white onion, cut into half moon slices
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced thin
  • 1 can of diced, no-salt tomatoes
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano
  • a pinch of chili flakes
  • 2 tsp of garam masala (use 2 tsp of allspice if you don’t have any)
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • a handful of cilantro with stems, rinsed and chopped finely
  • extra cilantro for garnish

Finish seasoning with:

  • 1-2 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • black pepper and sea salt to taste
The night before sort through your dried lima beans for any funky business.
Rinse and drain twice. Add beans to a large bowl, cover with 2-3 inches of water and let sit in the fridge overnight.
To save on time in the morning, prepare the onions, celery and garlic and set aside in the fridge.
In the morning rinse the beans one more time and add to your slow cooker. You need a 4 quart size minimum to fit all these beans.
Add the beans, a tin of tomatoes, the onion, garlic, celery, cilantro, olive oil and the first round of seasoning to the slow cooker. Stir with a spoon to mix up all the ingredients and then cover beans with 3 cups of water.

Cook on the high setting for about 6 hours. If you are able to be home to switch the temperature during the day you can cook them for about 3 hours on high and then turn the temperate to low and cook an additional 4 hours. I like a thicker sauce, but you may need to add more water during the cooking process. The beans will keep their form when cooked but soften and have tender, buttery centers. Once the beans are cooked, add in the additional garam masala, garlic powder and stir. Season with sea salt and pepper to your taste. You can turn the heat down to low to keep the beans warm.

Serve topped with more fresh cilantro, with a crisp white wine (or light beer) and a hunk of bread. Dinner is served.


5 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Lima Beans in Tomato Sauce

    • I love them and now that it’s Fall I’m bound to be digging into them more myself! Thanks for checking out the blog, let me know how you like the recipe!

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