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The 5 Best Substitutes for Lima Beans

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Lima beans are the plump pulse of the bean world.

They’re sweet, creamy, and tasty — but not all lima beans are created equal.

Over time, some have grown heavy, some have lost their flavor, and some taste like softball-sized stones (I may be exaggerating here).

The good news is that there are many delicious alternatives to your beloved lima beans.

In this article, we will share with you the best substitutes for lima beans so that you can enjoy your favorite recipes without worrying about your ingredient list.

What’s Lima Bean?

what lima bean

Lima beans are the world’s smallest legume and are native to South America.

The beans are small enough to barely see them in the image above.

They’re also incredibly high in fiber and protein, making them a great source of nutrients for vegans or vegetarians looking for an alternative to meat substitutes like tofu or tempeh.

Regarding cooking, lima beans should be soaked overnight before being cooked (or boiled) for about 30 minutes until tender but not mushy—the texture should still be firm but pliable enough not to fall apart when chewed into pieces.

You can use lima beans in salads or make pasta sauces with them; they add an earthy flavor that makes any dish stand out from competitors.

Regarding taste and texture, lima beans are very similar to other beans.

They have a distinct earthy flavor that’s hard to describe but easy to appreciate, and they’re soft enough to be eaten raw or cooked without much preparation required.

If you’re looking for an alternative to meat in your diet or want something new and different, try adding some lima beans to your next recipe.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lima Beans

If you’re looking for a substitute for lima beans, there are several options you can try.

Here are five of the best choices:

1 – Fava Beans

fava beans

Fava beans are a type of bean native to Mediterranean countries, but they are now grown in many other regions of the world.

They’re known for their dark green color and slightly nutty flavor, which makes them delicious when eaten raw or cooked.

Favas contain protein, fiber, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate (folic acid), potassium, and magnesium, among other nutrients that make them a good food source for vegetarians who want to add more nutrition into their diets without having to sacrifice taste or convenience.

They can be used with any meal, whether preparing dinner at home or attending an important event such as a business meeting, so don’t hesitate if you’d like something more exotic than lima beans on hand.

2 – Butter Beans

butter beans

Butter beans are a great substitute for lima beans in taste and texture.

You can use them in place of lima beans in recipes that call for lima beans or substitute them for one pound of dried butter beans.

The difference between these two types of beans is that butter bean pods are not edible — they’re used as storage pods for young seedlings growing up inside the pod itself.

In contrast, the outer skin on lima bean pods is edible (although often bitter) and makes a tasty addition to salads or side dishes like stir-frys or soups.

3 – Great Northern Beans

great northern beans

Great Northern beans are a type of white bean that is similar in appearance to navy beans.

They’re also called cannellini beans, which is a type of white kidney bean.

Great Northern beans are commonly used in soups and stews because they have a mild flavor, but they can be substituted for lima or navy beans if you prefer them.

When cooked, Great Northern beans take on a creamy color and texture similar to that of navy beans.

In fact, they’re often used as a substitute for cannellini beans in Italian dishes like minestrone or baked bean casseroles.

4 – Edamame Beans

edamame beans

Edamame beans are immature soybeans that are harvested just before they reach full maturity.

Like lima beans, edamame beans contain folate (vitamin B9), magnesium, and potassium.

They’re a great source of protein and fiber, with about 6 grams of protein per cup and 8 grams of dietary fiber.

As with other legumes such as chickpeas or lentils, edamame beans can be prepared in many different ways—smashed into salads; used in stir-fries or soups; steamed whole; added to mung bean sprouts for something extra crunchy on top.

5 – Red Kidney Beans

red kidney beans

Red kidney beans are a good substitute for lima beans.

The red color comes from anthocyanins—the same antioxidant that gives blueberries health benefits.

They’re high in protein and iron and have fiber, folate, and vitamins A, B, and C.

Red kidney beans are also available year-round at most grocery stores—and they’re often cheaper than green or yellow varieties (which aren’t as nutritious).

Not only are they great in chili and soup, but they’re also delicious when added to salads or made into burgers.


In conclusion, lima beans are a great source of fiber and protein.

They’re also high in iron, vitamin B6, and magnesium. But if you don’t like the taste, don’t worry.

There are plenty of other legumes that have similar health benefits—and they might even be more to your liking.

So try out some other beans and see which ones you like best.

You can even use them in place of meat in your favorite recipes—they’re a great way to reduce calories while still getting the protein you need.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lima Beans

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Fava Beans

  • Butter Beans

  • Great Northern Beans

  • Edamame Beans

  • Red Kidney Beans


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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