I’ve been sharing vintage menus and offering to try some of the starred recipes on request. One of those requests was for Baked Lima Beans from the January edition of Vintage Menu Plans. Lima beans aren’t generally on our menu but I was game to give it a try. Here is the recipe and my thoughts about it.
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Baked Lima Beans
This recipe for baked lima beans comes from the 1976 edition of the Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook. One of the things I like about vintage menus are the variety of vegetable side dishes. It’s all too easy to get in a rut and just serve the same old steamed veggies, mashed potatoes (although I admit this is a favorite!), and tossed green salad.
I’m on a mission to discover new-to-us side dishes to jazz up our meals. And since we are transitioning to more of a plant-based diet, one option for our meals is simply to offer several side dishes rather than the traditional “meat and two veg”.
Now, first of all, I must admit that the only time I’d ever made lima beans was a year or so ago for my mom. She happens to really like the lima beans at Cracker Barrel so I found a copycat recipe and made some for her. I tasted them, wasn’t impressed and gave her the whole batch. She liked them, though.
But as I read through this recipe for baked lima beans it sounded like there was at least a possibility these would be good. I happened to have a bag of frozen baby lima beans in the freezer (I had bought two bags when I made the previous recipe for Mom) and the rest of the ingredients are simple, basic items I always have on hand. So here is the recipe:
Baked Lima Beans
- 5 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 3 1/2 cups cooked fresh lima beans (I used one 12 ounce bag of frozen)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in sauce pan then stir in flour.
Gradually add in milk and cook slowly until thickened, stirring constantly.
Press cooked beans through sieve and combine with sauce.
Season with salt and pepper and mix with beaten eggs.
Pour into greased casserole dish, cover with bread crumbs and dot with remaining butter.
Bake in 375 degree oven about 20 minutes.
Here is a photo of the dish just out of the oven:
It looks good, right? And if you like lima beans I’ll bet you’ll enjoy this recipe. But David, Chris and I all agreed that we simply do not like lima beans. We each ate a portion. Chris and I added some hot sauce to ours. If we were served this dish at someone’s home we would eat it politely.
But would I make it again? Nope. However, I *DO* think this basic recipe would be great with other vegetables. Green peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, yellow squash…any of these would be tasty baked in a white sauce and topped with bread crumbs which is basically what this recipe is.
I’d also add more seasonings. Half a teaspoon of salt and an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper is pretty bland for a dish that serves 6-8. But that’s pretty common for many vintage recipes. Creole seasoning would be a good addition for any of the versions I mentioned. A bit of dill would be good with peas. Corn would be tasty with a pinch of cumin and served with Mexican food. I might add a little brown sugar with carrots. Yes, I do think it would be worth experimenting with other vegetables and seasoning options.
So tell me, do you like lima beans? If so, what is your favorite way to prepare them?
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I’m sorry it turned out not to be enough to make you enjoy the Lima beans. I’m not a fan either, though have found in the past that sometimes just cooking things a different way can make something you don’t really like actually taste good. My immediate thought for a substitution was to turn it in to a green bean casserole.
Deanna Piercy says
Yes, it would definitely be good with green beans.
Terri C says
Granny grew butterbeans each year. She picked them when they were just barely filling out the potds and shelled them. Those butter beans were absolutely delicious. Lima beans are NOT the same thing, not even ‘Tiny green lima beans’ in my opinion,. John loves Lima beans especially the dried huge fordhook limas. Ugh. That’s all I can say.
Deanna Piercy says
I’ve wondered if they would be different fresh from a garden.