On a chilly evening, there is nothing better than a piping hot bowl of Butter Bean Soup. This healthy vegan soup is nourishing and flavorful. With an array of colorful vegetables and fresh dill, this is an entree you can feel good about.
My family often makes a meal out of soup, especially when the weather turns cold. There’s nothing better than a piping hot bowl of Butter Bean Soup, loaded with vegetables, to fill you up without packing on the pounds. The calories you save here can be better spent on a holiday treat or two… latkes, anyone?
Butter beans are actually mature lima beans, and can be called butter beans or lima beans depending on regional dialect. They are white and larger than the green lima beans you might be used to. You can find them dried or canned; if using canned, you will need about four standard 14-15 ounce cans for this soup recipe. I prefer using dried beans here; you can quick soak them if you don’t have time for an overnight soak. Instructions are provided in the recipe below.
This Butter Bean Soup is warming, flavorful and satisfying; your house will smell amazing as it cooks. The soup has a salty, slightly tangy tomato broth and a tantalizing aroma. My stepdaughter, who is particularly picky when it comes to food, asks me to make this soup for her a lot during the winter. At her request, I sometimes substitute potato chunks for butter beans. A combination of beans and potatoes would work great, too.
So what are you waiting for? Get your soup on!
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Butter Bean Soup
- 1 lb dry butter beans (or 6 cups cooked or canned butter beans - you can sub cannellini or navy beans)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 2 celery ribs, sliced
- 14 oz crushed tomatoes (1 can - fire roasted is ok)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 tbsp fresh chopped dill, divided
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and black pepper
- Cover the dry beans with cold water and soak them overnight. Drain and rinse.
- Alternatively, if you’re running short on time, you can quick soak the beans. To do this, in a medium pot bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add dry lima beans and boil for 3 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and allow the beans to soak in the hot water for 2 hours to soften.
- Drain and rinse until water runs clear. Remove any bean skins that have come loose and discard.
- If using cooked or canned beans, rinse them well, drain and set aside until ready to use.
- In a large pot, heat up ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat until hot (not smoking). Add chopped onion to the pot and sauté for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes more until fragrant.
- Add carrot, celery, and soaked lima beans to the pot.
- Cover the ingredients with 8 cups of water (if using canned beans, add 6 cups of water) and bring to a slow boil for a few minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top of the pot.
- When foam dissipates, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot, along with ¼ cup of fresh chopped dill and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Let the soup simmer for 75-90 minutes until beans are nice and tender. If using canned beans, you will only need to simmer the soup for 30 minutes or so. If the soup becomes too thick while it’s cooking, add a little more water. Taste and season again towards the end of cooking, if needed.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve garnished with the remaining fresh dill.