This delicious and healthy dish of lima beans is stewed with garlic, onions, tomatoes, capers and caper leaves, and flavoured with thyme and parsley, is based on the Greek caper giachni. Regardless, whether you have caper leaves or not, my vegan lima bean recipe below will help you share some of these favours of Greece with your family and friends!
- ½ cup lima beans
- 2 ½ cup water – divided
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine (about 1.5 tablespoons)
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 1 250g can of plum tomatoes, crushed with juices or 4 tomatoes, cut in small dice about 250g
- 1 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed chilies (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons capers
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5-6 caper leaves (optional)
- 3 tablespoons or more flat parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Soak the beans overnight in 2 cups water. By the next day, beans should have doubled in size. Throw away water. Gently massage beans being careful not to break them. Remove any skin that comes off beans.
- Pour the beans into a heavy pot or saucepan. Add fresh water to the pot until the beans are covered and there is least 1 inch of water above the beans. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and allow the lima beans to simmer for 40 to 60 minutes until tender. Stir beans regularly to avoid sticking. (do not add salt at this point, as it will prevent the beans from getting tender.)
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.
- Add the garlic and fry for about half a minute – do not allow to brown.
- Add the onions and fry until translucent, about one minute.
- Add boiled lima beans, tomatoes, salt, paprika, crushed chilies, sugar, and capers and bring to boil. (If capers are heavily salted, reduce salt and adjust to taste.) Lower heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened and become sauce-like.
- Add thyme, rosemary (crush slightly in your palm to release oils), and black pepper (the Pepper Cook can’t cook without it!), caper leaves (if using), and two tablespoons of the parsley. If tomatoes are dry, add ½ a cup of water to develop sauce.
- Allow beans to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve with rice or pasta.
Onions, garlic, and capers are key to the flavour of the tomato sauce. I have used crushed chilies and paprika, but a fresh red chili may be more authentic. You can replace the paprika with Kashmiri chilies and reduce crushed chilies accordingly. Instead of fresh tomatoes, canned plum tomatoes give even better flavour. If you use fresh tomatoes, you may have to cook them longer and adjust sugar. The parsley can be replaced with fresh coriander. Don’t have caper leaves – don’t worry about it! The dish will still be a hit!