Lima Bean Tabouli

by Min Merrell

Looks like I consulted my Porter paint chip booklet for the perfect combination of lima beans greens and tomato yellows in this Lima Bean Tabouli. I highly recommend lima salads to any home cook looking for a signature dish.

I can’t stop making lima bean salads. In fact, any number of variations are my go-to dish for a potluck. They’ve certainly helped secure my reputation as a “sensible creative.” You see, with a bag of limas in the freezer and pretty much anything else in your crisper drawer, you can make a great salad. The dressing is often the same–olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Now play with the colors.

Limas have a way of making everything look more beautiful. Sort of like a rose-colored room. But those frozen limas can stay where they are for now because right now– mid-July and August–is the only time we can play around with the freshly shelled beans. It’s quite a sight at the farmers market. In Nashville, we can get a nice assortment of fresh beans and peas–purple hull, crowders, black eyes, white crowders, lady peas, limas. For easy shucking, they put the bean pods in a long round basket that looks like it should be filled with giant bingo numbers. Somehow the prongs on the inside pull off the pods and free the little beans as the basket rotates.

Those are all the empty beans pods that fall out of the bottom.  They’re really soft and they smell earthy and good.

lima beans


lima beans

Over in the fresh bean stand, there wasn’t an heirloomer in sight. Instead the line was long with women who clearly have generations of home canners and freezers in their families. Most of the gals were buying more than one of those giant bags. Wish I had.

Big bags of fresh peas headed for pots and freezers across Middle Tennessee.

lima beans

Those are fresh limas on the left and a bag of fresh purple hull peas on the right.

lima beans



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