Roasted Lima Beans with Italian Herbs

Modified from Wholefoods.com

It was not shaping up to be an exciting day for vegetables.  There were slim pickings in the refrigerator, and I didn’t relish the idea of going out to the grocery store in the rain.  However, the ever-dependable lima beans were waiting in the freezer.  Waiting for a chance to be something different, waiting to be the star of the meal.  These lima beans DARED TO DREAM!

Ahem.  This non-stop dreary weather is getting to me….

I was in a lima bean rut.  I don’t cook them very often, but when I do, it was usually with a little bacon, a little onion, and some butter – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Looking for a change, I ran across a recipe for roasted lima beans on the Whole Foods website.  Roasting is by far my favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes, fennel, carrots, eggplant, parsnips, asparagus, cauliflower, and squash of all varieties, but I haven’t tried roasting beans.  The results were exciting – the roasting concentrates the sweet bean flavor, and gives them a “fluffy” texture inside while being a little crispy on the outside.  The herb seasoning, along with finishing touches of roasted red pepper and a drizzle of flavorful extra-virgin olive oil, really did elevate these limas to stardom.

This is an excellent side dish for the winter months, since it works well with frozen lima beans and dried herbs, which are readily available year-round.

Ingredients:

Did you know that lima beans have been cultivated in Lima, Peru since around 5000 BC?

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a medium saucepan, cover lima beans with cold water.  Heat on stove-top until boiling.  Add about a tablespoon of salt, and cook at a low boil, partially covered, for about 8 minutes.  Drain beans well and dry on paper towels.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, dried herb seasoning, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Add lima beans and toss well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or oil the pan lightly). Place the bean mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet, spreading the beans out evenly.  Put the bowl aside for later. Roast until beans are softened and getting crinkly-crispy on the outside, approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the beans are done, pour them back into the bowl.  Mix in the roasted red peppers and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil; toss well.  Season to taste with aromatic sea salt.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Our first musical “guest” was the great blues and R+B singer Etta James. James died last week, and we’ve found a few selections from her vast career to highlight. First up, R & B Dynamite, which showcases her early singles, including “Roll With Me Henry” and “Good Rockin’ Daddy”. Etta could really sing some R+B!

Next, from 1994, is Mystery Lady, featuring James singing some great Billie Holiday songs, such as “Body and Soul” and “Lover Man (Where Can You Be)”. A great, warm sounding recording, showing that her grand voice never lost a bit of emotion as she grew older. Thanks for all the memories, Etta James.

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