My Grandma’s Lima Beans

About six years ago I went by my grandma’s one day just to learn how to make two of her best recipes: Lima beans and “Pasta Fazool”. They are two of my favorite meals of all time- they both comfort me and fill me up- and never fail to remind me of my grandma. She was getting sick at that point, and I knew I needed to learn sooner than later.

The smells that permeate the house as well as the taste of the slow cooked beans and sauce just bring back so many great memories of her. Her recipes are very loose and very un-technical. “Add a spoonful of olive oil and a pinch of oregano”, she’d say. “What kind of spoon?” I remember asking her. “A big one.” She replied. And I watched her fill a “big” spoon with extra virgin olive oil and pour it into the pot, the oil remaining in a little separated puddle above the red sauce. And then we waited… and waited… It cooks low and slow, and the taste reflects the patience.

There are only four ingredients really. Lima beans, celery, olive oil, and tomato sauce. And some oregano, salt and pepper. And water. Okay, 7…but still.

You basically add all of these ingredients to a pot, bring it all to a boil, then let it simmer for almost three hours.

My Grandma’s Lima Beans


  • 2 cups lima beans, dry/raw
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce, plus 5 cans water
  • 4 Tbs olive oil (or 1 “big spoonful”)
  • 1 tsp oregano, or any dry italian herbs will do
  • Salt, Pepper to taste

Method: Add all ingredients to large pot and bring to boil. Give it a stir, and let simmer for about 3 hours.

When finished, you should have a slow cooked tomato sauce taste, and the lima beans should be very soft, almost falling apart in your mouth. The tomato sauce thickens from the starch the beans give out, making the “soup” ultra satisfying and hearty.

It’s an old Italian recipe that will forever remain one of my favorites. Make this if you plan on being inside on a chilly day…and make a lot. It freezes well, and you will love it for leftovers.

Enjoy 🙂

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2 Responses to My Grandma’s Lima Beans

  1. Ursula Weisman says:

    Great story for a great meal! Will you make me some when you’re home for a few days?

  2. Pingback: Tofu and Fava Beans | jamelafamela

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