Make Ahead

Heirloom Christmas Lima Bean and Mushroom Stew

April  9, 2011
9 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

This rich vegetarian stew features plump Christmas limas, portobello and shiitake mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs. It’s hard to believe something so simple could be so incredibly good – my dinner guests were still raving about it the next day. I served it on soft polenta, but it would also be delicious on its own with just some crusty bread.

If your only impression of lima beans is those boring little green things your parents forced you to eat as a kid, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Christmas limas are a whole different animal – they’re huge and taste a bit like chestnuts. - cathyeats

Test Kitchen Notes

The combination of mushrooms, onions, garlic and red wine has always been a favorite of mine and cathyeats' Heirloom Bean and Mushroom Stew takes it one step further with the welcome addition of Christmas Lima beans. The big, chestnutty flavored beans were a lovely complement to the earthy flavors of the portobello and shitake mushrooms and more than stood up to the robust red wine and tomato sauce. The only thing I would do differently next time is to soak the beans before cooking them; it took almost 2 1/2 hours and a lot of added water for them to become tender. I served it, as she did, with soft polenta and it was delightful but I could also see serving it atop pasta or just with some crusty rolls to mop up the sauce. - wssmom

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound Christmas lima beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup reserved bean cooking liquid
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water by about two inches.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender (Christmas limas can take up to two hours.) Drain, reserving one half cup of cooking liquid.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in another dutch oven or very deep skillet.
  4. Add the onions and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and thyme, raise the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the tomatoes including the puree, crushing the tomatoes with your hands and discarding the hard stem ends.
  7. Add the wine, bean cooking liquid, parsley, salt and pepper. Gently stir in the beans.
  8. Simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gwendolyn J Dopp
    Gwendolyn J Dopp
  • amygwilder
  • DessertByCandy
  • cathyeats

9 Reviews

Nhennesy1 December 19, 2022
So so good. Made with pre sliced baby bella's as that is what my spouse brought home. Added kale instead of parsley as I had it on hand. Delicious. Served on soft polenta (without even reading the notes! It's a natural pairing).
txchick57 April 10, 2022
Delicious. I"m eating a bowl of this as I type. Follwed recipe exactly; would not change a thing.
fraywitz November 16, 2021
Truly amazing. I've made this again and again.
cathyeats November 16, 2021
That’s so great to hear! This was definitely one of my most successful recipe experiments :)
Gwendolyn J. January 21, 2021
Super delicious! The beans were beautiful and savory. I sautéed onions in broth since I avoid oil. Switched up the mushrooms for what I had on hand. The flavor of this dish is rich and satisfying. I also served it on soft polenta. YUM!
amygwilder December 13, 2020
Amazing, and it didn't hit me until I was eating it that it's vegan. This is tasty and lush enough for a dinner party. Made it with a flavorful 2018 Oregon pomard pinot noir, and drank the rest with the meal. Amazing flavor.
Jeannefsd October 14, 2020
Wonderful recipe! I love the flavor of the mushrooms with the beans and thyme.
Fragon December 17, 2016
Absolutely wonderful vegan dish, super easy if you have a pressure cooker. Use it to cook the beans, and again for the polenta. I use a small can of fire roasted tomatoes with chiles instead of the large can, and up the wine and bean broth. Get Rancho Gordo Christmas limas if you can -- the chestnutty flavor stands out.
DessertByCandy January 9, 2012
Made this over the weekend adding celery along with the onion and garlic. Substituted with crimini and port wine as they were available at my house. Love the hearty quality of this stew and the Christmas Limas absorbed the flavour beautifully. I would definitely make this again. A photo of my finished dish can be found here: