Lima Beans with Sweet Chile Sauce & Fresh Herbs

A colorful salad, both in appearance and in flavor. It is well worth planning ahead and soaking the butterbeans overnight. Freshly cooked, they have a silky, rich texture, just as the name implies. Serve at a weekend brunch with grilled lamb for example.

Put the lima beans in a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover them by twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight at room temperature.

The next day, drain the beans and place in a large saucepan. Cover with plenty of cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 35 to 55 minutes, skimming frother from the surface and topping up with boiling water if necessary, until tender. The cooking time will vary according to the bean size and freshness, so try them a few times during cooking to prevent mushiness. When done, drain in a colander and set aside.

While the beans are cooking, make the sauce. Place the crushed garlic in a bowl large enough to hold the beans. Add the sweet chile sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and lemon juice and mix well with a small whisk. Add the red peppers, season the mixture with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Once the beans have cooled down slightly but are still warm, add them to the sauce, together with the green onions, herbs, and plenty of seasoning. Mix gently with your hands. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


1.5 hours


6 servings


  • 14 oz / 400 g dried lima beans
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 1/2 tbsp sweet chile sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 red peppers, halved, seeded, and cut into 3/4 squares
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 5 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper