There’s a market in Astoria, Queens that has a delightful variety of imported Spanish goods, and butter beans are one of my favorites. So one night I had a friend over for a Spanish gastronomical excursion, and figured I’d highlight these delicious beans. This recipe is super-simple and SO tasty. And very good for diabetics and hypoglycemics (read below).
Butter Beans (also called Lima Beans) are rich in dietary fiber and, when paired with a grain, are a perfect protein that’s very low in fat. I could retype in my own words, but this information from World’s Healthiest Foods just says it so well. Lima beans, like other beans, are rich in dietary fiber. For this reason, lima beans and other beans are useful foods for people with irregular glucose metabolism, such as diabetics and those with hypoglycemia, because beans have a low glycemic index rating. This means that blood glucose (blood sugar) does not rise as high after eating beans as it does when compared to many other foods. This beneficial effect is probably due to two factors: the presence of higher amounts of absorption-slowing protein in the beans, and their high soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down the metabolism of the bean’s carbohydrates. The presence of fiber is also the primary factor in the cholesterol-lowering power of beans. Fiber binds with the bile acids that are used to make cholesterol. Fiber isn’t absorbed, so when it exits the body in the feces, it takes the bile acids with it. As a result, the body may end up with less cholesterol. Lima beans also contain insoluble fiber, which research studies have shown not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Just one cup of lima beans will give you 65.8% of the daily value for fiber.
- 1 cup of dried Spanish Butter Beans or large lima beans, dry
- 2 Tablespoons of particularly delicious and organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 of a lemon
- 4 tablespoons of fresh cilantro
- sea salt to taste
- Soak the butter beans for AT LEAST 24 hours. The longer you soak them, the more tender they’ll be. I only soaked mine for about 18 hours and had to cook them longer.
- Cook the beans in about 3 cups of water in a nice boil for about an hour. Start checking them around 40 minutes – the longer you soak them the softer they’ll get. When I made them into soup, I wanted them to be so soft they’d puree well. This time I wanted them to have some firmness to them. You want some ‘al dente’.
- Strain the beans and place in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, and season with salt to taste.
- Stir in the cilantro and squeeze the juice of the half lemon over everything.
- Serve at room temperature.
Enjoy! My buddy Jonathan and I decided that was one of our favorite parts of our meal. The recipe feeds two people comfortably as a side dish. And tastes just as good the next day.