Lima beans are an exciting bean choice that can pack a significant amount of flavor and taste to a wide array of dishes. Rich in protein, these beans work for just about anything – from stews and soups to your everyday salads.
Despite their mild taste, there is no denying that lima beans are an excellent choice for various dishes. However, you might want to check out some substitutes from time to time.
So, what is the best substitute for lima beans? Fava beans are the best substitutes for lima beans. They might not have so much in common, but they work with various dishes, and you can consume them in different formats. Their taste disparity also means that you can get fava beans if you want to give your taste buds something different.
An Overview of Lima Beans
Lima beans are a type of legume particularly famous for their edible seeds. They originated primarily from Central America, and they have become commercially significant for many of these countries. In fact, they take their name from Lima – a city in Peru where they have been grown for millennia.
Lima beans come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and thicknesses. However, their pods are usually broad and flat with slight curves. You will find that fresh lima beans are green, while the older ones look beige and dry.
These beans are usually grown in the fall season. They are also famous for their versatility, as you can cook them with just about anything. From hummus and soups to salads and bacon and eggs, lima beans are an ideal fix for any dish. All you have to do is understand how well the beans fit, and you’re ready to go.
Why Substitute Lima Beans?
- Starch content: While lima beans are relatively famous, some people don’t like their starch consistency. So, they tend to search for substitutes.
- Taste differences: Lima beans are known for their mild taste in dishes. If you would like something stronger to season your food, then you will need to get a substitute that works just as well.
- Allergies: People with anaphylaxis generally have allergies to beans and other legumes. If you’re such a person, you might not be able to eat lima beans. But, some substitutes could work for you instead.
Options for Lima Beans Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Lima Beans: Fava Beans
Fava beans and lima beans are so similar that they tend to get often confused for each other. Interestingly, they have much less in common than many people might think. They are both legumes and are even in the same biological subdivision, but their similarities don’t really extend beyond that. Interestingly, this is what makes fava beans such a great substitute – the diversity you get.
Also known as broad beans, fava beans are one of the oldest crops. They usually grow in springtime, and you can eat them both raw and cooked. The beans typically come green and flat, and they are covered with clear skin that you take out before cooking.
Fava beans have a delicate, mild taste, with hints of a bitter and nutty flavor. This is quite similar to lima beans, although the latter comes with a greater nutty feeling than fava beans. Interestingly, fava beans’ bitter taste is one of the reasons why vegetarians love them so much.
Also, like lima beans, fava beans can be versatile. You can eat fresh, dry fava beans with different meals, including in salads. Really, your imagination is the only thing stopping you from enjoying these beans as you see fit.
In general, choosing between lima beans and fava beans is a matter of your taste. However, keep in mind that fava beans have a stronger taste. So, you want to start the application small and work your way up from there. Since you don’t want the beans to overpower the meal, try to be as careful as possible.
Also known as pea beans, navy beans are oval-shaped and tiny. They have a relatively creamy flavor, so you can use them to thicken your soups. You also get a relatively mild consistency from navy beans, making them the ideal choice for pureeing in dips and adding some much-needed taste to your stews.
Interestingly, navy beans became famous when the U.S. Navy began using them as regulars in dishes back in the early 20th century. This application came in World War II, with the Navy looking to provide a cost-effective and nutrient-rich diet to its troops. Navy beans have perhaps the highest fiber content of any bean variant, and they are relatively easy to work with. They also have low cholesterol and can help people with iron deficiencies.
Best Substitute for Vegetarians: Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are a special bean variant that has become relatively popular over the past few years as well. They are known for their reddish-brown look – a distinct one as far as bean variants are concerned.
Primarily, kidney beans are known for their health benefits. Experts say they can help reduce the risk and onset of colon cancer, and they also pack a healthy punch of proteins and calories.
People looking for taste differences will also love what kidney beans have to offer. Unlike the mild taste of lima beans, these beans come with a meaty, dense texture song with a slightly sweet taste.
Note that, unlike lima beans, you can’t take these ones raw. In fact, even undercooked kidney beans can be bad for you. Ensure that you cook them thoroughly so they can shed some of their toxic content.