Warming, healthy and hearty, this lima bean soup is layered with a rich, savory broth. Adding some kielbasa or sausage increases the protein and gives the soup a bit of a smoky flavor to this hearty and delicious comfort soup.
Why this recipe is just so good...
This healthy soup is a one pot meal. The sausage and vegetables are all fried in the same pot with the beans and broth. So easy and much less clean up! If you love hearty soups, you should also try my Navy bean soup, Creamy Onion or Brussels sprouts soup. They all freeze very well too.
Lima beans, also known as Butter beans, are a healthy, nutritious legume that according to WebMD, are full of fiber, protein and iron.
Many people want to know if lima beans are keto. Although they are not considered a low carbohydrate food, they have many healthy benefits. According to Wikipedia they have both soluble and insoluble fiber which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
This recipe makes about 12 cups of lima bean vegetable soup. If you are feeding a crowd, there is plenty. If not, you can either cut the recipe in half or plan on freezing the leftovers. Store in airtight containers for up to 3 months. When you defrost the soup, you many want to add some extra broth or water to thin it out since the beans may have absorbed more of the liquid.
You need the following ingredients to make this lima bean soup:
- baby lima beans
- chicken stock or broth
- vegetable stock or broth
- diced onion
- garlic cloves
- bay leaves, paprika, thyme, red pepper flakes
- salt, black pepper
- kielbasa or smoked sausage
- We are using some basic vegetables like celery, onion and carrots. They add to the flavor of the broth.
- Chopped kielbasa adds a nice smoky flavor to the soup. You can use sweet or hot Italian sausage or chopped ham instead.
- You can easily convert this recipe to a vegan lima bean soup. Just leave out the kielbasa and only use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It will be just as delicious.
- I chose to 'overnight soak method' for the lima beans. To use this method, rinse and drain the dry beans. Place the limas in a large pot and fill the pot with water to cover the beans at least 3 inches. Let it sit overnight. Strain and rinse the beans the next day and use in the recipe.
- You could also use a quicker method if you want to cook the soup on the same day. The 'quick soak method' requires you to cover the beans with water in a large pot. Cover the pot and bring water to boil. Turn off heat and let beans soak for about an hour. Drain, rinse and use in recipe.
How to make lima bean soup
- Fry the kielbasa in 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Remove the kielbasa to a bowl, keep the drippings in the pot.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and saute' the vegetables until light brown.
- Add the sausage back to the pot and pour in the rinsed beans, broths and seasonings.
- Cover, bring to a boil. Lower heat and let soup simmer 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring occasionally to avoid anything sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Test a few beans so see if they are fully cooked and tender. Cook a little longer if needed.
- If you want the soup thicker with a creamy texture, use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash some of the lima beans.
- Remove bay leaf before serving.
- Don't skip frying the vegetables. When fried instead of just added to the soup, the onions, carrots, garlic and celery will caramelize and make the soup so much more flavorful. Make sure they are chopped into the same approximate size so that they cook evenly.
- Use unsalted or low sodium broth and add salt to the soup in small amounts. Taste as you go, add more as needed. Also, the flavors usually become stronger as the soup sits and cools or is reheated.
- You can use a leftover ham bone to simmer in the soup. Cut off any meat and discard the bone before serving.
- Don't rush the soup, let it simmer, covered on the stovetop for 1 -2 hours, preferable 2 hours. You will enjoy the flavor so much more as the soup has a chance to cook slowly.
- Make sure the soup has fully cooled off before refrigerating and/or freezing the leftovers.
- Serve the lima bean soup with crusty bread to dip. Or if you are keeping carbs lower, try my Keto Cornbread muffins, Keto Rolls or Keto Biscuits.
According to Bon Appetite, you don't have to soak them overnight. You can cook them according to the recipe but just realize they will take a lot longer to cook and become tender at least by a few hours.
Dried lima beans are an inexpensive vegetarian form of protein. In New York, a 1 pound bag of dried beans is about $2.50. And I have seen it even less when on sale. That is much cheaper than any meat you buy per pound. While I am not a vegetarian, I love that there are so many ways to cook different beans and the different combination of flavors. So in my opinion, they are a versatile and inexpensive way to provide a delicious, healthy meal for your family.
Make sure the beans are completely cooked by tasting a few. Cook longer if necessary. If you want the soup thicker with a creamy texture, use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash some of the lima beans.
More soup recipes to try:
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Warming, healthy and hearty this lima bean soup is layered with so many savory flavors. Adding some kielbasa or sausage increases the protein and adds a bit of a smoky flavor.
- 1 pound dry lima beans
- water to cover in large pot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ red pepper flakes *
- 3 smoked sausage links (kielbasa), chopped bite size
- 1 carton (32 oz) low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 carton (32 oz) low sodium chicken broth
Overnight Soaking Method
- Place beans in a large pot and pour enough water to cover them.
- Leave to soak overnight. Strain the next day and pick through tossing any broken beans or anything other than beans mixed in.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and fry the sausage or kielbasa over medium heat until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the sausage but leave the drippings.
- Add the other tablespoon of oil and fry the onion until light brown. Push the onion over to the side of pot and fry the carrots, garlic and celery for two minutes.
- Add the lima beans, broths, seasonings and the sausage to the soup pot.
- Cover the soup, bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and let the soup cook for 2 hours.
- Taste for seasoning and add more as desired.
- To thicken the soup, use a potato masher, and press down on the lima beans, stir and mash more as you prefer. Add more broth if you prefer it more liquidy.
- Remove bay leaf before serving.
- Serve with crusty bread if not counting carbs or for lower carbs, try keto biscuits or keto cornbread.
* Try to choose low or no sodium broth and taste the soup before adding more salt. Salt and other seasonings usually get stronger as the soup cooks and reheated.
* You can substitute sweet or hot Italian sausage, ham or chorizo instead of the kielbasa. For a vegetarian options, leave out the sausage and use only vegetable broth.
*Let the soup fully cool before refrigerating or freezing. Store in an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and up to 6 months in the freezer.
*The soup may thicken after refrigeration or freezing. Just add more broth or water to the soup.
*If you have leftover broth in the container, freeze in ice cube trays or small containers. When frozen solid, pop the broth out and store in a labeled plastic zip style bag.
Keywords: beans, healthy dinner