Pan-fried Lima Beans in Herb Pesto

I’ve been playing around with beans a lot lately. They’re are cheap and full of fibre which means that they fill you up and provide a steady source of energy.

Lima beans are my current favourite. There’s something about their size that I love, along with the creamy texture. I often use them to make homemade baked beans but here I wanted something simpler. When Heidi, of 101 Cookbooks, poster her Super-eggy Scrambled Eggs with oregano pesto, I was inspired to make my own pesto.

My vegetable gardening efforts this year have been a bit lacklustre. However, oregano grows prolifically in my lower veggie garden bed. McLaren Vale seems to be the perfect climate to grow all things Italian. I’ve also got plenty of Italian, flat-leaf parsley growing and a beautiful bottle of locally grown, spicy, Frantoio variety olive oil. I couldn’t wait to make this pesto.

I soaked my dried beans overnight in a big bowl of water. When I came back to them they’d split terribly. I was annoyed that I’d bought old beans but, after a little research, found out that this is typical of really fresh new beans. So I forged on and threw them in my pressure cooker for 15 minutes (this would take about 40 minutes in a regular saucepan). Released the steam and added a good shake of sea salt. Letting them absorb the salt for ten minutes, before draining them. If you don’t have time for soaking and draining beans, canned cannellini beans will work nearly as well.

4 as a side dish
Cooking Time:


  • 240g (1 cup) lima or cannelini beans, drained (canned is fine)
  • 15g (1 tbsp) herb pesto
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • salt, to taste, to taste
  • Herb Pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil, see tips *
  • 1 pinch salt


  1.  Place all the ingredients for the Oregano pesto in a food processor or blender. Puree until combined to a smooth paste.
  2. Heat a large, heavy based frying pan to a medium–high heat. Add the beans and pesto and sauté until little dark flecks appear on the beans. Briefly, toss the tomato through, to warm. Taste and add salt if needed, before serving.


Pan-fried Lima Beans in Herb Pesto

Serving per recipe:
4 as a side dish
Average Quantity Per Serving
Total Carbohydrates:
Net Carbs:

Tips and Techniques

*using locally produced extra virgin olive oil ensure maximum nutrients are preserved and the oil is less likely to be rancid. The oil I purchased was only a few weeks old and still cloudy from pressing.

Substitutes and Alterations

You could quite happily eat this as a main dish with a poached egg on top for a lazy Tuesday night dinner. In which case this would be 2 serves.