Lima Bean Saute with Basmati Rice

Christmas Lima Bean Sauté with Basmati Rice

This lemony Basmati rice and lima bean saute is a tasty, gluten-free dinner that will change the way you think about rice and beans!

Lima Bean Saute with Basmati Rice

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win  prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time and I cook rice all the time for my family. 

It’s Christmas in March! Not really, it’s just a cool name for a lima bean. Have you ever cooked with these guys? I picked some up last week from the bulk food bins at Whole Foods just to make this recipe. I knew I was making a rice and bean saute for this contest, but I wanted to use a bean that I’d never eaten or cooked with before.  How can you resist a Christmas lima bean? Christmas limas are a beautiful white and purple-ly brown color and are quite a bit bigger than your normal lima bean. They turn a lighter, reddish brown color when cooked and have a sweet, hazelnut flavor.

Rice and beans are not something I grew up eating. I was a big pasta gal. My husband ate rice like it was his job. His family is Egyptian so rice is kind of like water for him. I don’t make it every night but when I do, he’s happy. He’s not a huge fan of brown rice; he prefers the sticky nuttiness of Jasmine rice. Norah will pretty much eat any rice I put in front of her. A favorite after-school snack for us is to heat up jasmine rice and then roll it up in those little seaweed snacks. We talk about her day while eating Nori rolls. It’s kind of cool.

I’m not huge fan of brown rice. It really doesn’t taste that great and why eat food that doesn’t taste good? We generally eat US California grown white rice in our house because it tends to have the lowest amount of unsavory chemicals on board. All US rice is a sustainable, locally-grown GMO-free food, which I appreciate. It’s also affordable, unlike a lot of other healthy food. When shopping, think “US Grown” and look for the words grown in the USA on the label, just to make sure. Rice is also naturally gluten-free and the least allergenic of all grains, making it a great option if you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.

Lima Bean Saute with Basmati Rice 2

I actually prefer the less sticky Basmati style rice that I used in this recipe; the beans were already a bit mushy (mushy in a good way) and I didn’t want to have mush on mush. This recipe has so much flavor and it was so simple to make. I soaked the beans overnight and then boiled them for about 30 minutes. I sauteed some onions and garlic in olive oil and then added the beans. Once they had a nice caramelized look to them, I threw in some cooked Basmati rice and seasoned it up with lemon juice and zest, marjoram, and fresh dill. Even though it’s a cooked dish, it has a fresh taste to it thanks to the lemon.

Christmas Lima Bean and Basmati Rice Saute

I know this not the prettiest dish on the planet, but it is the most delicious! It’s even better the next few days as the flavors all meld together. Hany even mixed some into his scrambled eggs for breakfast. The next time you’re in the mood for a satisfying bowl of rice and beans, I’ve got you covered.  Here’s the recipe:

Christmas Lima Bean Sauté with Basmati Rice


  • 2 cups lima beans (I used the Christmas variety, but any will work)
  • 1 cup US grown Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice + 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp marjoram, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper


  1. In a large pot, cover beans with water and soak overnight. The next day, rinse and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain.
  2. Cook rice according to package directions.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic until browned. Add lima beans and saute until browned and caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once browned, add rice, lemon juice and zest and herbs, again add salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, stir in fresh Feta cheese and garnish with fresh dill.

10 replies
  1. Deanna Segrave-Daly
    Deanna Segrave-Daly says:

    OK, where I have I been? I didn’t know there was a Christmas lima bean variety but then again I don’t eat a ton of them. I actually now really like the flavor of brown rice vs. white – it’s the whole wheat pasta I can’t get on board with taste wise (Italian girl – ha!) Digging your photos – so bright and inviting!

  2. Erin @ Mouthful
    Erin @ Mouthful says:

    This looks great and I think it is a very pretty dish! I love dishes like this that really fill you up! 🙂 Your photos make me wish I could just grab my spoon and dig in!!

  3. genevieve @ gratitude & greens
    genevieve @ gratitude & greens says:

    I’m Chinese, so rice was a big part of my childhood- the base of all our meals! I like black/purple rice and red rice more than brown rice, and although I don’t normally cook white rice, I eat tons of it when I go home. This lima bean sauté sounds so yummy, and I love that they are called Christmas beans too! Happy Thursday!

  4. Regan @ The Healthy Aperture Blog
    Regan @ The Healthy Aperture Blog says:

    I love this!! And I love that I feel like you’ve given me permission to stop trying to make my kids eat brown rice. They hate it 🙁 I want them to like it, but it’s making them “not be rice eaters.” I’m realizing if maybe I stopped trying to force brown rice, maybe they’d be rice eaters too?

  5. Danielle Omar
    Danielle Omar says:

    Permission granted, my friend. I’m sure they get their fiber in elsewhere. I use the white rice to sneak in other foods…you can hide a lot of stuff around it, like seaweed! 🙂

  6. Halsted
    Halsted says:

    I purchase my basmati rice in bulk but had no idea there was a Christmas lima bean. Now I want to try them, especially since this is gluten-free.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Christmas lima beans and rice is comfort food at its best––and it tastes even better the next […]

  2. […] do realize that beans and grains together are also pretty dreamy; I could not stop eating this dish straight out of the pan. But if I had to choose on or the other…beans would win. This says a […]

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