Pan Fried Lima Beans with Feta, Spinach and Sumac

009Are you trying to incorporate more legumes into your diet and just don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you need an elegant dish to serve a vegetarian at a dinner party? Look no further than this excellent dish that I have modified from the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. I adore his recipes and love his mix of fresh ingredients and middle eastern spices. Do not be afraid of using Lima beans. These are not the “slima” beans we ate as kids in the school cafeteria. These beans are made from scratch and will melt in your mouth. I promise! And don’t forget legumes are important for maintaining blood sugar levels as they are among the lowest glycemic index (GI) foods, and they are high in soluble fibre which helps slow down the rate nutrients are absorbed into the body.

Ingredients – Serves 4-5

  • 500 grams (1lb) dried lima beans
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzle
  • 8 shallots (spring onions) finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 fresh long red chili, seeds removed and minced
  • 5 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 140 grams (5 oz) feta
  • 2 tsp sumac

Directions

Place the lima beans in a large bowl and cover with water and add baking soda. Leave to soak overnight.

The following day, drain the beans, place in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and boil for at least 30 minutes, until the beans are soft to the bite but not disintegrating. Drain the beans when ready. (You can cook the beans in the morning and set them aside in the refrigerator and finish preparing the dish later that night.)

In a large frying pan, melt half of the butter and half of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add half the beans and fry for 1-2 minutes until the skin of the beans is golden brown and blistered. Turn the beans over and cook the other side the same way. Remove the beans to a bowl and add the remaining butter and olive oil to the pan. Add the second half of the beans and repeat the process.

001When the second batch is almost done, add the shallots (spring onions) garlic, chili, and spinach and saute for about a minute.

003Then add the the other half of the beans, add the salt and stir and remove from heat. Drizzle with lemon juice, crumble over the feta, sprinkle with the sumac and finish with a final drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

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