Lima Bean Soup

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This is a lima bean soup with a thick, creamy tomato broth that’s nourishing and economical. It makes a delicious meatless family meal, extremely simple to make, full of flavor and plant-based protein.

It’s hearty, filling, perfect to serve with crusty panini bread rolls or easy Italian focaccia!

Top view of a white bowl full of lima bean soup in a rich tomato broth.

At The Clever Meal we love beans and meatless meals all year round. From this luscious pinto bean soup and bean stew to Mediterranean bean salad and smoky beans on toast.

It’s great turning a can of beans and a few pantry staples into a delicious meal!

And when it comes to bean soup recipes, let’s remember that simple does not equal boring. This simple lima bean soup recipe is anything but that!

You’ll love the size and the creamy texture of the chunky lima beans (aka butter beans). They’re cooked in a rich tomato broth infused with paprika and herbs, so delicious and thick that all you need is crusty bread to dunk in.

And if you’ve decided that lima bean soup is for dinner tonight, double the ingredient to make a big batch. It freezes well, it’s gluten-free, inexpensive and makes a wonderful healthy meal.

That’s why we love beans! : )

List of the ingredients

  • Lima beans aka butter beans (but any beans will work).
  • Tomato sauce and paste
  • Herbs: thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, bay leaf, parsley
  • Paprika
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable broth
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
Then ingredients to make the lima bean soup are arranged over a white background.

How to make lima bean soup

(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • Soak the dried beans overnight, cook them until half tender and drain.
  • Saute’ the diced onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  • Stir in herbs, garlic and paprika.
Top view of a white Dutch oven full of diced onion, herbs and paprika.
  • Add the butter beans, tomato sauce and tomato paste.
  • Stir in the broth, the bay leaf, salt, pepper and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Optional step to thicken the broth: let the soup cool slightly and blend only part of it, approximately 2 cups. This stand blender is great to achieve a super smooth texture, but an immersion blender will be ok too.
Top top view of a white Dutch oven full of lima beans, tomato sauce and broth.
  • Return the blended soup to the pot, stir and you’ll see how the broth looks rich and thicker now. Toss in the chopped parsley.
  • Serve with crusty bread and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!
Close-up of a white bowl full of thick and creamy lima bean soup.

Recipe notes

Are lima beans and butter beans the same?

Essentially yes, they’re the same type of beans. Lima beans, butter beans, dried lima beans, large limas, these large lovely beans go by a host of different names but they’re all varieties of lima beans.

Lima bean soup ingredients

Beans: the recipe uses dried lima beans, but my UK readers can use canned butter beans for their convenience, easier to find here in the UK.
However, feel free to make this soup with any type of white beans if you wish: cannellini, navy, great northern beans work just fine.

Onion and garlic: they make the flavor base. You’re more than welcome to add some diced carrot and celery and start with a proper soffritto!

Tomato sauce: aka tomato passata (for my UK/Australian readers). The rich smooth texture makes this soup more luscious. My fav brand is Mutti.

Herbs: the recipe uses a mix of convenient dried herbs and fresh parsley. Feel free to use the herbs that you have in the pantry, but try to not skip the lovely fresh parsley which brings fresh aromatic flavor.

Spices: paprika adds color and a subtle earthiness, it works so well with tomato broth and beans.

Broth: I used low-sodium vegetable broth, but you can use your favorite broth if you wish, just make sure you adjust the seasoning to taste.

Olive oil: you can use regular olive oil to saute’ the onion, but make sure to serve the soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, it’s absolutely the best!

Salt & pepper: for flavor, of course! Add more salt or pepper if you need to adjust the seasoning.

Close-up of a spoon full of lima bean soup and tomato broth.

If you love beans…

Here are some of our favorite bean recipes to make fabulous weeknight meals:

If you look for more soups…

Vegetarian soups are so delicious, easy to put together, and inexpensive. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

If you make this lima bean soup, or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it. I would love to hear from you!

And for more recipe updates, subscribe my newsletter and follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook.

Top view of a white bowl full of lima bean soup with tomato broth.
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Lima Bean Soup

This is a lima bean soup with a thick, creamy tomato broth that’s nourishing and extremely economical. It makes adelicious meatless family meal, extremely simple to make and full of flavor and plant-based protein.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean, vegan
Keyword: Butternut bean soup
Servings: 4
Calories: 238kcal
Author: Katia


  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ cup dried lima beans or butter beans (or 2 cans -14oz/400 gr each – drained)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) tomato passata
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 2 ¼ cups (560 ml) low sodium vegetable broth
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped parsley


  • Firstly, soak the dried beans overnight in a large bowl with plenty of cold water. The next day, drain the beans and place them in a pot with enough fresh water to cover them. Cook over low heat until half tender, about 30 minutes, drain and set aside.
  • Warm the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is turning translucent (5 minutes).
  • Add garlic, dried herbs, paprika and stir to enhance all the flavors for about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Then reduce to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Optional step: turn the heat off and let it cool slightly. Then transfer 2 cups of the soup to a stand blender, whizz until smooth and return it to the pot (an immersion blender works fine, but make sure you blend the soup partially, not all of it). And be careful because it's still hot.
  • Stir in the chopped parsley, toss until well combined, taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste if needed. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, crusty bread, and a pinch of chilli flakes if you wish. Enjoy!


Broth and seasoning: if you use regular vegetable broth or chicken stock, make sure to add the salt at the end because you don’t know how salty the broth will be.
Nutrition facts: the nutrition values are  for one serving and are based on an online nutrition calculator.  It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Please see my disclosure policies.


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1180mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 564IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 5mg


  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for such a delicious recipe, Katia! The first time I made it, I used large dried Lima beans and it was delicious but the beans could’ve use a longer cook time. This time I tried doubling the recipe but used dried northern beans since I was low on Lima beans and I don’t know if I really got the measurements right because it wasn’t as good. I’m going back to Lima beans and not doubling it unless you have some suggestions. Thanks again for such a delicious recipe!!

    1. You’re very welcome, Ivy! I’m so pleased to hear you love this soup. : )
      As for doubling the recipe, I wonder if the dried herbs ratio was wrong, maybe? Their flavor can be strong and overpowering. x

  2. Elizabeth Guy says:

    5 stars
    I am making this soup today for the 3rd time. It is absolutely delicious. I keep thinking I’m gonna try to make another recipe in here but I can’t get past this 1. LOL try it you’ll love it.

    1. Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your great feedback, Elizabeth.
      I’m so glad you love this recipe. : )

  3. Hi! Is one garlic a single clove of garlic? Thank you!

    1. HI Beth. Ops, it’s one garlic clove only, not the whole garlic bulb! : ) I’m amending the recipe card. x

  4. Renee Benson says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! this was my first time making bean soup and I will be making this again. It really was outstanding. I made a mistake and used large lima beans. And it took 6 hours to cook. The smell in the house from the soup cooking was unbelievable. Definitely a repeat, we loved it. 10 stars.

    1. Amazing! Thanks so much for your feedback, Renee.
      I’m very happy to hear you loved the recipe. x

  5. 5 stars
    I do not like lima beans but I loved this soup. I had 4 cans of lima beans in my pantry and was determined to find something to make with them. I will definitely make this again.

    1. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing, Camilla. I appreciate : )
      Have a lovely weekend!

  6. 5 stars
    Made soup it was delicious family enjoyed It was so easy to make will definitely make it again

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, Maggie!
      I’m so pleased to hear the whole family loved it. : )

  7. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe! It’s a very hearty soup and all my family enjoyed it, plus it’s very easy to prepare!

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that, Vanessa… thanks so much for sharing your feedback! : )

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