You’re not the first to question what distinguishes creamy lima beans from smooth staple butter beans.
They are, in fact, the same legume, with the only variation being the maturity level at which they are harvested.
Simply stated, butter beans are the parents, while the younger, greener-hued beans are the lima children. Regardless, they are from the same plant.
What matters is how you prepare and consume them, not what you name them! So, let’s look at the tiny variations that might arise according to the maturity of the beans.
- Difference Between Butter Beans and Lima Beans
- Butter Beans vs. Lima Beans Comparison Table
- Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?
- Can I Substitute Butter Beans for Lima Beans and Vice Versa?
- Cooking With Butter Beans & Lima Beans
- Is lima bean similar to butter beans?
- What do butter beans taste like?
- What bean is closest to butter beans?
- What is most similar to butter beans?
- What are butter beans good for?
- What bean is closest to lima beans?
- What is the best tasting bean?
- Do you soak butter beans before cooking?
- How do you eat butter beans?
- What is another name for butter beans?
Difference Between Butter Beans and Lima Beans
The major distinction between butter beans and lima beans is their maturity level; both originate from the same plant. Lima beans, on the other hand, are picked before they are completely developed, and butter beans are harvested after they are fully matured.
As a result, the Phaseolus lunatus has two names. Lima, Peru’s capital, inspired the phrase “lima bean.” Butter beans, on the other hand, were most likely called after the creamy mouthfeel of, you guessed it, butter.
Whatever you call them and whatever stage of maturation you discover them in, know that you can tell them apart by their somewhat distinct texture, size, and color, so let’s go through each one.
As the name implies, butter beans have a buttery, creamy texture. Lima beans have a mealy, starchy texture that some people equate to undercooked fava beans.
Butter beans are considerably bigger in size because they are mature. Lima beans look to be somewhat smaller than regular beans.
Butter beans have a flat, kidney-shaped form. Lima beans, on the other hand, are similar to kidney beans but more rounder than flat.
Butter beans are often white or light yellow in appearance, while lima beans are pale green.
Butter beans are often bought in supermarkets, either canned or dried. They are also sometimes available fresh. Lima beans are available canned and fresh.
Butter Beans vs. Lima Beans Comparison Table
|Category||Butter Beans||Lima Beans|
|Type of legume||Phaseolus lunatus||Phaseolus lunatus|
|Name origin||Named after the creamy consistency of butter||Named after Lima, the capital city of Peru|
|Level of maturity||Mature||Ripe|
|Texture||Creamy and buttery||Starchy and meal-like|
|Shape||Flat and kidney-shaped||More rounded, but still kidney-shaped|
|Color||White or pale yellow||Pale green|
|How are they sold||Fresh, dry, and canned||Fresh and canned|
Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?
Because butter beans and lima beans have comparable nutritional profiles, they are both equally healthful.
That being stated, consider the following health advantages that these beans may provide:
- Long-lasting fullness: Butter beans and lima beans include both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps enhance fullness and lower the risk of overeating.
- Protein is essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy muscles and body tissues. It also serves as a source of energy. Legumes are an excellent meal for vegans, vegetarians, and individuals who prefer plant-based meals but struggle to obtain enough protein from them.
- Excellent for diabetes: Lima beans and butter beans have low glycemic profiles, which measure how much a food elevates blood sugar levels. They also have a high fiber content, which may help manage blood sugar levels by delaying the absorption of sugar into the body. Lima beans and butter beans may help diabetics maintain their blood sugar levels. One research found that eating beans on a daily basis was connected with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Soluble fiber decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, which reduces the chance of developing heart disease. Furthermore, beans are high in antioxidants, which protect your body from inflammation and oxidative stress and promote a strong and healthy heart.
Butter Beans vs Lima Beans: Nutritional Profile
|Category (1 cup)||Butter Beans||Lima Beans|
|Vitamins & Minerals|
Can I Substitute Butter Beans for Lima Beans and Vice Versa?
Because they are members of the same legume family, you may use butter beans for lima beans.
We discussed before that butter beans are the more mature beans with a richer and butterier texture. Lima beans, on the other hand, are green, starchy, and somewhat smaller.
During the substitute, their color and mouthfeel may be the two things that stick out the most. Aside than that, they are identical.
If you don’t have lima beans, you may substitute cannellini or navy beans, which are soft and creamy enough to compensate for the buttery texture.
In terms of taste and texture, fava beans are extremely similar to lima beans. If you don’t have fava beans, you may use kidney beans instead. They are also quite flexible and work well in soups, stews, and salads.
If you only have canned beans and the recipe asks for dry beans, skip the cooking phase, drain and rinse the beans, and then add them five minutes before the end of the cooking time. Also, since canned beans are already salty, you may need to reduce the salt in the recipe.
Cooking With Butter Beans & Lima Beans
The classic approach of placing butter beans or lima beans in a pot with some water and letting them boil is one we are all familiar with, but it is not the only one. There are plenty additional ways to prepare these beans! Some of the more intriguing recipes are highlighted here.
Butter Bean Burgers
If you want to try something new, prepare vegetarian burgers using butter beans! They’re loaded with chopped onion, jalapeño pepper, crackers, egg, cheddar, and garlic powder and are thick and surprisingly tasty. If your butter bean burgers are dry and crumbly, try adding a little potato starch to compensate. It will hold the patties together and keep them moist.
Greek Lima Beans
Limas are cooked in a robust tomato sauce with minced garlic, carrots, onion, chopped tomatoes, and herbs in this Greek beans recipe. What was the end result? A really gastrointestinal-friendly meal! This recipe pairs well with crusty bread and a nice green salad. If you want to add a smoky taste to your dish, roast steak or pork with the lima beans.
Orzo Lima Beans Pasta
You may cook this 30-minute vegetarian orzo if you need a fast yet excellent meal. Orzo is a kind of soft, fluffy pasta. It’s paired with lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon in this recipe, giving the meal a pleasantly zesty taste. Walnuts are also incorporated to provide texture to the meal. Finally, the profusion of veggies in this meal, from kale and spinach to lima beans and parsley, elevates it to the status of superfood.
Butter Bean Tomato Soup
This butter bean tomato soup is full, flavorful, and soothing, and it smells delicious while it cooks. The soup can be made in about 20 minutes, which is excellent if you’re in a hurry and want something substantial and comforting.
The creamy butter beans, celery, onion, garlic, and basil are mixed into the rich tomato sauce. Finally, you’ll get a delectable tomato flavor with a bit of acidity and a salty undertone. Perfect for the cold months!
To summarize, both beans come from the same plant, yet butter beans are bigger, brighter in color, and creamier in texture. Despite being smaller, rounder, and greener, lima beans are just as nutritious!
We hope we’ve encouraged you to try one of our recipes, such as the orzo lima bean pasta, which is ideal for a movie night, or the butter bean tomato soup, which is ideal for a light and nutritious meal!