christmas lima beans

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Christmas Lima Beans and Quinoa with Beets and Avocado

From the book Heirloom Beans by and
Serves 4 to 6


I loved the idea of using quinoa, an indigenous Incan supergrain loaded with protein, but it reminded me of a sad cousin to couscous. Sometimes it tasted bitter, and it often seemed light and boring in comparison to rice. I experimented successfully with new recipes and now I eat quinoa at least weekly. Different brands of quinoa are cleaned in different ways, so don’t give up on quinoa. I promise you it will become one of your favorite grains. If your brand of quinoa is bitter, soak it for 4 to 6 hours, which removes some of the characteristic bitterness, improves the texture, and makes the quinoa more digestible.



5 small beets
½ cup quinoa
3 cups well-drained, cooked Christmas lima beans, warmed slightly
½ small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado


2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
cup extra-virgin olive oil
~ Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the beets and dry them. Put in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the beets in 2 separate aluminum-foil packages, putting like-sized beets with like-sized beets. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins with your fingers. Cut the beets into ¼-inch-thick wedges. Put in a large salad bowl.
  2. Rinse the quinoa under cold running water. Bring a medium saucepan of generously salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the quinoa is fluffy but still slightly crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse quickly under cool running water. Drain well and add to the beets.
  3. Add the beans and onion to the salad bowl. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit, leaving each half in the skin. Cut each half lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Then cut the slices crosswise into thirds. Using a spoon, scoop the avocado from the skin and add to the bowl. Toss gently.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, and honey. Drizzle in the olive oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking continuously until the dressing comes together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, adjust the seasonings, and serve at room temperature within 2 hours.


Any big, meaty bean will work well in this dish; try scarlet runner beans.

This content is from the book Heirloom Beans by Vanessa Barrington and Steve Sando.

There are 16 comments on this item
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50% recommend this recipe
1. by Tamar on Dec 5, 2008 at 1:46 PM PST

Sounds like a delicious and easy recipe.

Thank you.

2. by Ali on Dec 5, 2008 at 8:35 PM PST

Yey! A recipe with quinoa! It’s one of those ingredients that intrigue me, but I have yet to master. I’ll definitely try this recipe out, it looks delicious!

3. by chromiumman on Dec 6, 2008 at 6:57 PM PST

looks very good

4. by anonymous on Dec 6, 2008 at 8:02 PM PST

Move over iceberg - this is the salad for me!

5. by Annulla on Dec 6, 2008 at 8:32 PM PST

Beets, avocado & limas -- three of my favorite foods in a single recipe! I will definitely be trying this sooon.

6. by Connie Sahn on Dec 7, 2008 at 7:41 AM PST

Sounds like an interesting recipe to try.

7. by arawlins on Dec 7, 2008 at 8:56 AM PST

This looks like a great recipe. I am looking for more bean recipes, not to mention I have some quinoa I was not sure how else to use.

8. by Mikelynn on Dec 7, 2008 at 9:16 AM PST

This sounds like a delicious recipe. We love Lima Beans and are always trying to find new ways to fix them. I just saw Cranberry Beans for the first time this week and am looking forward to trying them.

9. by Evan Jones on Dec 7, 2008 at 5:04 PM PST

This is very similar to a salad I made recently: beets with barley and a balsamic vinaigrette. While roasted beets are delicious, I tend to steam my beets because it is faster. Slice and cut the beats, throw them in a steamer and they’ll be done in about 15 minutes.

10. by dolls123 on Dec 7, 2008 at 8:51 PM PST

This looks good

11. by Vera on Dec 7, 2008 at 9:12 PM PST

This sounds like a delicious dish. Theres nothing better than good beans.

12. by azdave58 on Dec 7, 2008 at 10:26 PM PST

The Christmas Lima Beans and Quinoa with Beets and Avocado looks scrumptious and I can’t wait to make

13. by anonymous on Dec 7, 2008 at 11:21 PM PST

MMM, I love Avocado! This sounds good!

supercoupongirl AT

14. by sheila k. on Dec 8, 2008 at 12:24 AM PST

Quinoa is the super grain. Our family loves another Quinoa Salad recipe because we all notice a difference after we eat it -- thinking is clearer and we have more energy and a state of well-being. I am interested in trying the Christmas Lima Beans and Quinoa with Beets and Avocado because it has some of the same ingredients as the recipe we love, and I know how good we feel after eating it. Thanks for the recipe.

15. by samanthapayntr on Dec 8, 2008 at 1:50 AM PST

the beets and avocado sound like a great match up to me! i bet this has a really unique taste!

16. by Cindy Ellis on Dec 8, 2008 at 6:40 AM PST

This sounnds so good I like roasted beets amd I enjoy avoocado I tried quinoa once. Never tried Christmas lima beans before but always like to try new things.

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