Lima bean shakshuka

Lima bean shakshuka just means all mixed-up; and that's about it. Along with hummus, made from chickpeas and falafel from favas, it is one of the favourite dishes of the people of the Mediterranean.

I'm sure you noticed that all three have legumes as the main ingredient. It is no coincidence that in the five Blue Zone countries, where ten-times as many people live to vibrant old age, that peas and beans are staples. Fresh from the garden they are a treat.

Dried and canned lima beans are much less exciting.

Lima bean shakshuka.


  • A dozen freshly-picked lima pods; or half a can of butter-beans.
  • 6 peppadews or other chili.
  • Young coriander and rocket leaves; fresh-chives.
  • Olive-oil or butter.
  • 1 egg per person; more if your cholesterol is dangerously low.
  • 2 fresh, very-ripe tomatoes; or a cup of puree.
  • Spices and green-herbs; and half an onion.

From a can, known as butter beans, they are a distinct second-best but then you don't have to wait months for the pods to mature.

Today we are going to make our shakshuka with red peppers, cumin and garlic; perhaps half a teaspoon of turmeric, young green-coriander and rocket too. Then we'll poach a fresh egg on top.

Personalise the shakshuka for your own family. You could add spinach, a shallot and even feta-cheese.

And of course we have made it with lima-beans because they are prolific right now in our garden, but you could equally easily use chickpeas or favas. The sky's the limit.

Growing lima beans is eminently worthwhile because you are unlikely to find these beauties in the shops. Like all vegetables they need to be freshly-harvested, brought to the kitchen and prepared immediately.

After just half a day they lose that glistening, fresh-appearance as they begin to dehydrate and the sugars turn to starch. We love them young and tender, straight from the garden.

They are a treat that only gardeners, their close friends and family can enjoy. It does mean strictly limiting television and browsing the social-media; I prefer having fun myself to watching others on the playground.

  1. Pod the lima beans and drop them into boiling-water for about five minutes, depending on how mature they are.
  2. Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-pan; add a teaspoon of cumin seeds that you've recently roasted and blended[4].
  3. A couple cloves of garlic.
  4. Meanwhile split the peppadews in half, remove the stalks and if you don't like it hot, the seeds. Try to keep the white-placenta; see why below.
  5. Drain the lima beans and toss them, the peppadews and tomato into the hot-oil. Allow to simmer for a few minutes until they are tender and juicy.
  6. I like my food moist, so I add half a cup of the water used to cook the beans; but you don't need to.
  7. Make several divots in the mixture and crack an egg into each; allow to simmer until they are just how you enjoy them. I love a soft-yolk, the good wife prefers it cooked more firmly; I delay adding mine for a minute.
  8. Sprinkle with your finely chopped favourite green-herbs, perhaps a gremolata; cover again so they can steam. Bring the sizzling skillet to the table.
  9. I love it on pan-fried toast in a bowl with all the juices.
Lima bean pods.

Simply one lima-bean plant will give you literally hundreds of seeds. They need a very strong trellis on which to grow as strong winds will knock them over.

Growing lima beans is not difficult; they just have a very long season but then go on bearing for ages. We have enjoyed this shakshuka for at least six weeks, literally most days; and have at least another month to go, perhaps longer.

This lima bean shakshuka is our standard breakfast in autumn and early winter; once they are over we change to favas, an even better source of the feel-good hormones.

Notice the shine on the beans below; they soon lose that after harvesting, with both flavour and nutrition I suspect decreasing.

Limas do have a small amount of L-dopa by the way; there is far more in fava beans. It is extremely important for our wellness, being the precursor of a vital neurotransmitter produced in the gut and a nucleus in the brain. 

I am talking about dopamine of course, also known as the feel-good hormone[1]. The prevalence of Parkinson's Disease is rising in leaps and bounds, far beyond the predicted rate. A toxic herbicide used to kill off the potato haulm just before harvesting leads the charge.

Lima beans in pot.

Lima bean shakshuka

A lima bean shakshuka can be cooked in a jiffy using the seeds from a can but it's a poor shadow of the real-deal.

From a can they are called butter beans; lots of salt, even sugar and preservatives are usually added.

We believe that we should enjoy what is in season, so right now it is limas but in high summer it was snap-beans and Scarlet Runners. Chickpeas are hard to grow and reap; I haven't found it worthwhile, so we have them dried in hummus.

Shelled lima beans.


We love peppadews because they are piquant like chilies but without the heat. The seeds and particularly the white placenta that holds them are a very rich source of an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient called capsaicin. Toss them into the shakshuka.

Those enjoying anti-inflammatory foods regularly have far less pain in their muscles and joints.

One in four adults will have a stroke; those with low-levels of inflammation in the body are ten times more likely to have a bad outcome[5]. Peppers in your shakshuka are part of the solution.

"Let thy food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food."

Hippocrates (460 - 370 BC)


Lima beans have quite a lot of carbohydrate but it is what's known as resistant-starch; much is fibre that is not digested producing sugars but passes through to the colon for the host of friendly bacteria to feed on.

So they are not fattening and do enhance the microbiome. The net carbs are low.

Learn more about net-carbs; it's an important topic.

However the obese who are trying to lose weight must forego even the friendly starches for a period to get their daily carbs below 50 grams; there is no other way. Forget diets because they never deliver on their promises; you already know that. Perhaps just two or three lima beans in your shakshuka; they supply "early satiety."

In fact this lima bean shakshuka is known for its "subsequent meal effect." At lunch you'll be satiated sooner after a breakfast like this.

Extra olive oil and avocados provide the added-fat that also gives satiety; and we are not afraid of butter either when enjoying dishes like this lima bean shakshuka regularly. You'll soon find that your cholesterol like mine will be dangerously low!

Butter is back thank goodness; it should never have been banished to Coventry. But that's assuming you are enjoying plenty of greens and beans daily.

Food is about fashions

It is so confusing for the average person. These food-fashions really throw us off; eggs are out, butter is back in and now it is carbs that are bad. Avoid bread and all beans. It's all a load of hogwash.

We do need to weigh these issues but the truth is that the scientists have often led us needless down garden paths and up cul de sacs. My advice is think for yourself, read a lot and get back to the food that your great-grandmother once ate. That would certainly have included lima beans; succotash was a great favourite.

In many ways it needs to be seen as a spiritual issue; caring for Brother Ass[3]. If you don't look after him he is inclined to turn around and bite.

  1. How to Hack Your Hormones for a Better Mood
  2. Capsaicin health benefits
  3. Brother Ass needs good food
  4. What is cumin?
  5. Low-level inflammation affects stroke severity. Web:

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Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • ´╗┐Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • ´╗┐What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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South Africa


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