Pan-fried Lima Beans in Oregano Pesto

I’ve been playing around with beans a lot lately. They’re are cheap and full of fibre which means that they fill you up and provide a steady source of energy.

Lima beans are my current favourite. There’s something about their size that I love, along with the creamy texture. I often use them to make homemade baked beans but here I wanted something simpler. When Heidi, of 101 Cookbooks, poster her Super-eggy Scrambled Eggs with oregano pesto, I was inspired to make my own pesto.

My vegetable gardening efforts this year have been a bit lacklustre. However, oregano grows prolifically in my lower veggie garden bed. McLaren Vale seems to be the perfect climate to grow all things Italian. I’ve also got plenty of Italian, flat-leaf parsley growing and a beautiful bottle of locally grown, spicy, Frantoio variety olive oil. I couldn’t wait to make this pesto.


I soaked my dried beans overnight in a big bowl of water. When I came back to them they’d split terribly. I was annoyed that I’d bought old beans but, after a little research, found out that this is typical of really fresh new beans. So I forged on and threw them in my pressure cooker for 15 minutes (this would take about 40 minutes in a regular saucepan). Released the steam and added a good shake of sea salt. Letting them absorb the salt for ten minutes, before draining them. If you don’t have time for soaking and draining beans, canned cannellini beans will work nearly as well.

Pan-fried Lima Beans in Oregano Pesto

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1 cup lima or cannelini beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp oregano pesto
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • sea salt

oregano pesto

  • ¾ cup fresh oregano, leaves only
  • ½ cup locally produced, extra virgin olive oil*
  • ¼ parsley leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • a pinch sea salt
  1.  Place all the ingredients for the Oregano pesto in a food processor or blender. Puree until combined to a smooth paste.
  2. Heat a large, heavy based frying pan to a medium–high heat. Add the beans and pesto and sauté until little dark flecks appear on the beans. Briefly, toss the tomato through, to warm. Taste and add salt if needed, before serving.

*using locally produced extra virgin olive oil ensure maximum nutrients are preserved and the oil is less likely to be rancid. The oil I purchased was only a few weeks old and still cloudy from pressing.

Nutrition (per serve): 82 Calories, 2.9g fat, 10.8g carbs, 4.4g protein, 3.2g Fibre

About Michelle

Michelle is passionate about showing people how easy it is to prepare food that is healthy and packed full of flavour. She has just completed her first recipe book, Healthy Helpings: fast food for fit physiques. She began sharing her love of food in 2007, when she produced two series of the online cooking show ‘Healthy Helpings TV’, making fast food healthy and healthy food fast. In 2008 she competed in bodybuilding as a novice figure shaping competitor and she remains passionate about physique sports. She was a 2009 Australian Masterchef semi-finalist, and contributes articles to Oxygen Magazine Australia. Michelle lives with her husband on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, where she loves to search out new ingredients and food ideas from local farmers markets, health food shops and ethnic grocers, and take her two dogs on long rambles through the vineyards. Find out more about Michelle's book