There are many good reasons to try out butter beans recipes frequently. They are delicious, nutritious and offer number of health benefits and are versatile in terms of cooking options. Butter beans in casseroles, stews, pasta salads, soups or stock preparation, with meats, deep-fried side dish - the options are many!
Are butter beans beneficial especially to women and children? Read further to know more about butter beans nutrition, how to cook butter beans rice, a dinner staple in many parts of Southern United States. Is there is any difference at all between butter beans and lima beans? Now, if you treasure health and happiness alike you would not want to sideline butter beans anymore.
Butter beans vs. lima beans
In some parts of US, lima beans are also called as butter beans. As per cook's thesaurus butter beans = lima beans. Both represent beans at different stages of development. They look a little different reflecting the influence of various climates. Other noticeable differences are nutritional value variation, the shape, size and color.
Lima beans are picked young and green. Butter beans are allowed to get to full size. Lima beans are allowed to dry before cooking whereas butter beans are usually cooked fresh. In terms of flavor, lima beans have a creamy texture and strong, earthy flavor. Butter beans as the name suggests have a buttery smooth taste. Both butter beans and lima beans are excellent choice nutritionally.
Butter beans nutrition facts
Both versions of the beans are seeds, but are considered to belong to the vegetable family. Fresh butter beans are available in the US from late spring through the early parts of summer. The best places to procure are the farmer's markets or specialty grocery stores.
The best ones are those that are firm, dark green and glossy and free of blemishes, wrinkling and yellowing. When fresh butter beans are not in season, the alternative is to buy dried, frozen or canned beans. But fresh butter beans are a true delight. There is absolutely no comparison between fresh and canned, dried or frozen butter beans.
Butter beans are full of fiber (soluble fiber) and folate and magnesium, an excellent source of protein without the high cholesterol or fat found in other protein sources. One serving of butter beans contains 7 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat. Also, a serving of butter beans serves 24% daily value of dietary fiber and has 140 calories.
A cup of butter beans contains 24.9% of the daily requirement of iron. They are also an excellent source of molybdenum, minerals folate, magnesium, copper, phosphorous and thiamin. Butter beans and lima beans are rich in natural antioxidants called anthocyanins.
- Soluble fiber in butter beans helps to eliminate cholesterol from the body.
- Soluble fiber in butter beans helps the body regulate blood sugar levels which makes butter beans a preferred choice for diabetics.
- High potassium, low-sodium butter beans help to reduce blood pressure.
- Butter beans contain protease inhibitors, which discourage development of cancerous cells.
- Being a lean source of energy,it makes a great addition to a weight-loss diet.
- Butter beans are good for the heart. High levels of folic acid and magnesium may have protective effects for the heart.
- Saponin, a phytochemical in butter beans may have antifungal, antibacterial effect.
- Thiamin, riboflavin, B6 vitamins and other nutrients in butter beans are necessary for normal growth and for building of body tissues.
- Butter beans can provide iron, most needed by menstruating women who are at risk of iron deficiency.
- A great source of calcium, both children and adults benefit from including butter beans in their diet to keep bones strong.
- Calcium rich butter beans are beneficial for pregnant and lactating women who require more calcium.
- Butter beans should form part of regular diet especially for women. During and after menopause women are likely to suffer calcium deficiency and are prone to osteoporosis.
- All types of beans have 'anti-aging' agents or antioxidants, which are found in the seed coat.
How to cook butter beans
Fresh butter beans are the best though shelling butter beans is a pre-requisite to get it ready for use. An important step that should be adhered in order to cook butter beans quickly and easily, especially the dried or canned ones, is to steep butter beans. If not, the butter beans may not be properly cooked. Improperly cooked butter beans can result in indigestion.
Soaking: Dried butter beans should be soaked in water for around 4 hours so as to allow the beans to take in moisture. The ratio of butter beans to water should be 1:5. After four hours of soaking in water, the beans will absorb water and result in an increase in volume and weight. Soaking enables discharge of some of the gas producing properties out of the bean. Discard the water and replenish it with fresh water before cooking.
Cooking: Cooking butter beans is an easy process; provided they have been soaked beforehand. While cooking butter beans with replenished water, you may notice foam. Add a teaspoon full of butter or oil (olive oil, canola oil or even Bacon Greaser) or margarine to keep down the foam formation. Adding butter or oil enhances flavor too.
After it reaches the boiling point, simmer for 20-25 minutes. If meat or other vegetables are to be added to butter beans, cook butter beans separately and then add to other ingredients. Do not cook butter beans alongside, as the cooking time tends to be more.
Variations: The biggest advantage about butter bean is that it can be easily added to any meal. You can use it as a main ingredient or mix and mash with other ingredients. Expert chefs share a tip, any dish that falls short of proteins and fiber, include butter beans, like in pasta dishes, casseroles, stews and salads.
Butter beans recipes
Veg butter beans salad
Measure 1 cup of butter beans. Soak overnight in ample amount of water. Replenish water, add salt towards the end and cook butter beans until soft.
Choose a combination of beans, carrot, cabbage, beet root, broccoli or cauliflower. Measure one cup. Add salt and cook vegetables and keep aside. Cut onions and tomatoes. Take a serving bowl. Transfer cooked vegetables, butter beans, onion and tomatoes. Sprinkle oregano. Add a teaspoon of olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Add few drops of lemon juice. Refrigerate for 10 minutes and serve.
Butter beans soup
Butter beans 200 grams
Carrot 1 (medium size)
Ground cumin 2 tsp
Olive oil 4 tbsp
Juice extracted from 1 lemon
Veg or meat stock 1 liter
Chop onion and potatoes. Scrap carrot and cut into small pieces. Change water and cook the (soaked) beans until soft. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin. Let it splutter. Add onions, carrot and potatoes. Stir and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans and stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add chopped parsley. Add salt. Cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables or cooked well. Transfer into a blender and blend until smooth. Add pepper and serve.
Butter beans fry
Butter beans 2 cups
Onion 1 cup
Oregano 3 tsp
Strain water from cooked beans. Leave it in the colander for 10 minutes. Heat cooking oil. Add chopped onions. Fry till it turns golden brown color. Add butter beans. Add oregano and salt. Keep stirring till the fried butter beans shrinks in size. Butter beans fry makes for a good side dish or snack.
Butter beans rice recipe
Butter beans 1 cup
Garlic cloves 2
Cooking oil 1/3 cup
Cooked rice 2 cups
Beef broth ½ cup
Dried chili pepper ¼ tsp
Cook butter beans (fresh/canned) and keep it aside. Add chopped onion, garlic and salt. Let it boil in the liquid in which the beans were cooked. Transfer contents into an electric blender. Keep the blended mixture aside.
Heat oil in a skillet. Add pureed beans and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the cooked rice, beef broth and chili peppers. Stir well and cook for another 6-10 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves or cilantro and serve.
Butter beans with meat
Butter beans 1 cup
Tomato 2 nos
Onions 2 nos
Diced lamb 100 grams
Margarine or vegetable oil 20 grams
Cook beans in water until tender. Keep aside. Heat a skillet. Add oil. Add finely cut onions and fry well. After it turns brown in color, add meat. Cook till the water evaporates. Add finely cut tomatoes and cook well. Add enough water to cover contents in the skillet. Cover and cook till meat turns tender.
Add cooked beans along with the water. Stir well. Add salt. Simmer and cook till it reaches a thick consistency. Goes well with rice and bread.
Butter beans casserole
Frozen butter beans or fresh ones 2 cups
Slices of bacon or a ham hock 4
Bean stock 1 cup
Cheddar cheese 1 oz
Blue cheese 1 (3 oz)
Sliced mushrooms or fresh mushrooms 1 cup<
Fried onion rings 1 cup
Cook the beans with the ham hock or bacon. Drain and reserve the stock. Prepare white sauce using the drained stock. Add remaining ingredients to white sauce minus butter beans. Add the beans last.
Take a ½ quart casserole dish. Transfer ingredients and top with onion rings. Cook at 350 F. Check if onion rings are crisp. Serve hot.
Simple butter beans recipe
Fresh or frozen butter beans 2 cups
Butter 4 tbs
Plain flour 1 tbs
Black pepper 2 tbsp
Cook butter beans until tender with little salt. Add butter and pepper. Take a small container. Transfer flour. Add water to make a smooth paste. Transfer flour mixture into the butter bean container. Mix well. Wait till it thickens. Serve hot.