Mayan Lima Beans

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Mayan lima beans were a wake up call for me. A lifetime of canned or frozen and boiled beans had dulled my appreciation for limas. I never ordered them in a restaurant, until I met Bruce Ucan. He is a Mayan indian from the Yucatan Peninsula and he brought his recipes from there to Louisville where I was lucky enough to dine at his restaurant, the Mayan Cafe’.

Named after Lima, the capital of Peru and discovered there 1200 years ago, these beans are a staple of latin american diets. They’re a healthy choice, providing a lot of protein and fiber. This recipe calls for Fordhook beans which are the large ones.

This recipe changed my opinion of lima beans and it’s my favorite, but now I’m willing and eager to try them any other way.  These were part of “An Offal Good Dinner” with beef cheeks and mashed potatoes.


  • 2 Cups fordhook lima beans – blanched 1 minute and dried
  • 1 TBL sesame oil
  • 1 TBL canola oil
  • 1/2 cup ground pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions – white and green stem
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh lime

Mayan lima bean ingredientss


  1. If using fresh beans, blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and rinse in cold water then pat dry
  2. If using frozen beans – defrost and pat dry
  3. Toast the pumpkin seeds until lightly browned in a hot pan. Don’t use any oil!
  4. Immediately grind them until medium fine in a food processor – set aside
  5. Heat the sesame and canola oil in a saute pan until almost smoking
  6. Sear the limas in the oil
  7. Add the onion, parsley and ground pumpkin seed
  8. Toss and stir for 1 minute on high heat until the onion is cooked
  9. Pour 1 TBL olive oil over beans
  10. Squeeze the lime juice over the beans
  11. Toss quickly, remove from heat and serve
  12. Salt to taste

Toasted pumpkin seeds Mayan Lima cooking

And just one more thing…

Here is a link to watch Chef Ucan do this. Doesn’t he make this look easy!