Sunday, January 20, 2013

Butter Bean Soup

Sunday night is generally not a time when many of us feel like making an elaborate dinner. At the same time, sitting on the couch chowing down on that leftover half a challah isn't the healthiest or least depressing of meal options. Soup, however, is as close to effortless as it gets, and has the added benefit of actual nutritional value. About the beans: butter beans, delightfully pareve in spite of the name, are basically just large, white lima beans. But they have a slightly milder taste than standard-issue lima beans, hold up very well in a soup, and contain useful stuff like potassium and fiber.

Butter Bean Soup (Serves 2)

Ingredients that need a hechsher:

- Soup base (recommended: Imagine brand vegetable broth), 2 cups
- Butter beans, if using canned, 1 cup
- Paprika (recommended: Trader Joe's Smoked Paprika)

Ingredients that don't need a hechsher:

- Onions, 1/2 cup
- Celery, 1 cup
- Carrots, 1 cup
- Zucchini, 1 large


Chop the zucchini, carrots, celery, and onions. If using canned butter beans, drain and rinse the beans. Place 2 cups of the vegetable soup base, along with 1/2 cup water, in a large pot. Put the vegetables and beans in the pot, along with a few dashes of paprika. Cover and simmer on low for  about 1 hour, stirring occasionally:

(Gratuitous-- hopefully, at least-- pic showing you how to stir)

Put the soup in a bowl, and then eat it. Yep.


  1. This looks good! Some questions for you (when you feel like answering)
    So are you a total vegetarian?
    Is that considered unusual by your friends/family?
    Do you consider butter beans to be a superior bean?

    1. I am indeed completely vegetarian, and I have been all my life. A lot of my relatives are vegetarian too. As for whether it's common in general: I'd say that it seems to be quite uncommon among frum Orthodox Jews, but at least somewhat common among Masorti/Conservative Jews. In particular, many of my friends and family members who came from Israel but now live in the U.S. keep a fully kosher and vegetarian kitchen at home, but eat dairy or pareve out in non-kosher restaurants. This is especially true of those who live in an area where it's really hard to find kosher meat. I have no idea how common or uncommon it is from a statistical standpoint, but I definitely know a lot of vegetarian Conservative Jews.

      In my current area there also seem to be a large number of vegetarian and vegan Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, but from talking to a few of them, it seems that this may often not be for reasons relating to kashrut.

      And yeah, I definitely consider butter beans to be one of nature's finest bean-related items! They taste good, are really healthy, and have a very good texture when incorporated into a soup or stew.