Baby Lima Beans in a Springtime Broad Bean Soup

Fresh Broad Bean Soup from Sippity Sup

I’ve been on a spring soup rampage. I made this Fresh Broad Bean Soup with Tarragon and Mint because I’m so inspired by all the produce I’ve seen lately. If case you haven’t noticed, spring seems to have really arrived.

You know it’s spring in Los Angeles not because the birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing and the flowers are blooming. You know it’s spring because the markets and restaurants are exploding with fresh vegetables. Look around and you’ll see baby purple artichokes or those big fat asparagus spears that make only a brief seasonal appearance every year. Skinny asparagus is great for summer grilling, but the monster spears of April and May make me smile like no other vegetable can. I’ve even seen rare appearances of crisp puntarelle at the market recently. It’s a chicory-like green with Roman roots.

These beauties are of course the glamor girls of the season. Well these and sweet peas and fava beans of course.

You know I love fava beans. I’ve mentioned our passionate affair before. But fava beans are part of a broader category of beans called (naturally) broad beans. Where I grew up there’s a particularly delicious type of broad bean known as Butter Beans. They’re hard to find outside the Southern part of the United States so you may not be familiar with them. They’re like great big, cream-colored, extra-squishy Lima Beans. I realize that Lima Beans are one of the most maligned of all beans, but I think they’re a beacon of spring. Lima Beans, like all broad beans, are worth a little of our attention this time of year.

In mild regions like California they’re planted in early winter and get some of their acclimating done underground through our wet, almost cold weather months. They begin to emerge in late March. By April tiny, sweetly delicate Baby Lima Beans start enticing me to explore simple ways to feature them in my meals. One of those ways is in this simple broad bean soup. GREG

Fresh Broad Bean Soup with Tarragon and Mint 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield Source inspired by Rose Gray, The River Cafe, LondonPublished

If using fava beans be sure to choose very young beans. More mature fava beans develop a tough skin that needs to be removed before cooking. This is not typically necessary with lima or other types of broad beans, use your judgment.

Broad Bean Soup from Sippity Sup


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion peeled and diced
  • 2 cup shelled fresh peas
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into ½‑inch dice
  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon leaves only
  • 2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cup shelled fresh fava beans, or other ‘broad bean’ such as lima or butter beans (you may also use a mixture of these beans)
  • 1 pinch each kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (for garnish)


Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and potatoes and cook, stirring often until potatoes soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Add tarragon, stirring to combine. Pour in stock and let the mixture come to a simmer; if the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat. After about 15 minutes stir in half the broad beans; immediately remove Dutch oven from heat. 

Bring a separate small pot of water to a boil. Add the remaining broad beans and cook covered, for about one minute. Quickly drain the beans and run cool water over them to stop the cooking; set aside.

Add a couple of big ladle fulls of the peas, potato and stock mixture to the bowl of a food processor set with the blade attachment. Pulse the machine a few times, then let the machine run until a smooth consistency is achieved. Scrape this mixture back into the Dutch oven containing the rest of the peas, potato and stock mixture. Add the reserved cooked whole broad beans to the Dutch oven as well. Season with salt and pepper. The soup may be made several hours ahead to this point. Keep covered at room temperature.

When ready to serve, gently reheat the soup. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with chopped fresh mint. The soup should be thick with a combination of whole beans and rough puree.