Butter Beans with Butter, Mint, and Lime from 'The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen'

Butter Beans with Butter, Mint, and Lime from 'The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen'

[Photograph: Squire Fox]

There are few dishes more evocative of Southern simplicity than a bowl of fresh beans with butter. Matt and Ted Lee's recipe for butter beans in their new cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, is no exception. Their version incorporates bright lime juice and mint, for a taste that is at once butter-rich and herbaceously refreshing. Even with these accoutrements, the process couldn't be easier—simmer the beans until warm and tender, toss with tiny butter pieces until melted, and dress with juice, zest, and herbs.

Why I picked this recipe: Butter and lima beans are an old seasonal favorite of mine.

What worked: Simmering the beans is easy, and the mint and lime perk things up just enough to keep the dish interesting.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: If you can't find fresh butter beans, you can substitute frozen baby lima beans. Fresh fava beans would also make for a good variation.

Excerpted with permission from The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, copyright 2013 by Matt Lee and Ted Lee. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

  • Yield:Serves 8
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes


  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cups fresh shelled butter beans or frozen baby lima beans
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Juice of 2 large limes
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest, for garnish


  1. 1.

    In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add the butter beans and cook until tender, 9 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the beans. Drain in a colander, and shake the colander several times to shed as much water from the beans as possible.

  2. 2.

    Put the butter in a large serving bowl, and pour the warm butter beans on top. Toss the beans with the butter until all the butter is melted. Add the lime juice and toss again to distribute. Fold in the mint, season with salt and black pepper, and scatter lime zest over the top. Serve immediately.