Rating: 5 stars
22 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 19
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

This was one of my father's favorite dishes, a staple of Depression-era cooking when fresh meat was scarce and soup stretched everything. Simmered until thick, with chunks of ham - even lima-bean-haters enjoy this hearty soup.

Recipe Summary

4 hrs 12 mins
1 hr
5 hrs 32 mins
20 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place beans in a large pot; cover with 2 inches water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 to 2 hours. Drain and rinse. Transfer beans to another container.

  • Combine ham bone and 8 cups water in a large saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until remaining meat falls off the bone, about 2 hours. Remove and discard bone. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until onion is translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add cooked ham bone meat, lima beans, and diced ham. Reduce heat and simmer, adding additional water as needed, until soup is thickened to desired consistency, about 90 minutes.

  • Stir carrots, salt, pepper, and parsley into the soup. Let simmer until carrots are soft, about 30 minutes more.

Cook's Notes:

You can also soak the beans overnight.

If you don't have a ham bone, you can also use 1/2 pound bacon or salt pork. Add the bacon or pork to the pan over medium heat, and let cook for a few minutes. Add onions and celery and stir-fry for 7 to 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and bacon is cooked.

Nutrition Facts

296 calories; protein 17.9g; carbohydrates 40.5g; fat 7.5g; cholesterol 15.9mg; sodium 710.2mg. Full Nutrition