nora's spontaneous lima bean veggie soup

We were visiting ani's sister nora with the in-laws. Winter was still hanging on. The goal was to make a soup to precede her lasagna and spinach salad for the family dinner. bob had some kind of smooth pureed soup in mind, based on whatever on-hand ingredients we could find in her kitchen. nora had other ideas. bob spotted the frozen lima beans. nora took over.

First a half red onion appeared. We never have red onions on hand. Chop, chop, chop. We use our convenient cheap plastic V-slicer bought nearly 3 decades ago from a street vender in Munich for all our onion chopping. She uses the Santoko knife we gave her. A similar story for the carrots and celery. We usually just food process them. I guess the knife approach is more ecologically sound (energy efficient). Leeks we also use a knife on, so no technique divergence there. Garlic? We always press it in our Kuhn-Rikon best garlic press in the world, now too expensive to freely gift to others without thinking twice. Nora, the knife. Obviously we are all set in our own ways in the kitchen. Then the diced tomatoes joined the mix, and then...the quart of chicken stock! At least it was low fat. We always use veggie stock. Okay, once it won't kill us. As for the lima beans, bob doesn't get enough of them, so having at least picked the star ingredient, bob was happy to watch nora do her thing.

It wasn't what bob had in mind, but it did do the job. And the second day it was even better. It just goes to show you, anybody can throw together a pretty healthy soup with fresh ingredients and no hidden unpronounceable industry additives. And it doesn't really take a lot of imagination. Well, maybe a bit more than bob has when pureed soup is on his mind.

Oh, and one other thing. Watch that salt!


2 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, or 1 yellow onion
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
sparing hit of salt to bring out the flavors
1 28oz or so can of diced tomatoes
1 qt low fat chicken or veggie stock/broth
1 16oz package frozen baby lima beans
salt (conservative amount!) and pepper to taste
a hit of paprika


  1. Do the fresh veggie prep following the technique of your choice.
  2. Start the actual cooking by sauteeing the onion in olive oil until softened.
  3. Then continue with the carrots, celery, leeks and garlic, adding a light touch of salt to bring out their flavor, or something.
  4. When suitably softened, dump in the can of diced tomatoes and a quart (4 cups) of your choice of broth (even boiling water with concentrate, like we usually do), and the lima beans. Toss in the spices.
  5. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to simmer. Let it simmer for say 30 minutes on low heat.
  6. Remove from heat and adjust the spices. Remember, go easy on the salt. This is one of the main reasons you are doing your own soup rather than trusting Campbell's or some other corporate giant profit making machine.


  1. Kuhn-Rikon Epicurean garlic press. Now 40 bucks in the store. Plus shipping on-line. We bought our first ones at 26 bucks. Seems to have been a better investment than the stock market, which recently tanked with all our retirement hopes. Maybe we'll have to step down to the new K-R easy squeeze product for gifting.
  2. Campbell's condensed soups, the staple of bob's childhood lunch menu. In those days there was no salt awareness. It sure makes things taste good though. Apparently the leading cardiovascular impact is high blood pressure or hypertension, which bob does not have, but which is a really big problem in the United States. Bob just has a family history of sudden death due to cardio-related plumbing problems. Ani is the one with the high blood pressure, and bob is the one always cautioning her with the salt addition in the kitchen. He favors subtraction of course. Couples are like that. The mathematics of the mating practice.
  3. Illustrations available.
limabnvgsp.htm: 6-mar-2009 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]