This Peruvian Lima Bean Salad features healthy vegetables and beans marinated in a zesty leche de tigre style sauce. It's something of a vegan "ceviche," a gorgeous side dish or a stand alone light meal!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Leche de Tigre and Lima Beans
This Peruvian lima bean salad hearkens back to our first month-long trip to Peru in 2017. It only took me almost 3 years to re-create it in my own kitchen.
Leche de tigre (tiger's milk) is the citrus-based, spicy marinade used to "cook" fish in classic Peruvian ceviche. More specifically, the leche de tigre is the liquid left behind the ceviche that includes the fish juices.
Praised for its aphrodisiac qualities and as a hangover cure, that delicious liquid is seldom left behind! In fact many recipes serve a cocktail made with the leftover marinade - often presented bloody Mary style. I'm anxious to try one!
So what does that have to do with this Peruvian lima bean salad? My husband and I have spent our last 3 anniversaries in Peru, and in 2017, we celebrated our 37th at renowned Chef Gaston Acurio's restaurant Chicha. One of our favorite "small plates" was a delicious lima bean ceviche - a vegetarian take on ceviche with the same citrus-based marinade. It was spectacular!
Nearly 3 years later, I am finally re-creating the dish in my own kitchen. Lima beans were originally discovered in Peru, and remain an important ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. Cooked and cooled beans marinate in a ceviche-style marinade and get combined with tomatoes in a super quick, easy, and very healthy side dish or light lunch!
I have made this Peruvian side/salad with both dried limas and frozen. With frozen lima beans and 10 minutes cooking time, this salad can be ready in 30 minutes, but the longer it soaks up the marinade, the better it tastes. It's even better the next day!
🌰 Are Lima Beans Healthy?
Yes, with a caveat! Raw lima beans are toxic, and require a minimum of 10 minutes cooking time before being safely consumed. Frozen beans are not cooked, but canned beans are. Dried beans must be cooked, so you're "good to go" if you start with dried.
Lima Bean Nutrition Facts
Nutrition facts per ½ cup serving:
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 cups cooked lima beans (see Tips)
- 8 ounces tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- fresh chile, minced (see Tips)
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 red onion, thin sliced
- sea salt/fresh ground pepper
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
- Cook the lima beans - IMPORTANT NOTE: Lima beans must cook 10 minutes prior to consuming! If you're using canned or dried, they've been cooked, but if you're using frozen or fresh, they must cook 10 minutes. Boil 10 minutes.
- Make the marinade - Combine lime juice, olive oil, and sea salt in a liquid-tight jar, shake vigorously.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients - Chop the tomatoes, mince the chile pepper, chop the cilantro, and thin-slice the red onion.
- Marinate the salad - Add vegetables and beans to a good-sized bowl. Pour the marinade over and toss to combine thoroughly. Cover and set aside a minimum of 30 minutes or several hours.
- Serve - Taste for seasoning. Garnish with additional cilantro as desired. Enjoy!
💭 Tips Variations and FAQ
I can't find Peruvian peppers. What can I substitute? Fresno chiles are a perfect substitute as they have a sweet heat similar to ají amarillo peppers. Jalapeños or serranos provide heat, but if you're heat averse, red bell pepper is a nice option! On photo day, I had fresh rocoto/manzano peppers (Peruvian). They're quite hot and a bit hard to find.
Can I substitute another bean? YES! I have use Peruvian mayocoba beans. You can use any large, mild bean, just make sure it's cooked when you start.
How long can I keep my bean salad? You want the beans to marinate at least 30 minutes, but this is a great make ahead recipe. Several hours in the marinade is awesome. Keep the salad in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
🌡️ Useful Stuff
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🍅 What to Serve Alongside
This is a perfect Peruvian side dish to serve with butterflied and grilled Peruvian-style chicken or Peruvian chicken anticuchos. I wouldn't hesitate to serve it as a side with a rotisserie chicken or a grilled chicken breast. This salad is super versatile, very healthy, and quick to prepare!
As the weather warms, we're navigating from soups and stews to hearty salads and warm weather fare. I think you'll find this to be a great addition to your warm weather repertoire!