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Lima Beans and Grain Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Lima Beans and Grain Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Tamara Andersen
A light and refreshing salad with lots of whole grain and fiber goodness from dried lima beans and barley... Fresh zucchini, grape tomatoes, and creamy avocados with a simple citrus and cilantro vinaigrette make this Lima Bean and Grain Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette a perfect side or light summer supper!
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Dish, Salads, Vegetarian/Side Dish
Servings 6 as a main course
Calories 403 kcal


Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 1 tangerine zest and juice
  • 2 limes zest of 1 and juice of both
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (see notes)
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or ½ teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons aji amarillo paste (see notes)
  • 1 cup cilantro (see notes)
  • 1 shallot peeled, cut in chunks
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • several grinds pepper


  • 3 cups cooked lima beans (see notes)
  • 3 cups cooked barley (see notes)
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper diced
  • 8 ounces tiny (grape) tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • 3 ounces cotija, queso fresco, or feta diced
  • 1 large avocado cubed


  • If cooking your beans and/or grains, get them started first!
  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or processor. Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
  • Add all salad ingredients to a large salad bowl. Toss gently with the dressing. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired. Enjoy!


Sherry vinegar is super smooth, making it a great choice when you don't want biting acidity in your dressing. You can substitute a good wine or champagne vinegar.
I rinse my entire bunch of cilantro, squeeze it gently dry in a clean towel, and cut it at the base of the leaves. I then pick out any large stems, and toss it into the blender. Picking a leaf at a time is tedious, but you don't want a lot of bitter stems in your dressing. Depending on the size of the bunch, this yields about 1 cup packed. An exact amount is not important.  :-D 
I love the sweet, earthy heat of Peruvian aji amarillo chile. It's gotten much easier to find globally due to the explosion of Peruvian cooking on the international food scene. You can substitute a bit of your favorite hot sauce or chile paste. Always season to taste!
As I mention in the post, I pressure cook my dried lima beans. This process takes 40 minutes. I start my lima beans, make my dressing, and then prep the rest of the ingredients.
You can substitute lentils, or other firm beans/legumes for the lima beans. Cook according to instructions, and cool completely prior to adding to the salad.
Barley is great as the "grain" in this recipe, but we've had it with farro too. You may wish to substitute brown rice (gluten-free), quinoa, etc. This recipe is flexible!
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 403 calories; 15 g protein; 56 g carbohydrates; 20 g fat.


Calories: 403kcal
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