Persian Lima Bean Rice Recipe

This recipe has gradually been something I’ve made my own.  First, I made it vegetarian by leaving out the beef.  Then, when E’s allergies became fully known I left out the margarine/butter and didn’t serve this dish with cucumber yogurt (there exists ricera’s rice milk yogurt which we do eat but it is vanilla and isn’t suited for this sort of thing).  I took lots of photos to help show this process.  You’ll want to do some prep here and there to make the final assembly easier.  I’ve posted photos here so do look through them to get an idea of all the steps to follow.


Large 5 quart saucepan (I use all clad but it can be nonstick)
Large mesh strainer
Frying pan


2 large peeled and sliced russet potatoes (enough to cover the bottom of the saucepan)
2 15oz cans of lima beans (or 1, or a 10z bag of frozen lima beans, this is really flexible, my daughter loves to eat the beans so I put extra)
1/2 a large onion (use the other half to make tomato onion salad to serve with this)
3 cloves of garlic
1  tablespoon turmeric
6 tablespoons dill weed
1 teaspoon salt and  1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola and 2 tablespoons olive oil
Three cups of basmati rice (Costco sells nice large bags of this, it is a great deal), rinsed until the water runs clear and then soaked at least two hours or overnight


This makes tons of food so you can halve it or use leftovers for lunch the next day.

You have three layers to make, the tahdig (which is the potato crust at the bottom of your pan), the rice, and the lima bean mixture to put between layers of rice.

As stated above, the rice has to be rinsed until the water runs clear, then soaked overnight or at least 2 hours.  I usually do the overnight method.  So, you run water into a bowl with the rice and swish it around with your hand gently.  Drain and repeat until the water is no longer cloudy.  This may take quite a few times.  Cook’s illustrated suggests when rinsing rice you can just run water over it in a sieve but I feel like that would take more water though I’ve never tested the difference.

To make the lima bean portion fry the diced onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft, add turmeric, your crushed garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the dill & salt plus pepper too.  Fry more and then add the rinsed beans if using canned beans or your frozen beans.  Fry until a little brown.  Set aside for now (I sometimes make this in advance and cover it in the fridge until I need it when preparing the rice.

Put rice in the saucepan and fill water to an inch above it.  Bring to a boil and boil about a minute.  Check the rice, put a grain on your finger and use your nail to break it in two.  You want the inside to still be a little hard.  Drain as soon as possible if this is the case and run cold water on the rice so it stops cooking.

Put the saucepan on the stove and put the canola oil to cover the pan bottom.  Heat it on medium high and cover the pan bottom with the potatoes (I put in extra because E likes the soft potatoes but you really just need to cover the bottom of the pan).  Then layer a third of your rice, then 2 tablespoons of dill, then half the lima bean mixture, then rice, 2 tablespoons of dill, lima bean mixture, and then rice on top.  Poke 4 holes in the rice and put a bit of olive oil in each hole (a tablespoon of olive oil total).

Put a dish towel over the pan lid and hold it on with a bowl when it goes on the pan.  Increase the heat to high until when you test a wet finger on the top of the pan’s bottom third it hisses.  Then turn to low for 40 mins to an hour.  When you remove everything to serve you mix the rice and beans and top with the potatoes.  I serve this with a tomato and onion salad with a lemon and olive oil  dressing (recipe to follow).

It gets easier to make but it is kind of a lot of steps. Persian cooking is not usually quick.  Arguably this is far removed from the real thing but people enjoy eating it when I serve it for company.  My siblings don’t mind it either and they are not vegetarians at all.

I am linking this to Cybele Pascal’s allergy friendly friday, here!  I am also linking to Diet, Dessert and Dogs’ Wellness Weekend, click through from some great allergy friendly and vegan ideas!

21 thoughts on “Persian Lima Bean Rice Recipe

    1. You are too kind, I hope you like it! Please let me know if you have questions! I am learning quickly how hard it is to write a recipe with the right details. Yours are always so on point in that regard. 🙂

      Yes, this really is my comfort food, my parents had a restaurant in the UK when I was little so they both did a lot of home cooking like this for us growing up.

      I am posting the salad recipe that goes with it tomorrow (but it is just tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and equal parts olive oil & lemon juice).

      Have a wonderful weekend!



  1. Thank you for such a detailed recipe! I haven’t ever tried anything like this before, but I just might now. 🙂

    Thanks for your comment on my pancake recipe! Since your daughter can’t have oats I’m sure your can switch them out for any safe flour and still get a good result.


  2. I didn’t know your parents had a restaurant! I love lima beans, and it’s exciting to hear that E loves them, too – so few people do!


    1. Yup, they only closed up shop because we were moving to the US. Lima beans can be hard to find in smallers stores like Trader Joe’s – I guess because they’re not that popular – glad you like them too! 🙂


  3. Such an interesting combination of ingredients! I’ve never had legumes with potatoes before. . . but now that I’m a fava bean pro (ha ha), I’ll try almost anything! Love this idea. Thanks for linking up to Wellness Weekend this week! 🙂


    1. Thank you! I make this about once a week, the rice is soaking for a dinner batch tonight, actually! Please let me know if you get curious to try it & have any questions. 🙂


  4. Hi!!! Thank you for the detailed recipe!!!

    I always loved Lima beans!!! Could you possibly tell me what to do if I want to include the meat??? This is a perfect recipe for my family bc it leaves out any food allergy triggers but we like meat 🙂


    1. Thank you for commenting and reading! Two of my favorite Persian cooking blogs are My Persian Kitchen and Turmeric and Saffron, they may be better able to directly answer your question since I never cooked with meat even before I became vegetarian in 2004. A lot of their recipes are allergy friendly as well. Thinking back to when we used to be able to have products like Morningstar Farms’ crumbles (a soy based meat alternative) I would just put the crumbles in when I was frying the onions so whatever you add you’ll want to pre-cook it in the same way, I’d imagine.


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