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3.75 from 4 votes

Christmas Lima Bean and Celery Soup with Olives and Lemon Garnish

This is a hearty, scrumptious winter soup, made with Rancho Gordo heirloom Christmas Lima Beans, homemade celery salt, olives and lemon.
Servings: 6


  • Ingredients
  • 1 pounds of Christmas lima beans cooked with broth reserved (or 2 1/2 pounds cooked beans, see recipe for cooking below)
  • 1 cup olive oil can use more, original recipe uses 2 cups
  • 2 heads of celery this seems like a lot, but you need every bit of it, chopped into 3/4” pieces
  • 3 bunches spring onions chopped with green parts (reserve some for topping)
  • 8 large garlic cloves chopped use every bit of it, the garlic gets absorbed into the soup
  • Celery leaves for celery salt, recipe below in notes
  • 1 large can Italian plum tomatoes roughly chopped, with juice (use fresh tomatoes if they are ripe)
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 5 1/2 cups water/bean broth combination use up to 2 cups of bean broth
  • oil cured olives seeded, chopped, sprinkled with red chili flakes
  • Chopped parsley to garnish soup
  • Black pepper sea salt


  • Heat 2/3 cup olive oil in pan with celery in large pot on medium high heat. Cook for ten minutes. Add garlic, onion, caraway, some salt, cook for another ten minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, 2 teaspoons celery salt, cook a few minutes.
  • Add beans and broth. I used 2 cups of bean broth, 3 1/2 cups water. Add in a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Simmer for 45 minutes. At this time, I used an emulsion blender to blend just a small amount of soup mixture to make it thicker. You might like it more with just broth. It’s good both ways.
  • Serve with celery salt, black pepper, parsley, chopped olives and a squeeze of lemon.


Dry celery leaves thoroughly. Bake on baking sheet at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Crumble and mix into equal parts flaky sea salt or use pestle mortar and crush with sea salt.
I have a new respect for celery. It held it’s own without the big onion and carrot as is so customary. It surprised me.
Rinse beans and soak overnight in enough water to cover the beans by two inches.
Using fresh water, again enough to cover and with two inches to spare, cook beans at a simmer until tender. You may have to add in some water while cooking.
Cool and reserve the broth. You want to have two cups of broth left over to use for the soup.
Do serve this soup with some crusty bread.