Lima Bean Casserole Cassoulet CrockPot Recipe

Day 269.

I googled casserole vs. cassoulet and didn't get a very good answer. Somebody should write an article really laying out the differences---it'd get a lot of hits. In my very (very) limited breadth of knowledge, I'm going to decide that they are the same thing, but cassoulets use beans as a base instead of rice or pasta.

And cassoulet is French, so your coolness factor goes up just by using the word.

I also googled "are lima beans vegetables or beans" and only got an answer about whether or not they are a fruit or vegetable. I can't imagine anyone could really think they are a fruit, but whatever. Growing up, I was certain they were vegetables, because they were greenish and came in a little container swimming in butter at the school cafeteria. And they are in the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store.

But I think they are beans, which are legumes. And this ends pretty much everything I know.

my brain is now empty.

Don't be scared to try lima beans. I got the kids to try them---and my parents each had two bowls.

The Ingredients.

--1 pound of dried lima beans (soaked over night)
--28 oz can diced tomatoes
--2 cups diced ham, or turkey ham
--1 medium yellow onion, chopped
--3 smashed and chopped garlic cloves
--1/2 tsp black pepper
--1 T dried mustard
--1 cup water

The Directions.

Soak the beans overnight in a bunch of cold water. They will expand, so use enough water to cover them at least 4 inches.

In the morning, drain and rinse the beans. Dump into a 4 quart or larger crockpot. Add a fresh cup of water.

Dice up the ham or turkey ham (I think chicken and apple sausages would be good, too) and add on top.

Open the can of tomatoes, and pour in the whole can. Chop the onion and garlic and add. Stir in the spices.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. I cooked our beans for about 7. This is done when the beans are tender. If you cook this too long, the only harm will be that the beans begin to fall apart.

The Verdict.

I really was astonished at how much I liked this. I couldn't get enough, and I'm pretty sure I was annoying Adam by going on and on (and on some more) about how amazing it was that lima beans could taste so good.

Lima beans have been given a bad rap. We should change that.

yes, I'm writing this at 3 in the morning. I couldn't sleep. Should I just be up for the day, or go back to bed. That is the question...

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at September 25, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Ha ha ha! Go back to bed!

    This recipe looks interesting...I've never heard of a cassoulet. See? You learn something new every day. :)

    I can't remember the last time I cooked lima's been a while.

  2. WOW, I am in Okinawa, Japan. When I saw that you just posted this, my thought was "why is she awake". Go back to bed!
    I am very anxious to try this. I've never been so excited about cooking before until now. I love to try out your recipes, so far they have all been wonderful. Thanks again, Keep up the good work!!

  3. A cassoulet is a white bean, duck, and sausage dish from SW France. It originated in the region around Carcassonne (a double-walled medieval city that is used in a lot of movies, such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). So a cassoulet is a specific recipe, while a casserole is a generic term for a baked dish.

  4. Anonymous9/25/2008

    Oh, I heart lima beans... the only problem is that when I fix this, I will eat the entire thing because everyone else in my family has a lima bean aversion.

    Thanks, Steph!!

  5. I love your blog which I discovered recently, but haven't made anything yet because I cracked the insert of my crockpot a few months ago and haven't bought a replacement. Now that things are getting cooler, I want to make soup!!! I had a Rival Smart Pot and never had any problems with it, but I know I hear everyone saying they cook too hot... So, my question, which crockpot do you think I should buy? I'd rather not spend more than 50 or 60 dollars.

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Anonymous9/25/2008

    As a good Southerner, I love limas! I think I'll have to try this.

    And I think you should just stay up, enjoy some time to yourself, then take a nice long nap later in the day. Preferably after a cookie or two.

  7. Anonymous9/25/2008

    Hmm. I think cassoulet is more of a hearty thick stew (based on the one cassolet recipe I have)... And casseroles are baked conglomerations of yummy stuff. Both are good to eat.

    This sounds tasty. I love limas already, so I think we'll have to try this one. :)
    Thanks for all the kitchen inspiration!

  8. Ooh, I'll have to try this. We love lima beans! My favorite way to cook them is in a crock pot with some salt, pepper, real butter, garlic powder, and a dash or three of Worcestershire sauce. Yum. I use frozen beans and cook them on low all day, about 8 hours or so.

  9. Well I'm always looking for something new to try. If this one had you going on and on about how good lima beans are it's worth a shot in my kitchen. I do that to my husband too, go on and on about the same topic because I am just so amazed by it, how could everyone in your household not be blown away at how wonderful lima beans can taste?

  10. Anonymous9/25/2008

    First, just wanted to tell you that I love your blog! I just found it recently and am thoroughly enjoying it. I love the crock pot.

    Second, lima beans are legumes. :)

  11. I love you guys. It's now 6:56, and I did lie back down for about an hour. The coffee is strong this morning...

    Rixa! you need to write an article explaining this. Can you buy duck in a store? I should make duck.

    Michael, I've only used Crock-Pot brand (formerly under the rival label, now they are their own thing) slow-cookers. I am so sorry to hear that your stoneware cracked. I'd get a new one. I have a Smart-Pot I love, a Smart-Set which has cool 30 min intervals and a meat probe (which I've never used because it's too fancy for me, but since you're a guy, I'm going to assume you will like that feature), and according to the new issue of Slow Cooking is now on sale for about $50.

    wheat-free db. you're right. I need cookies. Trader Joe's now is selling flour-free double choc chip cookies!

    mommy napkin, oh, I'd like to try this! yum.


  12. Slow Cooking didn't happen to say where the Smart-set is on sale for $50, did they? Best price I've found is $80 and I'm in the market for a new slow cooker. I love mine, but it doesn't have the warm feature (or any kind of timer) so it's about time for a new one...

  13. Anonymous9/25/2008

    This may or may not be correct... but when I was growing up, we raised LOTS of lima beans in the garden. When eating them green, we called them lima beans, but when they were left to mature, then dried, we called them butter beans. I absolutely hate lima beans (green) but I love the butter beans! (dried then cooked)

  14. Anonymous9/25/2008

    Did you know that there are many forums that are now doing a crock pot challenge?

  15. Mama Christy, I screwed up. I remembered the ad wrong. What they have in the back of the magazine is a survey where you can win a Cook & Carry (which is what Crock-Pot gave away, here) and it says "retail value" $54.99.

    I was way, way wrong. I'm sorry. I should have checked before posting. I have the best luck at Big Box stores. I've seen them at Kohls and Big Lots for not a lot.

    crockpots at Target.
    crockpots at Walmart.

  16. you know what I really like about your blog. I love that with every recipe you suggest the size of the crockpot! It takes all the guessing out, and I love that you tell us what size to use. There are so many recipes out there that don't list the size of the pot and it makes me bonkers!

  17. That looks really tasty! I'm so glad I found your site, although I have to admit I can't remember how I got here. I love my crock pot. Its a great time saving device for those of us who are incurably lazy! In fact, you've inspired me to start my own cooking blog: Food of Eating +1 (, aimed at the single, lazy, and geeky food lovers among us. Thanks!

  18. Anonymous9/25/2008

    Lima beans are beans/legumes. Butter beans are a type of lima bean.

  19. Anonymous9/25/2008

    the name of this dish cracks me up. i guess u just couldn't decide between the two. haha. but about beans. i always thought that they were vegetables. i feel so stupid now that beans are just their own group

  20. You can feel free to file this in the "Who Cares" category, but this is how I used to explain it to my biology students.
    If what we're eating is from the vegetative part of the plant (root, stem or leaf), then it is a vegetable.
    If what we're eating is from the reproductive parts of the plant (flower, fruit or seed), then it is a fruit. Basically, if it has seeds or is the actually seed (like corn) it is a fruit. This would mean that tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber are all fruit (from a scientific standpoint) due the presence of the seeds.
    Legumes...they're a different story.
    My daughter loves limas. I'll have to try this!

  21. Anonymous9/25/2008

    Sent crockpot cassoulet to the wrong recipe. Sorry.


  22. Anonymous9/25/2008

    Let me tell you that I really love your blog. I have tried so many of your recipes, and have enjoyed them ~ especially the tomatoes with goat cheese! I am already concerned about this year ending. I really think you should consider "two years of crockpotting". It would be much more challenging, plus if you stop, you will really miss us!

    I have a question for you. Recently, I got a 4 qt crockpot. My 6 qt crockpot that I have had forever has a removable insert that I can soak in water and clean in the sink. The new 4 qt crockpot is one piece. How do you clean it without getting the outside wet?


  23. Anonymous9/25/2008

    I found this recipe and immediately thought of you :) I know a while back you were on an apple spree, lol, but this looked yummy and I thought you might enjoy it.

    Slow-cooked praline apple crisp

    6 medium-size crisp tart apples (Granny Smith or Braeburn), peeled if desired, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
    1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1/2 cup toffee bits
    Ice cream, if desired

    1. Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix apples and cinnamon to coat. Place in slow cooker.

    2. In medium bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, flour and butter with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Stir in pecans and toffee bits. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over apples.

    3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours. Serve apple crisp with ice cream.

  24. They are beans, but (According to wikipedia, and this makes me laugh) they are eaten as vegetables. But they are still beans. In many countries beans are eaten as a side dish, in America we think sides are veggies. Especially if its a green scary looking thing on your plate in grade school.

  25. Thanks so much or the correction! I'm willing to pony up if I have to, but I wanted the snazzy one for $50 if I could get it. ;)

  26. Anonymous9/25/2008

    This sounds de-lish! Do you think it would work with smoked pork hocks? I have some in the freezer I need to use up...

  27. Like Risha said, anything from the reproductive part of the plant is fruit. Legumes (and also peanuts!) are actually the seeds of their plants, and so count as fruits.

    This recipe looks delicious. I have never cooked limas from dry, usually I only have them frozen and have never really cared for them. But I may have to get some dry lima beans and try this out!

  28. Anonymous9/25/2008

    I agree with rixa on the cassoulet. I was actually in carcassonne, fr a couple years ago and cassoulet is the featured item on every single menu. We figured we had to try it, and it wasn't too bad. It doesn't have to be made with duck though, we saw it with pork, goose, and some other random meats. I thought it was made with white beans there, but I don't remember for sure. I might have to try this recipe and see how it compares!

  29. I love lima beans or butter beans...maybe it has something to do with the size? I make a cassoulet with Great Northern Beans (cannellini), turkey kielbasa, and bell pepper that is sooooooo good! It can be made in the crockpot but is also very quick to make for dinner.

    by the way, I'm a new reader and love your recipes. I use my crockpot a few times a week. It's so nice to come home to dinner that is ready to eat.

  30. Anonymous9/25/2008

    Ever read A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon? It is a children's book about a girl who wants and loves to eat lima beans, but doesn't want to b/c of how people will treat her. So she avoids limas and then develops a very peculiar case of stripes....and the stripes go away once she eats her lims beans!

    BTW, LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

  31. Diane, I have! Thank you for reminding me---I'm going to put it on our library list!

  32. I may be completely wrong here, but from a botanical perspective, I think most vegetables *are* fruits, with exceptions beings the veggies that are parts like roots, tubers, and leaves.

    I am *thrilled* to see some lima bean recipes! I need an excuse to eat them more than once/year - thanks!

  33. This will get made as soon as we quit feeding my sister and her husband. My sister refuses to eat beans unless she can put cheese on them which pretty much means refried beans are the only ones she'll eat. The rest of us love beans especially butter beans so this fits the bill wonderfully.


  34. I love the GF recipes that are also dairy-free. Keep them coming!

  35. Anonymous9/26/2008

    We love lima beans and we love cassoulet, also our son is on a gluten-free diet, so I look forward to trying this recipe, thanks!

  36. Anonymous9/26/2008

    Hi Stephanie! What a fabulous post. It made me want to know the difference between a Casserole and a Cassoulet.

    The Expatriate's Kitchen is a fabulous blog, and she says:
    It is important to note that a cassoulet is NOT a casserole. A casserole is mainly an American dish that is cooked in a French pan. A cassoulet is a French dish usually cooked in a Dutch oven. Makes perfect sense, right?

    Actually, the French have taken things much further. The ingredients of a cassoulet are mandated, yes mandated to be 70 percent duck and pork, which can be sausage, but cannot be chicken, ever, and 30 percent of vegetables and other ingredients that must include primarily white beans. It must also have seven layers of browned bread crumb topping. Unlike American casserole, it never, ever, includes cream of something soup or crushed cornflake topping. Okay, the last part was my mandate. But I am sure the French would agree.

    Good finishing the year. You're almost through!

    Rachel in PA
    No pork on my fork!

  37. I agree with you that it would be weird to think of a bean as a fruit. However, I do believe that the foundation of this food myth may well lie in the old childrens' rhyme:

    Beans, beans, the magical fruit,
    The more you eat, the more you toot!
    The more you toot, the better you feel,
    Beans, beans, for every meal.

    This rhyme is the nicer version of the more popular one:
    Beans, Beans, are good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you ...

    I'm happy to have added to this very cerebral and academic discussion.

  38. With fall upon us, and knowing how my family loves limas, AND how thrifty they are, I'll be trying this one this week. I'm sure it'll be a hit with my family!

    It looks so good, I added a link to this recipe on my blog. Hope you don't mind. :)

  39. Anonymous9/28/2008

    would you cook the chicken & apple sausages b/f putting them in the crockpot? Or uncooked?

  40. Hi anon! I'm pretty sure the chicken and apple sausage I use (Aidell's) is fully cooked already. But even if it isn't, this was plugged in long enough for raw chicken to cook fully.


  41. Hi Stephanie. I am in the process of cooking this right now. It smells AWESOME! (said like DJ Lance on Yo! Gabba Gabba). I have been peeking on it and stirring it up every 1.5 hours or so, and I am noticing it's getting very liquid-y...did it do this to you too? I still have about 3 hours left (to reach the 6 hour point on slow).

    PS I am excited to make the honey cake! Sounds delicious!

  42. Hi Melissa! Yo Gabba Gabba is actually ON right now! at our house! trippy!

    I think liquid did accumulate, but after being unplugged, the beans absorbed the excess. The next day, there wasn't a drop of liquid. Are the beans tender?

    you might want to just flip to warm if they are already fully cooked.


  43. Anonymous9/30/2008

    A yummy recipe for fall! I love beans, they're so affordable and a great way to get in affordable protein. We would love to feature your recipe on our blog and possibly our digital recipe reader. Please email me at if you're interested. Have a great week ahead :). Sophie

  44. Anon again (who asked about the chicken & apple sausage). Anyway, I soaked the lima beans while I was at work today. I'm going to cook this tomorrow. My question is did you shell the lima beans? (I think shell is the right term?) Some of my beans lost the shell and some didn't. Do I (sigh) need to pick out the shells or shell all the beans? I looked at your picture close up and I don't see any shells.


  45. Hi Jessica,

    don't worry about it. I usually pick out any beans that look weird, but the few beans that came unshelled, I just ignored. It will all cook together okay.

    I hope you like it!

  46. Thanks again Crock Pot Lady for another great recipe wherever you are!! I am trying your candy chicken tonight for my pickiest of picky kids who would never eat lima beans unless I paid them cold hard cash. . . hmmmmm. (but I am adding Mountain Dew, instead of sprite because that is what we have and I don't want to take a shower and go to the store this morning!) Wish me lucky with the Mt. Dew candy chicken!

  47. ok, this is a comment that's a little overdue. I'm thinking of making this tomorrow. Would you think that turkey bacon would work instead of ham? Would you cut it up raw and put it in there to cook in the crock or maybe skillet cook it first and pour the "juices" in crock along with the cooked bacon?

  48. Charisa,
    ooh. good question. If you aren't opposed to cooking the bacon on the stove, I'd do that and then add it to the pot (you can add the drippings if you'd like, but I don't think it's necessary) for the whole cooking time.

    I really liked this, and hope you do, too!

  49. Anonymous10/29/2008

    I'm eating this RIGHT NOW. It is GOOD! I used a pound of thick cut bacon, diced, cooked crisp, fat drained instead of ham. I also added salt, about 1/2 tsp. Everyone likes this, even the hard to please man. My mother in law is in the kitchen getting more ... LOL!

  50. Anonymous11/07/2008

    an excellent hot dish for the heart of america--rugby, north dakota. we grow limas and other beans up here on the ultra, north-central prairie of the US.

    also, i'll pass your recipe along to the church ladies since most are old enough to appreciate and like lima beans. ;o)

  51. Anonymous11/13/2008

    I wanted to add that my kids (ages 8, 7 and 5) GOBBLED this up when I named the recipe "Baconator Beans." You know, like the Wendy's burger? LOL!

  52. Anonymous2/19/2009

    Saw you on this am. Went to get your recipes and love your website. Thanks. Saw your question about casserole vs. cassoulet. A few months ago I was thinking I was in the mood for a good bean stew so I googled cassoulet............... Very involved, days to make. One day, when I am in France, I will order it and try it then.

  53. Anonymous3/26/2009

    I made this today, in a veganized and lazified version. It was mostly successful, especially in the taste department!

    I used vegan apple sage sausage instead of the meat (next time I would cut it into smaller pieces, since it expanded in the crock). I used italian style canned tomatoes and skipped the spices, and I didn't soak the beans. I added some extra water instead (I put in 2 14.5-oz cans worth of water) to make up for that, but it was too much. It tasted delicious, but there's a LOT of liquid in there - I've got it on high with the lid off right now to try to evaporate some of the water before I put the leftovers in the fridge.

  54. Dorrit6/06/2009

    The cassoulet is a very old recipe originally from the Roman Emperium. It is common in the part of France called Languedoc. The cassoulet is made with white kidney beans and a lot of different meat. In my recipe the cassoulet is made with 4 different cuts of pork (some boiled, some roasted), roasted duck, goosemeat (confitte), roasted lamb, smoked sausage, the soup from the pork, chicken soup, tomatoes, celery, onion, herbs and - of course - the beans. It takes about two days making it. And it is a heavy stew!

  55. Anonymous7/31/2009

    I know this is an old post, but I thought I would add- biologically there is no such thing as a vegetable. Any plant known commonly as a vegetable is always really a legume or tuber or fruit or modified root system or whatever else. So it's sort of funny that people are commenting, "oh I feel dumb that a lima bean is really a bean, not a vegetable" since it can be both in the common sense and never was in the technical sense.
    Anyway, I just think it's interesting. Also, I think it's funny that a common trivia question is that some nuts are really seeds (such as the hazelnut). All true nuts are a type of seed (I say true because a peanut is techinically a legume).
    Anyway. Yay crockpotting!

  56. tahlia428/31/2009

    This was so yummy! I absolutely love lima beans, and still I kept telling anyone that would listen how good the lima beans tasted!

    Thank you for sharing this one!!!

  57. i'm making this tonight - will let you know how it turns out (i'm doing a veganized version)

  58. OMG, amazing!! I've been crockpotting all week and this is totally my favorite so far! I used baby limas and kielbasa.

  59. This was really great! For the meat portion, I used leftover rotisserie chicken from your lemon/rosemary recipe. Simmered all day in the slow cooker and it was perfect with homemade bread.

    I did add fresh rosemary and cilantro.



  60. Just made this again today. I thought it'd be good with some chopped up green pepper. I was right! YUM

  61. Anonymous6/01/2011

    Hello, 2008! It's the future writing!

    I just wanted to add that I made this and it took an insanely long time for the lima beans to cook. I wondered if it was the salt in the ham? I can't cook any beans in any shred of salt (I buy water because our tap water is softened) or they take a billion years to cook. I used ham off a ham hock and this took over 12 hours on low (I turned it up to high at one point too). It was kind of uneven by then because it needed more liquid. Not sure what happened, but thought I'd let the other crock pot lovers out there know.

    kathleenpoling (AT) yahoo

  62. sally d.12/01/2011

    I talk so much about slow cooking that my neighbor who works for Hamilton Beach got me a big fancy programable slow cooker. We used it today to make this dish. Added some turkey sausage on top for a complete meal.

    Yum! This winter is all about dried beans.

  63. Hi Stephanie - Could I cook these on high, and for how many hours? Thank you! I've made it a few times and it's always been a hit. I just put it in the crockpot right now and would love to not wait for it til midnight tonight!

  64. Hi @Tracy-- yes, I think you could, but I'm not exactly sure how long. I'd check after 3 hours and stir well to redistribute the lima beans. Once they are bite tender, take them off (maybe around 4 hrs? 5?)

    or set an alarm and have a midnight snack! :-)