This vintage recipe for Lima Bean Skillet Dinner (circa 1940) combines bacon, lima beans, and veggies in a light tomato sauce. Lima beans have been on the receiving end of many jokes in the last forty years as their popularity waned. Nonetheless, they are an affordable and concentrated source of protein and fiber. Served over rice, it may remind you of chili with a lima beans flare. If you don’t have lima beans or just are not ready, cannellini beans, navy, or white beans can be substituted.

We did deviate from the original recipe in step two of the directions. We added the step of combining the tomato juice with the flour to avoid trying to incorporate flour in a pan full of veggies. Another route could be to add the flour to the pan before the tomato juice allowing it to absorb the bacon grease and slowly thicken the sauce.

Lima Bean Skillet Dinner - c1940

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Lima Beans, Bacon, and veggies in a thickened tomato sauce. Serve over rice.


  • 2 Slices Bacon (diced)
  • 2 Tbs Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 Tbs Green Pepper (finely chopped)
  • ¾ cup Celery (finely chopped)
  • ½ cup Tomato Juice
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Flour
  • 2 cups Lima Beans (If canned drained)
  • 2-3 cups Cooked Rice


  • In a skillet over medium heat saute bacon. Add onion, green pepper, and celery and continue to saute until onion is golden (approx. 10 minutes).
  • Stir together tomato juice, salt, pepper, and flour until smooth.
  • Add to skillet, string continuously until thickened. Add lima bean and simmer for five minutes.
  • Serve hot over rice.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Suggestions for Preparing Lima Bean Skillet Meal

+ Substitute lima beans for cannellini beans, white, or navy beans.

+ Add 1 tsp of chili powder or hot sauce to give it some heat.


Adapted from a recipe appearing in Choice Recipes And Menus Using Canned Foods (circa 1940) by the American Can Company.

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