Though all of the food on my honeymoon was pretty universally spectacular (bison tenderloin and boutique gin, for starters), there’s one simple meal that stands out in my mind.
Ben and I spent one night on our way back in Missoula, MT, a college town that for him meant fly-fishing and A River Runs Through It. For me, it meant a lot of great bookstores—and amazing food.
We’d spent most of our trip in some pretty remote locations, places where we could blissfully ignore the world, as there was no wifi, no cell phone service, and almost no reminders of the outside world. Waking up in the middle of a pillow-filled and down-enswaddled king bed in a Holiday Inn in Missoula was a bit of a weird feeling after a week of old and rustic lodges, it also felt like the height of luxury to us to be able to walk a block to a coffee shop, have lattes and split a scone, read the Wall Street Journal, and take a few hours to explore the city before driving back into Idaho.
We had lunch at a place called the Good Food Store just before we left. I’d found this grocery store by wistfully searching Google for “Whole Foods Missoula,” and the reviews of this place promised that, though it’s not part of that chain, the food was probably better.
The reviews did not disappoint. A hot food bar was the crowning glory of this store’s prepared foods area, flanked by an wonderful antipasto/olive bar and a huge salad bar filled with house-made dressings and fun and funky toppings. We’d spent a week eating breakfast buffets and smoked trout dip. To quote Dickens, we hit the salad bar and “fell to with an appetite.” It absolutely hit the spot.
One of my favorite parts of that fresh, veggie-filled meal was a cold salad made of marinated lima beans. It was deliciously filling, but the vinegar dressing, onions, garlic, and red pepper added so much zing that the beans never felt too starchy or bulky. It was a great way to start the end of our honeymoon.
- 1 pound of dried lima beans (about 2 cups dried)
- 6-8 cups of water
- 6 cups of vegetable broth
- 2 cups of water
- ½ red onion, minced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ red bell pepper, minced
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup minced parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, you’re going to need to deal with your lima beans. Rinse and sort lima beans into a large saucepan. Add water, and bring to a boil. Boil beans for two minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour.
- When beans have soaked for an hour, drain, rinse, and place back in the saucepan. Add vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and allow to simmer for 1.5-2 hours, or until the beans, when cut open, no longer have a white spot in the center. Drain.
- Place onion, garlic, red pepper, olive oil, parsley, and vinegar in a large bowl. Add cooked beans and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit in fridge for at least four hours, but up to overnight. Serve and store leftovers in fridge for up to four days.
- Note: You can make this with canned lima beans! Just use about two cans of drained, rinsed lima beans, eliminate all of the broth and water, and skip to the last step. Easy!