Lima beans, also known as butter beans in the South, have a satisfying, starchy texture with a bright bean flavor. Lima beans are considered legumes and are a healthy addition to your diet according to MayoClinic.com. Lima beans, as well as other beans, are low in fat, rich in fiber and a source of protein. It's difficult to find fresh lima beans, but they are readily available canned, frozen and dried. Match the substitute for lima beans with how you're using the beans in the recipe.
Fresh garbanzo beans are rarely available at the grocery store. Dried and canned garbanzos are easy to find, however. Substitute dried garbanzo beans for dried lima beans in casseroles and soups. Soak overnight and then cook in barely boiling water or broth until tender.
Soy Bean or Edamame
Fresh edamame beans look similar to lima beans. Remove the outer shell and serve hot with salt and pepper. Edamame beans make a good substitute for lima beans in succotash recipes. One of the simplest recipes calls for equal amounts of fresh corn and lima beans, dressed with salt, pepper and butter. Add chopped red pepper for a splash of color and a splash of cream for richness.
Fava beans look like lima beans and taste similar. Fava beans are a bit more work than lima beans. The outer shell has to be removed. The beans are cooked and the inner shell is then removed. It's easy to burn your fingers removing the inner shell if you're in a hurry.
A large white bean with a mealy texture and mild flavor, cannellini beans are most often available canned or dried. Substitute them for any recipe that calls for canned lima beans. Lima beans have a stronger flavor, so brighten up the cannellini beans with a squeeze of lemon juice or add a bit of chopped parsley to compensate.