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Rinse beans. In a large pot, combine beans and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or place beans in water in pot. Cover and let soak in a cool place overnight.) Drain and rinse beans.
Return beans to the pot. Stir in 8 cups fresh water, the onion, 1/4 cup thyme, garlic,and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender for cranberry and pinto beans (45 to 60 minutes for Christmas lima beans). Stir in spinach; drain.
Transfer bean-spinach mixture to a large serving bowl. Cool slightly. Discard bay leaf. Stir in oil, jalapeños, the remaining thyme and the salt and black pepper. Serve at room temperature. (Or cover and chill for up to 6 hours.) Season with additional salt and black pepper.