Sweet and Salty Coconut Rice with Lima Beans

Aya Brackett

Just when you thought you’d seen every possible version of this economical, nutritious, and ubiquitous food pairing, here’s another. This is a tropical paradise disguised as a mound of rice and beans—and also happens to be meatless.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes


  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or good-quality vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

  • 4 scallions, whites and greens separated and chopped

  • 1 ½ cups white rice (preferably long-grain)

  • One 14-ounce can coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  • 1 pound frozen lima beans


1. Put the shredded coconut in a large dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the coconut is fragrant and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Put the oil in the pan and return to medium heat. When it’s hot, add the ginger and scallion whites. Cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until glossy, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and 1 ½ cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle bubble and cover. Cook for 10 minutes; don’t stir, but use a spoon to check the bottom once or twice to make sure the mixture isn’t sticking or burning—add a splash of water and reduce the heat if it is.

3. Add the lima beans, and stir once, then continue cooking until the rice is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. If liquid evaporates before the rice is done, stir in water, about ¼ cup at a time. Remove from the heat, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Fluff the rice with a fork, then cover, and let sit for at least 5 minutes and up to 15. Serve warm, garnished with the scallion greens and toasted coconut.

Recipe from Dinner for Everyone (Photo: Aya Brackett)