Saturday, March 5, 2011

Toasted White Beans and Greens

 This is a bowl of homemade white beans and kale.

I love sauteed greens so I am always interested in new ways to prepare them.  If garlic is involved, all the better.  Swiss chard and kale are definitely favorites of mine to cook with.  Turnip greens not so much.

Growing up my Granny used to make turnip greens or collards.  She boiled the stink out of them, literally.  I never really cared for them and don't really remember eating them very often, if ever.  It was the classic southern recipe of chopped turnip greens, ham hocks, vinegar and some sugar.  They always seemed so lifeless and unappealing.  I know some of you out there think, well she probably wasn't a good cook because turnip greens are awesome.  It's me, Granny was a fabulous cook.  I truly looked forward to our family dinners at my grandparent's house.  It was always a smorgasbord of southern dishes made with fresh garden vegetables from my Poppy's acre garden.

So one day I was putzing around at the library and I picked up a copy of Super Natural Cooking written by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.  I found her recipe for white beans and kale and it looked interesting so I tried it.  I made it with Swiss chard and made a few changes to simplify this recipe even more.  It was so delicious that it became the main focus of the meal that night.  It is an easy, nutrient dense, delicious recipe that I have made many times since.

 Chopped garlic, red onion and Swiss Chard
Northern White Beans that have been washed and are drying.  You might notice they are cracked and broken which mean they may not hold up well during cooking but will  still be scrumptious.

Toasted Northern White Beans.
Adding the chopped Swiss chard, looks like a lot, right?!
After sauteing, not so much!
This version is Swiss chard and canned Great Northern white beans.

A couple of shavings of Parmesan and it is ready to serve.
This version I cooked the white beans and used kale instead of Swiss chard.  A little different but still very delicious.

Toasted White Beans and Greens
adapted from White Beans and Kale recipe in Super Natural Cooking of 101 cookbooks
approximately 4 servings

1 15.5 oz can of white beans (I used Great Northern), rinsed, drained and dried (or make your own from about 1 1/2 cups dried)
1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil, more if needed
1 tablespoon of sweet butter, more if needed
1/2 cup of onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch of swiss chard or kale, washed and chopped
Juice of a 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the oil and butter in a heated large saute pan (non stick works well) over medium high.  Saute the beans over medium high heat until browned.  Toss in the onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute and then add the greens. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Place a lid on the sauce pan to help wilt the greens.  Just as the greens have wilted then turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Serve.

Notes:  Larger white beans are the best in this recipe.  Not all canned beans are the same.  Some are softer than others and break down more.  If they do, the recipe will still be good but without whole beans in it.  Also if you cook your own beans for this recipe they will hold up better.  You can also remove the beans while you saute the onions, garlic and kale and add them back in at the end.

The beans absorb the butter and oil, especially if they are broken and cracked, and you may need to add more for sauteing the onions and garlic but you won't need much more.

Swiss chard and kale are my favorites.  Swiss chard wilts quicker and more than kale and kale will maintain its texture so if you want it wilted then you will needs to cook a little longer until you are happy with it.  I like it just slightly sauteed and not completely wilted.


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  1. I would love a bowl of this! I love sauteed greens and the beans make this even more hearty. Yummy!

  2. What a delicious and healthy looking dish! Love this!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xx
    Delightful Bitefuls

  3. This caught my eye on tastespotting! Just fabulous. I love sauteed greens and may make this tomorrow!

  4. I made this for dinner tonight using cannellini beans, kale and skipped the parm because I didn't have any and it was great!! It's such a quick and easy recipe, a keeper.

  5. April - I glad you tried and enjoyed it. It is a great way to eat those greens and beans that are so good for us. I agree with it is easy and a keeper!


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