Kale and White Beans

Combining creamy white beans with kale results in a simply delicious and nutritious dish. Take the flavor up a notch with the spiciness of pepper and the brightness of lemon.

Blooming Glen Farm (www.bloomingglenfarm.com) one of the providers at the Collegeville Farmer's Market, is a constant source of beautiful and fresh produce. I purchased some Tuscan kale to make a quick and simple side dish for dinner. Unfortunately, it never made it to the table, because, I kid you not, I ate all of it straight out of the pan standing at the stove. It was that good and so worth the burnt tongue!

I decided to try again mid-week, in the interest of not only satisfying my craving but also to make enough to ensure that it actually reached the table! Unfortunately, what I found in my supermarket’s organic section was not up to par. It made me realize that not only are we are spoiled by local growers such as Blooming Glen, but also that I need to set aside space in the garden next year for kale (and chard!)

For this recipe, I eyeballed the amount of beans used. I love legumes, so I go
a bit heavy, using almost half of a one-pound package of dried beans that I have pre-soaked and cooked. In a pinch, you could use canned beans, but it just won't be the same. (If using canned, make sure to rinse your beans really well.) Aim on using anywhere from 1 - 2 cans of beans.

Kale and White Beans

1 bunch of the freshest kale you can find (I prefer Lacinato/Tuscan, but Dinosaur would work as well)

2-4 Tablespoons of Olive oil

White beans, in the quantity that you desire (see above)

2-3  cloves of garlic, finely minced

Sea salt/red pepper flakes

Zest and juice from ½ of an organic lemon

Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Wash your kale very well and remove the tough stems. Coarsely cut kale into manageable pieces.

Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add in white beans without over-crowding the pan. Stir to coat beans with oil and allow beans to cook until lightly golden. Stir beans to allow other side to get golden as well. If pan starts to dry out, you can add in a few teaspoons of water, as well as a tiny bit more olive oil.  

Add in kale, garlic, salt and red pepper and stir well. You want to cook only as long as it takes the kale to wilt and the garlic to get fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, stir in lemon juice and zest. Add the tiniest drizzle of olive oil, and finish off with a sprinkle of fresh Parmigiano. 

Adjust seasoning to taste and try to resist eating all of it straight out of the pan!


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mark smerkanich December 07, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Consider adding a package of cooked sweet potato gnocci to the mix and having a full and satisfying meal. Instead of cheese, omit lemon juice or cut it in half and try a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. Still all vegetarian and all good!
carolina paul December 07, 2011 at 12:47 PM
mark, that sounds delicious!
Cathy Kernen December 08, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Caroline, This sounds wonderful--thanks so much! Blooming Glen is supplying winter veg from their hoop houses to the Longview Market (the former Willow Creek Farm on Stump Hall Road in Collegeville.) Don't know if they will have kale, but either way can't wait to try this recipe!
carolina paul December 08, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Cathy, I will make it over to Longview one of these Saturday mornings! This would work well with any other 'hearty' green - please let me know if/when you try this.


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