This kale and white bean recipe can be made in just a few minutes and can be transformed into a sauce, soup, or simply eaten as-is.
Kale is on the supersexy vegetable list as of late—and for good reason. It's loaded with good-for-you nutrients including vitamin K and vitamin C, as well as minerals, amino acids, and superfood status antioxidants. That it's easy to grow and cook doesn't hurt either. Its quick-cooking versatility makes it a go-to green for every day meals chock full of flavor and nutrition.
White beans, such as cannellini are one of the few good-for-you foods that are white in color (can you guess any others? Cauliflower is a good one. Oats count. What else? Slim pickin’s for sure!). They're an excellent protein and fiber source, providing a cholesterol-lowering, plant-powered punch. They have double the iron of beef, and contain molybdenum, an important trace mineral. They're deliciously yummy, too.
White beans and leafy greens have a long history together in Italian cooking. This dish is my take on a Tuscan white bean and kale dish. You can add more liquid to make it into a sauce for serving over pasta, atop rice, or on polenta. You can add a lot more liquid and turn it into a hearty, any-season soup, too.
I recommend cooking big batches of beans ahead of time (like on the weekend for the coming week) and keeping them stored in glass mason jars in your refrigerator (only put them in once they've cooled completely). Then, you can dole out the beans as needed for various recipes. It's best to soak cannellini beans overnight and then cook approximately two hours until tender. Try to avoid canned beans whenever possible as most canned foods contain a toxic substance in the can lining called BPA (bisphenol-A) that has been known to disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive issues.
White beans and kale
3 tablespoons olive oil ¼ cup celery, chopped fine ¼ cup fresh tomato, chopped 2 cups cooked and drained cannellini beans (or any white beans) 1 head kale, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped ¼ cup chopped sundried tomatoes reconstituted in olive oil 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes 1 teaspoon red chili flakes ¼ cup vegetable broth or water salt and pepper to taste
In a frying pan, sauté celery in olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Let cook about 5 minutes until tender and add chopped fresh tomato, vegetable broth, and white beans. Cover and reduce heat, letting simmer for another 5 minutes.
Now is a good time to prepare your kale.
Add nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, and kale, mixing well. Cover and cook until kale is wilted and bright green—being careful not to overcook it. Add chopped sundried tomatoes and stir well.
Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
To turn it into a soup, add 6 cups of vegetable broth and omit the sundried tomatoes. You'll want to wait to add the kale until the soup has simmered a good 30 minutes.
**A note about garlic and onions: They are essential to many Italian dishes, but I loathe both, so they are not included in this recipe. If your fear of vampires compels you to add them to this, use 3–4 cloves of garlic finely minced and one small onion, diced.
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Images: Jill Ettinger
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