Sautéed leafy greens and beans make for a classic go-to side dish or vegetarian meal. This recipe adds the sensational flavor of sweet and salty slow-cooked shallots and garlic. What I love about this dish is its versatility—enjoy immediately, hot out of the pan, sprinkled with fresh herbs and grated cheese. Or heat some the next day for breakfast and top with a fried egg. Have some cold for lunch, topped with crunchy seeds or nuts when you’re on the go.
Use any variation of kale that you can find. Kale holds up well in the sauté pan (with constant stirring) and does not wilt or lose its bright color as quickly as some other leafy greens, which is helpful when you’re serving it on a platter or keeping it in the fridge for later. The trick is to cook it quickly—just a little—then toss in the beans and remove from heat. Dark, leafy greens are so important to your diet—they provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Your body will thank you!
White Beans, Kale, & Shallots
3 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large bunches of lacinato kale (or any variation), de-ribbed & chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans of navy beans or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped
Grated pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan, and add the chopped shallots and a sprinkle of sea salt. As soon as the shallots start to sizzle, lower the heat and let them cook slowly for about 15-20 minutes, adding a splash of water to the bottom of the pan if necessary. This slow cooking will bring out the flavor. Tip: While the shallots are cooking, prepare your kale!
- Once the shallots are soft and golden, add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring as needed. (There should not be any more water at the bottom of the pan—if there is, raise the heat slightly to let it evaporate).
- In a few batches, add handfuls of chopped kale to the pan and sprinkles of sea salt, tossing with a tong or stirring with a wooden spoon constantly. As each batch lightly cooks and wilts, you will find you have room to add more. The entire process of adding the kale should only take a minute or two.
- When all kale is in the pan, pour in the white beans, and give a quick toss just to warm the beans and combine everything.
- Remove from heat. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- After plating, garnish with the chopped parsley and, if desired, grated pecorino Romano cheese.
- Kale, White Beans & Onion. Supermarket out of shallots? White or red onion can easily be substituted. Depending upon the size of the slices, onion may take slightly longer to cook.
- Shallot, Spinach & White Bean. Substitute spinach for kale. Spinach cooks down fast, so be mindful of this. It also releases more liquid, so use a slotted spoon to remove ingredients from the pan when serving.
- Sweet & Spicy Shallot, Kale & White Bean. Toss in 2-3 tablespoons of diced jalapeno or green chilies with the shallots to add a little heat to this dish.
Wash your kale well! Dry the leaves before chopping and adding to the pan.
For the beans: Search for BPA-free canned bean brands. A quick Google search will provide lists of companies that offer BPA-free cans.
Beans are hearty and filling. They provide protein and fiber, aid the digestive system, and help you feel full and satisfied. Dark, leafy greens boast abundant vitamins and nutrients, and kale in particular is packed with vitamins A, C and K, and lutein.
This is a simple dish that can be varied depending upon what you have at home, and you can tailor it to the seasons! I love to add dried fruit and nuts in the colder months. Conversely, the combination of leafy greens and diced mango in the warmer months is surprising and delicious. Be creative with your preparation of leafy greens and you will find yourself eating them more and more—hopefully every day.