White Bean and Greens Stew (What To Do with Beans, Greens and Grains?)

My kids love pinto and black beans, but have been reluctant to expand their repertoire beyond the Mexican food frame. But in the spirit of introducing foods many times over before giving up, I decided to try out a simple version of white bean stew, featuring kale and served over quinoa that happened to already be cooked and ready to go in the fridge.

Preparation (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Here’s the basic approach, and like most of my recipes, feel free to improvise with what you have on hand (suggestions will be offered):

Steam kale (or chard) until leaves are wilted but still bright green. If using spinach for this recipe, skip this step and add it directly to the stew.

Saute chopped carrots, onion, celery (+/- ½ cup of each, shallots OK to substitute for onions) and garlic (2-3 cloves). As an aside, I find that chopping carrots in preparation for cooking is a nice excuse to offer my little ones a carrot stick. Warm up about 2 cups cooked of white beans with some water and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme – about 15 minutes or so.


Once your flavor base (above) is soft but not brown, add about ¼-½ cup of dry white wine, bring to boil and lower heat to reduce the liquid by about ¾ and the alcohol smell disappears – you’ll be left with a sauce.

At this point, you are ready to add the beans. In this recipe, cannelloni works perfectly and is easy to find canned. Though I would encourage folks to consider making beans in bulk from scratch, given recent emerging concerns about the bisphenol-A that is found in the lining of canned foods.

Add 1-1.5 cups of chicken broth, bring the entire stew to a boil and simmer with the herbs (rosemary/thyme + 1-2 bay leaves) for 15 minutes. Add kale/chard/spinach and cook for 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over a cooked grain of your choice (rice, quinoa, farro, barley, etc) and top with a fried egg or as is. Drizzle with olive oil and sherry vinegar for a dash of extra richness and flavor.

If there are leftovers, add more broth or water to turn the stew into a delicious soup!

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