Beans and Greens

Tomato paste, lemon juice, and some freshly grated Parm liven up these dark leafy greens and beans.

Plate of white beans with cooked greens

Makes four servings
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus time to soak and cook beans
Cook time: 10 to 12 minutes


For the beans

  • 1 cup dried cannellini or great northern beans prepared as instructed above, with the following added to the cooking liquid:
  • Fresh herb bouquet of 2 sprigs rosemary, 6 sprigs thyme, and 6 sage leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf

For the greens

  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle over greens when done
  • 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch red-pepper flakes
  • 2 to 3 bunches kale or other dark leafy greens, washed and torn (about 8 cups)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup water, bean-cooking liquid, or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbs. tomato paste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. After cooking the beans, remove and discard the garlic, kombu, bay leaf, and herb bouquet with a slotted spoon.
  2. To start the greens, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is just golden, about 20 seconds.
  3. Add the greens to the pan, along with a pinch of salt. Sauté until the greens are wilted, about four minutes. You may need to add the greens in two or three batches, waiting until one batch wilts down before adding the next.
  4. Stir in the water and tomato paste, cover, and simmer until the greens are tender but still green, about three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste; you may want to add a bit of salt.
  5. To assemble the dish, stir 2 cups of the cooked beans into the greens. (Store leftover beans for another use.) Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

MS, director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, is the author of several cookbooks, including The Longevity Kitchen and The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, from which some of these recipes are adapted. She lives in San Rafael, Calif.

Photos: Andrea DAgosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

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