January 18, 2024

Brothy Beans and Greens

Absolute comfort in a bowl. With a Parmesan and garlic infused broth, leafy greens and hearty beans this dish is the pinnacle of comfort food.

Lovely doesn’t even begin to describe these brothy beans and greens. This dish takes humble ingredients, and with a little time, creates a delicious, and dare I say, even magical dish. It is hearty and filling, warming you to the core—salty from Parmesan cheese, earthy from the kale, with just a hint of lemon. It is one of those dishes that you will sit curled up on a couch and simply sip the last few sips of the broth… it is that good. I should also mention it’s healthy… surprise, I know I don’t do that often.

I want to put this dish into perspective for a second because I know a few of you are about to turn away. It is only beans and greens, right? WRONG. These beans are nothing short of delicious. My husband is always the first person, outside of myself, to try the recipes that go on this site. He is a meat and potatoes kind of man. Does he appreciate a good vegetarian side dish? Sure, but give him a rib eye, and he is a happy guy. At first bite, he said these beans were good (just good)… 3 back-to-back bowls later, he was obsessed. My children, who fight any sort of vegetable or bean, devoured them. I fell in love with its simplicity yet deeply developed flavor. So if you are about to turn away from humble brothy beans, please don’t; try them.

bowl of brothy beans and greens

DRIED VS CANNED BEANS

This recipe was designed around dried beans. With that said, it not only requires prep time the night before to rehydrate the beans but also takes more time to cook. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth investing the time in this recipe, and I highly recommend choosing the dried bean route over the canned bean option. I understand that, as a mom of two with limited time, you may not always have the additional time to soak and cook your beans until they are soft and tender. That’s why there are two options. Below are some things to consider when deciding which route you would like to choose.

DRIED BEANS

Dried beans will give you a superior texture compared to canned beans, and it’s a texture that you can control. However, to even get to a point of edible beans, they need to be soaked in cold water the night before, for a minimum of 12-14 hours. Any less, and you are looking at a significantly longer cooking time. Along with better texture, dried beans offer a richer flavor. Simmering these beans in the broth for the duration of the recipe also enhances the flavor and texture of the broth. Dried beans are also more economical, so if you are looking to save a few bucks, this is the route to go. Beans are sold in 1lb bags, and for the same amount of beans, you would need to buy 3-4 cans.

CANNED BEANS

The number one and most obvious benefit here is the cook and prep time. Using canned beans will eliminate the prep time completely and reduce the cook time by half. That alone might be the only reason you need to choose canned over dried. While canned beans make this dish a whole lot quicker, it doesn’t come without a few drawbacks. The main one being flavor and texture. I find that canned beans can be a little grainy. Depending on the brand you purchase, some of the beans are already broken or open before cooking, which is why the cook time on the beans is really short to try and prevent more from breaking. On top of that, you do lose some of the flavor that develops over the hour+ simmering you get with dried, as well as some of the starchy texture of the broth.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR BROTHY BEANS AND GREENS

  • Beans – Either 1 lb of dried Great Northern beans OR 3 cans of cannellini beans.
  • Broth – This is a dish with only a few ingredients, so the broth you use matters. Choose a flavorful broth. My go-to is always Better than Bouillon because it allows me to control the intensity, and I find the flavor far superior to most boxed broths. In terms of what type of broth, you have two options: turkey or chicken broth
  • Parmesan Rind – To some, this is just a scrap destined to end up in the trash. To others, it is the ticket to cheesy umami flavor in soups, broths, pastas, etc. Please don’t throw these out; instead, once you are done with your Parmesan wedge, place the rind in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge. They will stay good for several months until you are ready to use. If you don’t have a rind on hand, you can actually buy them at most major supermarkets now.
  • Garlic – A whole fresh bulb. The recipe calls for you to slice the top of the bulb off exposing the cloves.
  • Lemon – Fresh only!
  • Dino Kale – Or other known as lacinato kale. This variety has a great hearty texture and holds up well to simmering.
    • Substitute: If you can’t find dino kale, you can substitute curly kale, which is the most popular variety found in stores. Not a fan of kale? Swiss or rainbow chard are also excellent substitutions for the greens in this dish.
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Parmesan Cheese – To finish the dish.
pot of dried hydrated beans, parmesan rind, garlic bulb, thyme, and lemon

HOW TO MAKE BROTHY BEANS AND GREENS

The below instructions are split up. There is a set of instructions for dried beans vs canned beans. Don’t get confused each set of directions is from start to finish.

DRIED BEANS

12-14 Hour Soak (Minimum) – The night before, place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with cold water. You will notice the exterior skin starting to rehydrate first, and it might appear like the beans are mangled. Just let them be; once the bean itself rehydrates, it all fills out.

Assemble the Pot – When you are ready to start cooking, drain the beans. Place the drained beans, EVOO, Parmesan rind, garlic bulb, thyme stems, and lemon juice in the pot. Add a small pinch of chili flakes and a heavy pinch of salt. Pour in the broth, give it a mix, and simmer on low for an hour and 20 minutes. If after that amount of time the beans are not soft enough, continue to cook in 10-minute intervals. Make sure you taste the broth to ensure you are salting to taste.

Add the Kale – De-stem and chop the kale beforehand. You don’t need some gimmicky hack to remove the kale quickly. Simply break the leaf away from the stem at the base. Then, with a tight grip, hold onto the stem and pull it between your fingers. Give the kale a rough chop and add it to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes.

FINISH – That needed to be in all caps because the dish is NOT done. As you serve the brothy beans, every bowl needs to be jazzed up (trust me, this is necessary). Add freshly grated Parm, a good drizzle of EVOO, and a small splash of lemon juice.

CANNED BEANS

Drain + Rinse – Open the can of beans and place them in a colander. Gently, being careful not to break the beans, rinse them off. Place them on the side.

Cook the Broth – Because the broth doesn’t have the full length of time to build flavor, you are going to need to cook the broth before adding the beans. To your pot, add the broth, garlic, Parm rind, thyme, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add a pinch of chili flakes and a heavy pinch of salt, always tasting to make sure you have salted enough. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the Beans + Greens – Add the beans and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add the kale (the same way, de-stemmed and chopped as explained above) and cook for another 5 minutes. FINISH – The same thing applies here; you must finish each bowl. Add freshly grated Parm, a good drizzle of EVOO, and a small splash of lemon juice

FINISH – The same thing applies here; you must finish each bowl. Add freshly grated Parm, a good drizzle of EVOO, and a small splash of lemon juice.

bowl of brothy beans and greens

STORING/REHEATING

Brothy beans and greens can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days. To reheat place desired amount in a sauce pan and heat on low heat until warmed throughout.

January 18, 2024

Brothy Beans and Greens

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
These brothy beans are hearty and filling, warming you to the core—salty from Parmesan cheese, earthy from the kale, with a hint of lemon.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Comfort Food, Green Beans, Kale
Prep Time 14 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 15 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb bag of dried Great Northern beans OR 3 cans of cannellini beans
  • 1 medium Parmesan rind
  • 1 garlic bulb top cut off to expose the cloves
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra to finish the dish
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon 1/2 for the beans and 1/2 to finish the dish
  • chili flakes
  • 5 1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • 2 bunches dino kale de-stem and chopped
  • fresh Parmesan to finish the dish
  • salt

Instructions

Dried Beans

  • The evening prior, soak the dried beans in a large bowl filled with cold water. Soak for a minimum of 12-14 hours.
  • Place the drained beans, 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil , Parmesan rind, cut garlic bulb, thyme stems, and 1/2 lemon worth of juice in the pot (juice only). Add a small pinch of chili flakes and a heavy pinch of salt.
  • Pour in the broth, salt to taste, and simmer on low for an hour and 20 minutes. The beans should be at a very light simmer the entire time, nothing more.
  • If the beans still aren't continue to cook in 10 minute increments.
  • Add the kale and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • As you serve the brothy beans top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, a spritz of lemon juice and a drizzle of EVOO.

Canned Beans

  • Open the can of beans and place them in a colander. Gently, being careful not to break the beans, rinse them off. Place them on the side.
  • To your pot, add the broth, 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan rind, cut garlic bulb, thyme stems, and 1/2 lemon worth of juice (juice only). Add a small pinch of chili flakes and salt to taste. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  • Add in the beans and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the kale and cook for another 5 minutes
  • As you serve the brothy beans top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, a spritz of lemon juice and a drizzle of EVOO.

RATE + REVIEW What did you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating