Beans and Greens: A Match Made in Heaven

If the traditional cuisines from around the Mediterranean Sea are any indication, beans and greens were meant to go together. Pairing these two nutritional powerhouse foods creates one-pot meals that are packed with nutrients like protein, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin A. White beans in particular, like navy Great Northern beans, are a good culinary match for spinach, kale, broccoli rabe and escarole.  It’s inexpensive and easy and lends itself to a range of flavors. Here are three easy ways to create healthy pairings:

Stir-fry beans and greens: Saute minced garlic and chopped onion in olive oil. Add quick-cooking greens like spinach, Swiss chard or bok choy and stir-fry just until slightly tender or wilted. Add canned beans, drained and rinsed, along with seasonings like Italian herbs, fresh parsley or chili pepper flakes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Turn a salad into a meal: Add canned or home-cooked beans to a salad of lettuce or baby spinach or baby kale. Dress with oil and vinegar and garnish with sunflower seeds or chopped olives.

Make homemade soup: Create a fast bean soup using any type of bean cooked in vegetable broth. Add sautéed onions and garlic, and chopped kale, collards or spinach. Simmer until the greens are tender.


Looking for another beans and greens recipe? Try our Sausage and White Bean Soup with Kale and Basil Pesto.