Beans and Greens, Quick, Easy & Healthy. With the approaching holidays, I’m sure everyone is pressed for time like I am. After spending a long day of baking, I wanted an easy meal that would be comforting and delicious. Instead of ordering a pizza, I cooked one of my “go to” meals that I know you will enjoy…you may even have your own version. I know I have several different ways I prepare this healthy meal. As a matter of fact, this dish can be found in countries throughout the world using different types of greens and a variety of beans. It can be prepared so that it is vegetarian or a little meat can be added.
This comforting meal can be adapted to the ingredients you happen to have in your pantry, refrigerator or garden on any given day. I used garbanzo and cannellini beans and escarole. Kidney beans, limas, or black-eyed peas could be used for the beans. It would be delicious with kale, spinach, collard, or mustard greens. Instead of using bacon like I did, pancetta, prosciutto or bits of ham can be used for flavoring or left out entirely. This dish is only limited by your imagination and ingredients you have on hand. By leaving out the bacon and using vegetable stock this turns into a perfect vegetarian or vegan dish.
Beans And Greens
- 2 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into small strips
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 c. chopped onion
- 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 c. water
- 2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, divided
- 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, less if using dry
- 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, less if using dry
- 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 head of escarole, washed, dried and cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 c. chopped fresh tomatoes (canned diced tomatoes can be substituted)
- olive oil for drizzling over finished dish, optional
- grated Pecorino Romano cheese, optional
Add bacon to a pot and cook until starting to brown. Add the olive oil and onion to the pot and cook until soft, then add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the chicken broth, water, one can of the cannellini beans and all the seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Let cook until the cannellini beans start to break up a little, about 5 or 10 minutes, mash some of the beans using the back of a spoon, if necessary. Add the garbanzo beans and the second can of cannellini beans and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the escarole and cook until it is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and let simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
When ready to serve, ladle into soup bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil. If you wish, sprinkle with some freshly grated cheese such as Pecorino Romano or Parmesan.
I think that you will find this quick and easy one pot dish of beans and greens to be very tasty. It is a complete meal in a bowl that I like to serve with homemade crostini. Slice a baguette, brush with a little olive oil and bake or broil until brown and crispy. As you sit at the table enjoying this comforting meal, relax and know that you served your family a meal that was a lot healthier than a take out meal, is budget friendly and is delicious.