Beans And Greens, Quick, Easy And Healthy

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.

A Comforting Bowl Of Beans And Greens
A Comforting Bowl Of Beans And Greens

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.

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173 thoughts on “Beans And Greens, Quick, Easy And Healthy

    1. Hi Lisa, Sometimes you need a simple but tasty meal like this after a long day. It doesn’t take long to get it on the table and the clean up is easy. 🙂

  1. Oh I like this very, very much. Great idea to cook one can of beans first, mash to create a creamy base and give the soup some body then add the remaining ingredients, must remember this great practical tip.

    1. Hi Norma, I’m glad that you like the recipe. Yes, I always like some of the beans to break down for nice base to the soup…I’m happy you like the idea.

  2. I’m such a white bean fan, and I’m loving your version here. Red Pepper Flakes and Thyme will be joining my next simple bean dish. Thanks for this Karen.

  3. We’re forecast freezing north winds for the end of this week – a bowl of your beans and greens will be just the thing to warm up with!

  4. Nice idea…I like bean and vegetable dishes like this very much. The Vendee, where we live, is well known for its white haricot beans ( known as mogettes or lingots) which are often cooked and then preserved in duck or goose fat. I’d modify your delicious dish to fit around them.

    1. Thank you Roger, I’m glad you like this dish. I know I would love any meal that you would prepare with beans preserved in duck or goose fat. 🙂

    1. Hi Nancy, I believe you are right about escarole not being as prevalent in the south as other greens. I don’t think some people realize how healthy a meal of beans and greens are. Growing up in Texas, this dish would been served with a chunk of cornbread…true comfort food.

  5. What a delicious looking dish. I love all the ingredients, so this would be right up my alley. Can’t wait to try it.

  6. Yes, yes, yes to quick and easy and healthy all at the same time Karen. This is just the perfect dish for these cold wintery days isn’t it. Thanks for sharing. Do you have any snow?

    1. Hi Teresa, I think we all need recipes like this meal during this very busy season. You are right, it is perfect for the cold wintery weather. We have only had a dusting of snow twice in the last two weeks. It is funny, we all want a white Christmas here in New England but really don’t want it too soon. 🙂

  7. Oh, yes – instead of waiting for the end of the holiday season to start watching what we eat, that is beginning now! Lots of legumes mixed with good winter greens – but I love the bacon you added! It enriches the flavors beautifully!

    1. Hi David, It doesn’t hurt to eat as many healthy dishes as we can before we indulge during the holidays. The two slices of bacon in this recipe really enhance the flavor. 🙂

  8. Karen, this sounds wonderful. I have used very similar combinations of beans and greens, all tasty – I can’t wait to try your version. Yum!

    1. Hi Mary Ann, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. This is a dish that is good with any number of beans and greens. I hope you will enjoy my version.

    1. Hi Tanya, Yes, Spain is one of the countries that has wonderful bean and green soups. One of my favorite Spanish soups in this category is Caldo Gallego.

    1. Hi Darryl, I believe you are right…escarole is not used as often as it could be. The tender center is good in salads and the outer leaves are delicious used in recipes like this.

    1. Hi Shanna, Thank you for your visit and your nice compliment. I’m happy to know that you like this dish…it is indeed a comforting meal.

    1. Hi Daisy, I’m happy to know that you like my beans and greens dish. Yes, after our Thanksgiving feasts and knowing all the indulgent holiday foods in our future, I thought a healthy meal might be appreciated. Besides that…it is delicious. 🙂

  9. Once a week we share dinner with friends who are vegan so I am always looking for new recipes when it is my turn to cook. Leaving out the bacon, this will be great. BTW, I just sent your recipe for pot roast done osso bucco style to a friend who wanted a suggestion for a dinner party.

  10. The combination of beans and various leafy greens is a very tasty one especially with the addition of a pork product. 🙂 You’ve also done a wonderful job of taking a pretty picture of the finished dish.

    1. Hi Boleyn, I agree with you that beans and greens enhanced with a little pork product makes for a very delicious meal. Thank you for your kind words, I’m glad that you enjoyed the photo.

    1. Hi Liza, I make several versions of this dish. From a long simmered bean dish with greens to this lighter version cooked in less time with the addition of fresh tomatoes, I agree with you that beans and greens are very comforting meal.

    1. Hi Chunklet, I have to agree with you about this making a good lunch dish. When I make a big pot for dinner, there usually is a little left over for lunch the next day and it is great.

  11. I’ll never say no to bacon. 😉 Or beans. Or greens. Terrific combo – this looks wonderful. And the fact it’s nice and easy? Wonderful! Really good recipe — thanks.

    1. You gave me a chuckle, John…I’ll never say no to bacon either. A little bacon can add so much flavor to a dish as it does in this meal. I’m happy that you like the recipe. Thank you as always for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Andrea, for your nice compliment. This is a recipe that is so adaptable to not only individual tastes but the seasons and what we have in our pantry. I’m glad that you like the dish.

  12. Vibrant, hearty and nourishing, Karen. I love beans and don’t serve them nearly as often as I used to. Must remedy that! Great recipe, thank you.

    1. Thank you Lizzy, for your nice compliment…I’m glad to know that you like the recipe. This meal is indeed all the things that you mentioned and oh so good. Beans are a nice dish to add to your repertoire of evening meals.

    1. Hi Sam, All of us that grew up on the south would appreciate a nice bowl of black-eyed peas and greens. As a matter of fact, it is a meal I always have on New Year’s Day in some form to bring good luck for the upcoming year. 🙂

  13. In Radda, Italy and in many places we visited the cannelloni bean was in many dishes. This is a quick and tasty and healthy meal. Thanks for sharing this recipe as I need some easy meals as I too am in a baking storm and my kitchen is in chaos. Have a super week. BAM

    1. Hi Bobbi, You are right, cannellini beans are a favorite in Tuscany in so many dishes. Your kitchen probably looks like mine right now. My Kitchen Aid is sitting on my counter right waiting to mix up more royal icing for my sugar cookies that have taken over my counter. 🙂

    1. Thank you Giovanna, for your nice compliment. I’m happy to know that you like the recipe. It is a favorite of mine…I hope you will enjoy it.

  14. Thank you Karen! Have just changed my lunch menu! This is very much my kind of dish as it does bring together my ‘foodie’ and ‘nutritionist’ personas!! Not always easy . . . . looks fabulous . . .!!

    1. I’m happy that you like the recipe, Eha. I agree that it is not always easy to have a nutritious meal that will make a foodie happy but I think you will enjoy this one. 🙂

    1. Hi Marlene, I think we all need as many easy meals during this hectic time of the year as we can get. The bonus is that this one is comforting and healthy. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Chris, This is really a nice meal to serve when the weather outside is cold or wet…it truly is comforting. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  15. Earlier today I decided to look at including more legumes within my diet, and blog for that matter. Now you’ve got me thinking (maybe not such a good thing :)) are there any British recipes that call for legumes. You know, apart from Scotch Broth I can’t think of any. Will have to investigate. It’s possibly more of a Med type dish, when it’s cooked over here these days.

    1. Hi Johnny, It sounds like we are on the same wave length. It is interesting about legumes not playing a very big role in British recipes. I do know that one dish that made it’s way onto our shores are baked beans. They seem to be a dish often served at breakfast both here in New England and in Britain.

    1. Hi Paul, I’m happy to know that you like this recipe. With all the holidays at the end of the year, it is hard to eat healthy. I try to make as many healthy meals as I can during the week to make up for the indulgent meals that are coming up. 🙂

      1. Remind me in a few weeks, if you would be so kind. I’ve got lots of Christmas festivities to share in the next couple of weeks.

    1. Hi Wendy, You gave me a real chuckle with your comment about a whole cheesecake. 🙂 Yes, we do need to try to balance what we eat during the indulgent weeks ahead. The lacinato kale growing in your garden with be perfect in this dish.

  16. This dish sounds delicious Karen. Especially the vegetarian version. I know I’ll be making this soon. I have all but the greens on hand. 🙂

  17. I grew up eating beans and as an adult I find them soulful and comforting in cooler months with a good chunk of bread, and a glass of wine.

    1. Thank you Charlie, for your nice compliment. I know our seasons are opposite…a warm and comforting meal is welcomed at this time here in New England. 🙂

    1. Thank you Maureen, I’m glad you like the dish. You are right…this time of the year we are tempted with lots of sweets and other yummy foods that can add quite a few pounds if we aren’t careful.

  18. Thank you, Karen, for such a wonderful bean dish idea. I love beans, but don’t eat enough of them… Every recipe (and especially such an appetising one!) is welcome.

    1. Hi Sissi, Beans are a good source of protein and fiber that I like to include in our meals occasionally. I’m happy you like the recipe…thank you.

  19. I’d say it’s hard to make beans look pretty, but you’ve managed to do so Karen. I’ve also promised my neighbor that I would try and make more with beans since it’s something I never had growing up (well, Boston Baked beans of course but that was the extent of it). I just always got overwhelmed at the market with all those options for beans – beans in bags, beans in cans…it just confused me.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment, Diane. You are right, some dishes are very hard to photograph and make look appetizing. This is such an easy dish…perfect to get you started adding beans into your diet.

  20. Karen, I love this! I’ve made versions of this dish before, but it had slipped off our radar, so I’m very grateful for the reminder. We make it with broccoli rabe (rapini) and/or Tuscan kale and chorizo and white beans. Hmmm. I’d like a bowl right now! 🙂

    1. Hi Celia, I’m happy that this post reminded you of how much you like dishes like this. I love broccoli rabe and have to use it the next time I make beans. I think our tastes are very similar. 🙂

  21. I sure can see myself eating a big bowl of this bean and greens…it is perfect for the cold weather…such a comforting dish Karen.
    Have a beautiful week my dear 😀

    1. Hi Juliana, This is indeed a comforting meal and great for when it’s cold and you need a warming dish. I hope you have a wonderful week as well…thank you.

    1. Hi Monet, I believe we all need quick and easy meals during the hectic holiday season. The flavor of this dish is wonderful and very comforting…I think you would enjoy it. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  22. We do eat a lot of beans. I hadn’t really thought of combining two beans, but that’s a great idea. And finishing with the oil sounds very special. You’ve taken my plain beans, which I love enough to eat rather plain, and elevated the whole dish! I love the way you prepare them. 🙂

    1. Hi Debra, I glad to know that you have lots of beans in your diet. I believe you will enjoy the combination of the two beans. I like their different textures and flavors in this dish. It doesn’t take much to elevate a plain dish of beans into something special. I’m happy you like the recipe, thank you.

    1. Hi Jessica, I’m glad you like the recipe…thank you! I grew up with beans being part of our dinner at least once a week when I was growing up in Texas.

  23. Wow that looks ultra delicious and healthy and simple to make. I wish I could dip in some fresh crusty bread and just continue eating. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Liz, I appreciate your stopping by for a visit and your very nice compliment. This truly is easy and very good…one of my favorites on a busy evening.

    1. Hi Betsy, During this busy month, I’m always looking for meals that can be on the table without too much work. I think your idea of a sprinkle of crumbled bacon served on top would be terrific. 🙂

  24. What a beautiful dish! You’re right – very healthy with all of those colors, lots of flavor and texture. What a great idea for a meal this week. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lorraine, When you can prepare an easy recipe that is not only healthy but good tasting too, I think it is a winning combination. I’m glad you like the recipe…thank you!

  25. YUM – one of my favourite comfort foods. I wonder about this though ‘olive oil for drizzling over finished dish, optional’ . . . to us the drizzle of high quality olive oil . . . and perhaps a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on top is essential to the dish! Thanks for reminding me that I need to make some beans and greens ASAP.

    1. Hi Jerry, It sounds like our tastes are exactly alike. I like to keep a special bottle of extra virgin olive oil just for finishing certain dishes. Enjoy your bowl of beans and greens. 🙂

    1. Thank you Katerina, for your nice compliment. I agree with you about this being a simple dish but very nutritious. I remember your Greek bean dish fasolada…another simple dish that is very flavorful. 🙂

  26. Love greens, love beans. Therefore, by extension, I love this dish! I really like things like this. Hearty and filling, quick to make, and they also have this wonderful “light” quality. Around this time of year everyone is stuffing with copious quantities of meat, carbs, starches… it’s nice to have something simple and nourishing like this!

    1. Thank you Charles, for your nice compliment. I agree with you about how nice it is to have a meal that we can really enjoy but is lighter than most of the things we eat at this time of the year. 🙂

  27. This looks like the perfect winter lunch, filling, healthy and so flavourful. I usually use dry beans to control the salt but I have noticed that some canned beans have no salt these days so perhaps it’s time to rethink it. I’m with Betsy, loving the crumbled bacon on top.

    1. Hi Eva, I’m glad you like the recipe. I think this is a nice meal for lunch or dinner. I do make lots of bean dishes from dried beans but when I want a quick and easy meal, I rely on my pantry and use canned beans.

    1. Thank you Cathy, for your nice compliment. I love a one pot meal that can be quickly put together and simmered on the stove on a busy day.

  28. Christmas comes every year and I have yet to be organised. This recipe appeals to the eye and even more to the person doing the washing up. I love the fact that most of the ingredients can be found in our cupboards.

    1. Hi Maria, I have to agree with you…the Christmas season is very hectic and it is nice to have a good one dish meal like this that is quick to get on the table. I can’t tell you how important I think a well stocked pantry is. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Didi, I’m glad you enjoy this dish as much as I do. The tomatoes add color and the bacon adds flavor…all adding up to a delicious meal. Thank you for your nice comment.

  29. I can envision cooking up a big batch of this to enjoy throughout the week — as is, with a sunny-side up egg on top, and even as a side to chicken or fish. Delicious!

  30. It does look like a super healthy meal and you always make everything look so good.
    I am going to unsubscribe but don’t worry, I have added you in Bloglovin. I am trying to keep my emails clear but will read your posts through Bloglovin as I really love them.

    1. Hi Suzanne, Thank you for your nice compliment as always. I do know that I have followers from Bloglovin…glad to know you will still be following along.

      1. My husband did prepare dinner for me…it was a real treat because he is a terrific cook. He will laugh at the name “Mr. Karen”. 🙂

  31. I am WAY behind on my reading – Beans and Greens are such a great combo but I haven’t had them in ages. I think cooking up a mess greens, adding some beans and taking for lunch is just what the doctor ordered – especially since it’s so cold outside!

    1. Hi Kelli, Don’t feel bad, I think we are all very busy this time of the year, I know I am. This is a very comforting meal…perfect for when the weather is cold.

  32. Ahhh – Greens and Beans! When I lived in Rochester I used to get this all of the time – it was actually one of my favorite dishes or soups to order. Some restaurants served it as a side or main dish and some served it as a soup. For whatever reason I don’t see it down south even though most of us down here are from New York..ha ha. Honestly though it is one of the most delicious and satisfying meals. Your recipe sounds perfect, too. I like that you added tomatoes. Most places didn’t serve with tomatoes, but it probably brightens the dish up a bit!

    1. Hi Becki, I’m glad you like beans and greens as much as I do. I have several recipes for bean soups but I do like the added tomato in this one…it not only adds color but a little brightness to the flavor.

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