Braised white beans and Swiss chard in a garlicky broth make a delicious stew-like dish that’s perfect as a main or hearty side. This Italian inspired beans and greens takes just 20 minutes and comes together easily in one pot. Perfect for any night of the week.
Beans and greens is a simple, hearty dish that is heavy in my regular rotation. This is one of those delicious recipes that I find myself making this over and over again during the colder months when I want something quick and healthy but also warm and comforting. It checks all of the boxes!
Creamy cannellini beans, tender greens, tons of garlic and just enough broth to bring it together. Top it with some parmesan cheese, a pinch of red pepper flakes and serve it with a hunk of crusty bread and you’ve got yourself a delicious, nutritious meal in no time.
This dish is inspired by a classic Italian recipe and it makes a great main dish or side with roast chicken or Italian sausage.
Ingredients and Substitutions
The ingredients are simple and the basic recipe can easily be customized with what you have on hand.
- Beans – for this recipe, you want to use cannellini beans or great northern beans for their creamy textures. I would advise against using black beans or pinto beans. Although delicious, they just have a different flavors and textures that doesn’t lend itself well to this dish.
- Greens – the traditional Italian version of this dish uses escarole which is part of the chicory family. It’s related to endive, radicchio, and other bitter greens. I always find myself using rainbow chard as I like the visual of the different colors and it’s always available in my grocery store. You can use any kind of sturdy, leafy greens including chard, kale, spinach, broccoli rabe, collard or mustard greens.
- Garlic – lots of fresh garlic. I use six cloves but you follow your heart.
- Shallot – this is not traditional and totally optional but I like to throw a small shallot or a bit of onion in there.
- Broth – I love the flavor of chicken broth in this recipe. If you want to keep it vegetarian or vegan, vegetable stock will also work! If you have any homemade chicken stock on hand, this is a great recipe for it!
- Parmesan cheese – for sprinkling on top. You can also throw a little rind in the broth while you’re simmering for extra flavor.
- Red pepper flakes – a pinch or two for heat.
How to make beans and greens
With just a few minutes of prep and less than ten minutes cook time, this easy recipe comes together quickly in one pot!
Start by prepping the greens. Wash thoroughly and remove the leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. If you’re using swiss chard, I always thinly slice the stems and sauté them with the shallot and garlic. Depending on the greens you select, The stem may be too fibrous or bitter but with chard, they slice up almost like celery.
Mince the shallot and garlic cloves. In a medium pot or large sauté pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. If you’re using the sliced chard stems, sauté them for about 1-2 minutes until they become soft and translucent. Add in the shallot and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, season with salt and sauté for another minute or so until it’s very fragrant. Note that the amount of salt you use will largely depend on how salty your chicken broth is. I add just a small pinch at this point and then season again to taste at the end.
At this point, if the pan looks dry, add a touch more olive oil. If at any point the shallots and garlic look like they might burn, turn the heat down. Add the leafy greens and sauté until they are tender and wilted. Add in the white beans and broth and bring the pot to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
Top each bowl with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with crusty Italian bread.
What to serve with beans and greens
This hearty dish made with humble ingredients stands well on it’s own – although hunks of crusty bread are non-negotiable! This stew-like deliciousness also pairs perfectly with roast chicken or with some Italian sausages on the side.
More veggie forward main dishes you will love
- Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Lemon Herb Tahini
- Japanese Eggplant and Oyster Mushroom Stir Fry
- Creamy Mushroom Pappardelle
- Arugula Pesto Pasta
- Thai Coconut Curry
Beans and Greens
- 1 bunch Swiss chard or other leafy green
- 1 15oz can of Cannellini beans drained
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- parmesan cheese
- red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- Wash the greens thoroughly and remove the leaves from the tough stems. Chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. If you're using chard, you can thinly slice the stems as you would a stalk of celery.
- Mince the garlic and shallots.
- Heat olive oil in a medium pot or large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté sliced chard stems (if using) for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add in the minced shallot and cook for another 1-2 minutes until translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and a pinch of salt and sauté for another minute or so until the garlic is very fragrant. If the pan looks dry at this point, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Add the greens to the pot and let them wilt until just tender, tossing frequently.
- Once the greens are wilted, add in the white beans and chicken broth. Bring the pot to a simmer and let it cook, uncovered, for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes and top each bowl with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve hot with lots of crusty bread.