Beans and Greens

Beans and greens are truly one of those recipes that are way more than the sum of their parts. Start with dried white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini) for a creamy, saucy texture and add some fresh greens in at the end, cooking them just until softened but still pretty and green. The result reminds me of chicken soup in how comforting it is to my belly and mind, but it’s totally vegetarian and chicken-free. My version was first shared in my Learn to Cook Book (which is the most hilarious cookbook on the market and has over 100 recipes) but now I took a picture of it so I can share it here. (But you should still totally buy a copy of my book! Support the arts! Buy a book!)

Beans and greens - simple, healthy, vegetarian one-pot meal with white beans and kale or collard greens

This goes great with garlic bread if you have some, or toss it with cooked spaghetti. You can also just eat it like soup which is what I do. It’s a one-pot meal! Although . . . I just had a thought that a poached egg would be pretty goddamn fantastic on there, too, especially with buttered toast to go with it.

Beans and greens - simple, healthy, vegetarian one-pot meal with white beans and kale or collard greens


Try a combination of greens or just pick one. I usually just use kale because it’s cheap as hell and beans are cheap, too, so you’re looking at a cost per person of, like, 2 cents or something. In fact, this was one of my “poor meals” for many, many, many years starting in college and through my first marriage. Sometime after that, it fell out of my regular roster for some reason but I read an article last week about how eating beans could save the earth and so I went a’browsing. It’s kind of frustrating sometimes because most vegetarian recipes online don’t use beans as a main ingredient; tons of tofu or dairy/egg-based recipes and a million vegetarian chili recipes but I already have one of those and sometimes you want something different. So I turned to my own cookbook and voila. Thanks, past me.

Health tip: Don’t skip the lemon! Not only does it taste really good in here, adding a little vitamin C to your bean recipes helps your body absorb the iron in the beans.

To make this on a weeknight, just put the beans to soak in about 8 cups water before you go to work. Start it when you get home and it’ll be ready in about one hour.


Beans and Greens

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Hilah
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



1 cup dried Great Northern beans, soaked 8-12 hours

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

several shakes red pepper flakes

4 cups water

4 cups chopped greens

1/2 lemon (2 tablespoons juice)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


IF you forgot to soak the beans, that’s okay. Put them in a pot with enough water to cover, bring to boil over high heat. Boil 1 minute, turn off heat and soak 1 hour. Drain. If you remembered to soak the beans, bully for you. Drain them.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and saute the onion 5 minutes until beginning to brown.

Add garlic, herbs, broth/water and drained beans. Cover and bring to boil over high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or until beans are soft. Remove bay leaf.

Add greens and cook 5-10 minutes more.

Add lemon juice, salt, pepper.

Add cheese at the table.


  • Calories: 303
  • Fat: 10
  • Carbohydrates: 38
  • Protein: 17

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Beans and greens - simple, healthy, vegetarian one-pot meal with white beans and kale or collard greens


  1. FoodJunkie on January 13, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I made this for lunch, adding about a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a little left over ham. This was really tasty and would have been even without the additions. Cheap, easy and delicious, what a great recipe. This is going to be a regular for me.


  2. Carol SBW on June 29, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Hi, trying to enter this in Weight Watchers. Need fiber (gr), sugar (gr), and saturated fat.
    This is delicious. Thanks!

  3. Penny on August 4, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Just made your beans and greens. Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. I enjoy cooking and staying in during COVID has given me lots of time to try new recipes, especially meatless dishes. PI plan to check out more of your recipes and your videos. Thank you!

  4. Gloria on October 20, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    We own an Independent Bookstore and will promote your cookbook???‍????‍??!

  5. Marianne on January 13, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    I’ve been making and eating beans and greens for years. Historically garlic was more pronounced as it was easily stored and available. Spinach, dandelions and beet tops were in kitchen gardens and used as a inexpensive ingredient over many months. The leafy tops of vegetables are too often discarded by the contemporary home cook. Attention to this dish is on point !

    • Hilah on January 14, 2021 at 8:19 am

      This is one of my favorite recipes ever!

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