Brothy beans with kale is a comforting, warming, and nutrient-dense vegetarian lunch or dinner recipe. Beans are flavored with browned onion, garlic, celery, and carrots plus plenty of herbs and a parmesan cheese rind and they pair perfectly with crusty bread or crackers. If you’ve never cooked dried beans before, this recipe is beginner friendly: it’s made in one pot and doesn’t require any fancy techniques or ingredients!
- 1 lb dried beans, such as cranberry beans, Cannellini beans, or Great Northern beans
- 1 tbsp fine salt, plus more for seasoning the beans
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion, peeled and quartered
- 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 5 stems parsley
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 8–10 cups water
- 1 parmesan cheese rind
- 3 cups curly kale
- Juice of half a lemon
- For serving: shaved parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley, black pepper
- Soak beans: Pick out shriveled, discolored beans and debris. Place beans in a large bowl.
- Fill the bowl water, at least 2 inches above the beans. Add 1 tbsp salt.
- Soak for 4-12 hours in the fridge.
- Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Add onions, garlic, celery, carrot, and a generous pinch of salt.
- Cook until the vegetables have started to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Create a bouquet garni with the rosemary, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf: bundle them together and tie with kitchen twine.
- To the pot with the aromatic vegetables, add the water, the herb bundle, parmesan cheese rind, and the rinsed beans, as well as a few generous pinches of salt.
- Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.
- Cook for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender but not mushy. Start checking for doneness at 45 minutes by tasting a bean or two – if they are cooked all the way through, they are done.
- Use tongs to remove the aromatics – the chunks or large vegetables, parmesan rind, and the herb bundle.
- Stir in kale and lemon juice until wilted.
- Add salt to taste.
- Ladle beans and broth into bowls, and garnish with shaved parmesan cheese, parsley, and a few cracks of black pepper.
This recipe makes A LOT of beans, so you will likely have some leftovers. Let the beans cool down to room temperature, then you can store them in the fridge or freezer:
- Fridge: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freezer: Freeze beans in their brothy liquid in a freezer bag, silicone baggie, or airtight container. Remove as much air as possible if using a bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrosting: Put frozen beans in the fridge to defrost them 24 hours before you plan to eat them.
- Reheating: You can reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until warmed through. Or, reheat larger portions in a saucepan on the stovetop. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil then remove from heat.
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