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ceramic bowl with brothy beans and greens, topped with parmesan cheese on a plate with a spoon

Easy Brothy Beans Recipe with Kale and Parmesan

  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Soaking time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


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
  • 810 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


  1. Soak beans: Pick out shriveled, discolored beans and debris. Place beans in a large bowl.
  2. Fill the bowl water, at least 2 inches above the beans. Add 1 tbsp salt.
  3. Soak for 4-12 hours in the fridge.
  4. Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large pot on the stovetop over medium heat.
  6. Add onions, garlic, celery, carrot, and a generous pinch of salt.
  7. Cook until the vegetables have started to brown, about 5 minutes.
  8. Create a bouquet garni with the rosemary, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf: bundle them together and tie with kitchen twine.
  9. 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.
  10. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.
  11. 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.
  12. Use tongs to remove the aromatics – the chunks or large vegetables, parmesan rind, and the herb bundle.
  13. Stir in kale and lemon juice until wilted.
  14. Add salt to taste.
  15. 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.

Keywords: brothy beans recipe, easy bean recipe, how do I cook dried beans, how to soak beans