Canned beans are a pantry staple in my house. By adding a few ingredients to a can of beans, you can have a nutritious dinner ready in a snap. Today’s post isn’t just about a low fat, high fiber recipe loaded with vitamins and proteins. The story is also an illustration of how a well stocked pantry can help you to manage dinner even when you’re a couple of ingredients short.
Today’s recipe has Italian roots. Its Italian name is minestra. It’s a simple dish that can be made with or without meat (usually Italian sausage or pancetta). In addition, it can be made with most greens that you have hanging around. I have seen similar recipes published which call for escarole or spinach. I have even been known to use Swiss chard as the greens for this dish. It’s extremely versatile and you really can’t make it wrong.
This week, kale was on sale at my local market for 2/$1. This was a good thing because Sue Chef wants to try Kale Chips. I’m sure we’ll have
a story to tell blog post about them if we ever get around to making them. Because of the sale, kale was my green of choice.
This recipe comes together quickly. In fact, the bulk of the labor is in chopping up the onions, garlic, and greens.
Next, prepare the greens by washing them and cutting them into strips.
When the onions are soft, add the greens to the pot.
When the greens have begun to wilt, add 1 (14oz) can of chicken broth (approximately 1 1/2 cups).
If, like me, you discover that there is no more chicken broth in your pantry, you can use a bouillon cube dissolved in 1 1/2 cups water or better than bouillon. (Better than Bouillon has about half the sodium of a bouillon cube.) If you will be using either of these substitutes, omit the addition of salt from the recipe.
Add 2 (14 oz) cans of beans, drained and rinsed to the pan. I really like to use dark red kidney beans in this recipe because of the intense color contrast, but when I reached into my pantry, I only had one can of light kidney beans. I substituted a can of great northern beans for the other can of kidney beans.
Mix the beans into the wilting greens and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 – 15 minutes until beans are heated through and greens are the desired consistency.
Serve with a crusty piece of bread, and you’ve got a great tasting, inexpensive meal that is very nutritious. It serves well as a side dish or as a main course. If you live with someone who must have meat in their meals, you can cook a pound of either mild or hot Italian sausage with the onion and garlic before adding the kale to the pan.
- 2-3 small/medium onions
- 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 bunches kale, stems removed, center vein split, and leaves sliced or chopped
- ½ tsp salt (omit salt if using bouillon instead of broth)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 2 (15oz) cans of beans (kidney, cannellini, or great northern)., drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken or vegetable broth or 1½ cups hot water with bouillon dissolved in it.
- Heat oil in large pan
- Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
- Add kale to pan and toss well.
- Season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.
- Stir until Kale begins to wilt.
- Add broth or water with bouillon to the pan.
- Stir in the two drained and rinsed cans of beans.
- Bring to a boil. reduce heat, cover pan, and simmer for 10 minutes or until greens are cooked.
Here’s your recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.