Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Smoky White Beans and Kale with Garlicky Grits

I'm a big fan of leafy greens - spinach, chard, collards - but if I were pressed to pick a favorite, kale would probably take the prize. A cursory search of this blog will yield numerous uses for this nutritional powerhouse, but its unique charms also lend themselves to the simplest applications; as often as not we just sauté it with garlic and copious quantities of nooch. The recipe below came about when a craving for something smoky coincided with the acquisition of some beautiful dinosaur kale and the realization that there were about a million cans of white beans in the cupboard. I do love me some white beans, and while I'm sure this would also be good with kidneys or pintos, there's something particularly wonderful about the combination of greens, navy beans, garlic, and smoke. Serve hot over rice or - my strong recommendation - cornmeal grits/soft polenta for a meal that's delicious and substantial but not at all "heavy," and just gets better as leftovers.

Smoky White Beans and Kale
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 medium onion, chopped
~ 2 stalks celery, diced
~ 2 carrots, diced
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 green bell pepper, diced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, sage, marjoram, chili powder
~ 2 tsp. Liquid Smoke
~ 1 tbsp. each: vegan Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce (I used Frank's)
~ 2 bay leaves
~ A few generous grinds of black pepper
~ 2 15 oz. cans white navy beans, including liquid
~ 1 head kale, stripped and chopped
~ 2 cups broth or water

~ In a large, deep pot, sauté the onions in the oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
~ Add the celery, carrots, and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes more.
~ Add the bell pepper and the seasonings and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another few minutes (you can add a little water or broth as necessary to prevent sticking).
~ Add the beans and the kale and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the kale is just wilted.
~ Pour in the broth, cover the pot, and raise the heat to high. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and you have a semi-thick stew. In the last few minutes of cooking time, you can make the grits!

Garlicky Grits
~ 1 tbsp. coconut oil
~ 1/4 cup minced garlic (or less, but don't be a wimp!)
~ 8 cups "no chicken" broth
~ 2 cups cornmeal grits (I use Bob's Red Mill)
~ 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

~ In a biggish saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic for about 3 minutes.
~ Add the broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a rapid boil.
~ Pour in the cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Stir in the nutritional yeast and continue cooking about 10 minutes until you have a thick, creamy texture. Mound on plates, ladle the beans and kale on top, and serve with extra hot sauce. Yum.


  1. Oh my goodness! We made this on a rainy evening for dinner, and it was so perfect. Each component is yummy, but when you mix them together, it is magical. They are perfectly creamy and salty and garlicky and nootchy. Mmmmmm. We will be making these often on rainy days. Easy and delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe!