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Simmered Kale with Bacon and White Beans Recipe

Simmered Kale with Bacon and White Beans Recipe

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Kale is one of those vegetables that gets a bad rap. When shopping for kale, look for smaller, dark green bunches that are firm to the touch.

If you don’t eat bacon, add two tablespoons of olive oil in its stead and salt to taste. This recipe also works very well with Swiss chard, turnip greens, and other hardier leafy vegetables. Serve as a wintry side or even as a meal on its own with a piece of crusty bread.


  • 3 strips of bacon cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large bunch of kale, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Two 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, rinsed


In a large pot, cook the bacon over a medium-high heat until much of the fat is rendered, but before it gets crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Carefully pour off the fat and add the kale. Toss with tongs until the kale is wilted. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Then add the beans, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Whether we&rsquore on a plane heading for a shoot or working locally in our studio, it&rsquos a good life. When we say good, we mean we&rsquore satisfied with our lives. If we can continue doing what we do now until we retire, we&rsquore happy. We remember back during our college days, ambitions were high. It&rsquos funny how our goals and definition of success changed so much within 15 years. We&rsquore not high level execs, engineers, doctors nor lawyers. When people ask what we do, we simply say that we&rsquore photographers, travelers and happy cooks. At the end of the day, we&rsquore satisfied, fulfilled and dreaming of what our next meal is going to be.

Our next meal again this week is this lovely warm kale salad that&rsquos dotted with luscious bacon and creamy white bans. Over the last year and a half, we&rsquove been reminding ourselves to share this recipe. It&rsquos been in our archives and had photographs finished way back in January of 2014! That&rsquos how crazy of bad bloggers we&rsquove been. Doing what we love outside the blog has definitely kept us busy and un-focused on blogging a bit, but we&rsquore so happy to be craving kale so that we remembered this recipe.

Over the cooler weather this week, we&rsquove been bundled up in warmer clothes and craving hot comfort foods that keep us cuddly and fuzzy feeling both inside and out. But after a while, the hearty comfort foods start to wear on us and we&rsquove craving the greens that Spring is exploding with. So it&rsquos perfect timing to make this salad again and to share it with you all.

Blogging makes us happy and finding this 16 month old recipe and photo makes us even happier! Enjoy this kale, bacon and white bean salad and relish in all the joys that simple everyday moments and people bring you.

Kale, Bacon and White Bean Soup

Soup that’s hearty enough for dinner needs to include three things: A protein source, a whole grain, and a boatload of vegetables. Make that four things: A little something extra to beguile, to intrigue, to keep your spoon going back for more. This soup hits all those notes and then some. Canned white beans add protein—and pureeing a portion thickens the broth nicely. Quick-cooking farro adds a chewy, nutty element. Kale, tomatoes, carrot, and celery take this firmly into nutritious territory. And two ingredients add that extra something: bacon, because of course, and a piece of Parmesan rind, because it brings a mysterious, umami depth to the broth. At my supermarket cheese counter they sell little containers of rinds, but I save money by stashing mine in the freezer whenever I grate a fresh hunk.

The best part: You’ll be ladling out bowlfuls in less than 45 minutes, making this perfect for a blustery weeknight. Add a loaf of crusty bread and some grated Parm, and see if this doesn’t ring your bell, too.

Debbie Koenig is the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.

Hey! There’s A Parmesan Rind in My Soup!

If you’re not in the habit of saving your Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds, there’s never been a better time to start saving them. But it’s not only a question of waste-not want-not—those tough ends of a hunk of Parmesan may not be very easy to grate, but they are loaded with lovely Parmesan flavor. Simmered in a soup—just plop a piece of rind into the broth as it bubbles—a Parmesan rind will infuse the soup with deep umami richness, and a bit of subtle creaminess, too. If you don’t have one, this white bean soup recipe will still be delicious—it has bacon and garlic, after all—but you may want to adjust the salt slightly.

Bacon, Kale and White Bean Soup

Some days, especially when it’s cold and dreary out, all I want to do is stay in and drink soup, preferably with a side of crusty bread for dunking. And that’s exactly what I did this past Sunday – and it was good. It was really good.

If you like bacon, kale or beans, this soup recipe is for you. It’s (relatively) healthy, hearty and delicious. And because it calls for canned versus dried legumes, it comes together fairly quickly, a bonus for hurried cooks.

To round it out, serve the kale and white bean soup with grissini or slices of homemade French baguette. (If you go with the latter, consider adding a teaspoon of dried rosemary to the dough, which lends a subtle woody flavor and fragrance to the bread.) And there you have it – soup that eats like a meal and keeps you warm and satisfied for hours.

  • 8 strips apple smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 15 oz. cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 4 cups packed torn kale leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pot, cook bacon on medium heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from pot and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  2. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pot. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add thyme, chicken broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  5. Remove about half of vegetables, beans and liquid from pot and purée return to pot. Add tomato sauce, kale and ¾ of the cooked bacon. Simmer until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with remaining bacon.


Made this yesterday. Delicious! Caveat: I had some home-made beef stock, so I used that. Used 1 cup dried beans, soaked and boiled with a bay leaf. Used diced tomatoes rather than tomato sauce.
Still awesome!

Hi Sandi – I love that you made the recipe your own … glad you enjoyed it!

Creamy Parmesan White Bean Stew with Spicy Greens.

Spiked coffee with whipped cream. Like this morning. Currently debating whether it will hurt or help. Leaning towards the latter.

Binge watching 90s shows. I’m picking California Dreams.

Wait though. Also binge watching the Olympics. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH! I’ve traded in my country music star dreams for figure skater dancing wishes for the time being. I’m deathly afraid of heights but want to learn how to luge.

Taylor Dayne pandora station. Doooooo it.

See also: manicure, yoga class, magazine reading bender, neon pink flower splurge, taking notes in a Lisa Frank notebook. Hologram unicorns solve all problems.

And crazy good soup that is so thick that you’re not even sure if it’s soup, but it is soup. But so, so, SO thick and creamy that is necessitates a fat hunk of baguette for dipping. Because… BAGUETTE.

I’m about ready to tell all this snow to go take a hike. A long walk off a short pier. All last week I wore the hottest pink lipstick to ward off evil snow demons.

I bought dyed grocery store flowers that turned the water in my makeshift mason jar vase pink and lime green, but brightened up the house nonetheless. I’m super ready for it to be light outside past the hour of 5PM and I’m dying to go outside and walk walk walk.

Instead I’m creating permanent dents in my couch cushions and burning my lap with hot bowls of soup.

This minute I saw this stew it reminded me of mother lovett’s bean soup which I shared almost two years ago to this day. That ranks up there as one of my favorite comfort foods and it’s all because of those darn beans – they get so starchy and thick and creamy, you’d almost think that you had added potatoes or half and half to the soup. It’s a substantial and comforting meal. And besides my irrational fear of purchasing a ham bone, it’s one of my lifelong favorites.

Then I saw this and realized no ham bone required. And saw green stuff and thought “health!” And… also thought “bread.”

This pot is so incredibly full of flavor. A little bit of bacon goes a long way and the anchovies melt into the oil, providing a ton of salty, nutty flavor. The beans fall apart and the greens add a bit of chew. It’s perfect for scooping. Perfect for today!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and discarded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces kielbasa sausage, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Roll kale leaves into tight tubes and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips.

Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir kielbasa in hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir green onion with sausage cook until onions soften, about 3 minutes. Add kale cook and stir until kale wilts, about 3 minutes.

Pour chicken broth over kielbasa mixture add beans and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook at a simmer until kale is completely tender, about 15 minutes. Season mixture with salt and pepper and top with Parmesan cheese.

Simmered Kale with Bacon and White Beans Recipe - Recipes

Make your weekly meal prep ultra nourishing with this great big pot of braised beans & kale! It’s easy to prepare, super nutritious, and it makes a lot of food for freezing and leftovers.

I was originally going to call this recipe what it actually is, which is braised cranberry beans and kale. I don’t cook cranberry beans as often as some others, but I do love their creamy texture, and I tend to get them during the holidays because their mottled, white and red exterior (which becomes pink as they cook) always strikes me as being appropriately festive.

As I was making the recipe, though, I realized that one of its upsides is that it can be made with pretty much any bean you’ve got: navy beans, cannellini or great northern beans, black beans, chickpeas, pinto or kidney. This is truly more of a cooking template than a recipe, but I like it so much—and am so sure I’ll be making it regularly from now on—that I couldn’t help but share it.

My normal process for batch cooking beans is to soak them overnight, then boil them till tender. I like this because it allows me to use the beans any which way: I haven’t really seasoned them, so they’re a flexible addition to any recipe.

There’s a lot to be said, though, for cooking them this way, with lots of onion and garlic and salt: the beans take on more flavor, and they end up having a stewed consistency that’s really lovely. Braised beans aren’t as blank a canvas as plainly boiled ones, but they’re still flexible: you can mix them with a grain, serve them over toast, or use them as a side dish at dinner.

The other part of this recipe is the kale, which gets cooked down until it’s practically melting. Normally when I add kale to meals, like soup, I give it about 10 minutes of simmering, which is nice because the greens hang on to some of their texture. But there’s an upside to long-cooking kale, too: not only does it become wonderfully soft, but it also becomes incredibly sweet. It’s a good trick for anyone who finds the bitterness of kale (or other leafy greens) to be off-putting.

I snapped a photo of the meal as it was cooking, and I had to smile because it was so unapologetically earthy and soupy and not particularly photogenic:

Once the pot is ready, though, you’ll have something wonderfully fragrant, nutritious, and nourishing on your hands. Normally I’d freeze something that yields so much right away, but I loved the beans and greens so much that I spent the better part of a week eating them (sharing a few portions along the way). My favorite meal was to serve them with millet, which is what’s pictured in the photos, but I also enjoyed them with:

And I’ve got another batch in my weekend cooking plan already, leftovers of which will join me at my mom’s on Sunday and Monday for simple lunches. Here’s the recipe.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound kale
  • 1 tablespoon oil, or to taste
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cut tough stems off kale and discard. Stack leaves, roll tightly and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch strips. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with cold water swirl to remove grit. Drain in a colander. Clean a second time if water in the bowl looks visibly dirty.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sage cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in vegetable both, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and add the kale. Season with salt and pepper and stir until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Cover and cook until tender but not soft, about 3 minutes.

Uncover saucepan stir in beans and hot sauce. Stir until beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Kale and White Bean Pizza Recipe

White beans and bitter greens are a classic Italian pairing, and today, I’m bringing them together as an irresistible pizza topping.

This post may contain affiliate links.

This pizza recipe starts with a mound of Tuscan kale drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. A brief massage breaks down the hearty leaves, helping to improve texture and absorb flavor. Creamy white beans are then tossed with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Both kale and beans rest for 15 minutes, creating some time to preheat the oven and prep other toppings. Once the beans and greens are ready, the pizza stacks up as follows:

  • Pizza dough (from a local pizzeria) drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt
  • A shredded mix of low-moisture mozzarella and nutty Fontina cheese
  • Crispy bacon
  • Massaged kale leaves
  • Marinated white beans
  • Red pepper flakes, salt and freshly grated Parmesan cheese

The finished pizza is rustic, comforting and so delicious. The tangy, bitter kale is a perfect counter to the rich beans, melty cheese and pops of smoked pork. As the kale cooks in the oven, any exposed edges will go brown and brittle, taking on a flavor similar to kale chips. Concealed under a blanket of greens, the bacon plays a supporting role here, adding some meaty depth of flavor. Finally, the white beans turn golden and crispy on the outside while maintaining a creaminess within. All the toppings just work together, making for one damn tasty pizza! Continue reading for the recipe.

This is my second recipe made in partnership with USA Pulses & Pulse Canada. You can find the first, Pasta with Chickpeas, Fennel and Saffron, here. Pulses are dry beans, chickpeas, peas, and lentils. They’re healthy. They’re sustainable. And best of all, they’re delicious! In this pizza recipe, the beans lend a note of earthy richness that pairs beautifully with the tangy, bitter greens.

Given that it’s January and most of us are trying to make some healthier food choices, I’m going to share some of the health benefits associated with most of these pizza toppings:

  • White beans, packed with protein, fiber and slow-digesting carbs, are low on the glycemic index. They’re also high in antioxidants and magnesium!
  • Kale is high in fiber, iron, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium. Filled with antioxidants, kale also helps fight inflammation.
  • Garlic, another nutritional powerhouse, can help fight the common cold and reduce blood pressure.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes can stimulate your metabolism, helping to burn calories and curb appetite.
  • Extra virgin olive oil and bacon are both healthy fat sources (in moderation).

Of course, I can’t claim that the cheeses and dough are healthy, but when topped with all the other goodies, it all balances out. This is about as healthy as a pizza can get!