Beans and greens

Soaking dried beans and then cooking them the next day is such a rewarding experience – and these simple accompaniments make the beans a lovely cool-night dish. Serve with crusty sourdough or even a little steamed rice for a lovely midweek meal…

Our Kitchen Garden

From the garden: sage, spinach, silverbeet, chard, beetroot leaves, mustard greens, kale

Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist Bondi PS

  • Bowls – large, heatproof
  • Colander
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large frying pan & lid
  • Kitchen towel
  • Measures: cup, tablespoon
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Serving bowls


  • 250g dried cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A small branch of sage
  • Cooking salt, flaked salt & pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 large bunch of greens (such as spinach, silverbeet, mustard greens or kale)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

What to do:

  • The night before, place your dried beans in the large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water well over the beans, add the bicarb and stir. They will need to soak for at least 12 hours.
  • At the start of your lesson, drain the beans into the colander and rinse them well, then put them into the medium saucepan with about 3cm cold water to cover.
  • Rinse the sage, keeping the branch whole, and shake dry. Peel the garlic cloves and add 3 of them, whole, to the saucepan. Also add the branch of sage, a teaspoon of cooking salt & grind of pepper. Set on a low heat with the lid on and simmer until beans are soft, probably about 2o minutes.
  • Thinly slice the remaining 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Wash the green leaves and shake dry. Remove any thick stems, and cut the leaves into 3cm ribbons. You can leave any baby spinach leaves whole.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in the large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and chilli flakes and stir until the garlic is pale gold, about 1 minute. Add the greens by large handfuls and stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more, tossing with the tongs to coat with oil.
  • Add the stock, cover with the lid, and simmer until the greens are just tender, adding a little cannellini bean cooking liquid in spoonfuls if dry.
  • When the beans are soft, turn off the heat and let them cool slightly in the water.
  • Set the colander over the clean heatproof bowl and carefully pour the beans and their liquid in to drain. Add the beans to the greens and then simmer uncovered until the liquid is almost absorbed for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, taste and add more vinegar if desired; drizzle with remaining tablespoon of oil and divide into serving bowls.
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