Beans and Greens



With a Mark Bittman recipe and from his VB6 cookbook, you are in good hands. Here’s a featured VB6 recipe this week on Bittman’s blog. It combines the hearty taste of white beans with light and succulent broccoli rabe (or any green of your choice) to make a great melange that stands as a meal alone.



  • 1 pound dried white beans
  • 1 medium onion, unpeeled
  • Several bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bunches (about 3 pounds) escarole, broccoli rabe, or other greens, with no stem over 1/4 inch thick, well washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or toasted breadcrumbs (or both) for garnish


  1. Rinse the beans under running water, picking through them for stones or debris. Soak them if you have time, and put them in a large pot with enough cold water to cover by about three inches. Add the onion and bay leaves if you’re using them. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat so bubbles are barely visible. Cover the pot tightly and let the beans cook undisturbed for 45 minutes.
  2. Try a bean. If it’s at all tender, add the salt and pepper. Make sure the beans are still covered by about an inch of water; add a little more if necessary. If the beans are still hard, don’t add the seasonings yet and make sure they’re covered by about two inches of water; if not, add some.
  3. Return the liquid to its very gentle bubble and cover. Now start checking for doneness every 10 to 15 minutes and, if necessary, add enough water to keep the beans just submerged. Small beans will take as little as 15 minutes or more; older or larger beans can take up to an hour or more. If you haven’t added salt and pepper yet, add them when the beans are just turning tender.
  4. Add the greens and cook until they are tender, 10 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the stems. If you want a soupy mixture, add more water. Remove the onion and bay leaves, taste and adjust the seasoning. A few minutes before serving, stir in the garlic and olive oil. Spoon the beans and greens into bowls, and garnish with the Parmesan and/or breadcrumbs.

Yield: About 8 servings.


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