Hearty white bean and kale casserole

by Katie on February 14, 2011

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I’m here to tell you about a casserole. But before I do, let me just say that there are a bunch of recipes out there for white bean and kale soup. Just do an internet search and you’ll come up with a ton of ‘em. I’ve cooked at least two such soups in the past couple weeks, experimenting with different herb combinations. Let me just say I’m still working on it.

For the most recent one, I absentmindely used a tablespoon of sage that was way past its prime, garnering the following response from my husband, as he held the steaming bowl up to his nose on his way to the table: “Mmm, musty.” He said it with the same intonation as he might have said, “Mmm, tasty.” Musty wasn’t the response I was going for. We ate the soup as it tasted fine, but I tossed the rest of that sage later that evening.

Since I hadn’t had much luck with white bean and kale soup, I was intrigued when I recently saw a recipe for Slow-Baked Beans with Kale by Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times. The slow-baked part wasn’t going to work for me because I didn’t want to wait 3 1/2 hours for dinner to be ready. That recipe starts with dry beans, and they slow bake in the oven. I’m sure it’s absolutely amazing, and I’m going to try it some time. Really, I am! In the meantime, I thought I’d adapt the recipe and use pre-cooked beans.

And, we have a winner! I’ve tried the technique below (variations on it, anyway) twice – once with navy beans I had pre-cooked, and once with canned cannellini beans. The version with the navy beans that I had cooked was slightly better, but the one with canned beans wasn’t far off. I think you’ll be happy either way. Make this meal today and show yourself or your special someone a little love!

While the casserole is baking, you can prepare whatever you like to have on the side. Pasta or rice would go well. I prepared some Israeli couscous tossed with a little parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.

A warm, hearty casserole, packed with veggies and as satisfying as any I could imagine. I love it!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley May 31, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I’ve lived on the original Martha Rose Schulman recipe – the long version with large white Lima beans soaking overnight, all winter. I also tried it with canned beans…not even close. The soaked beans & the slow cooking made the kale & beans luscious. I’ve shared the recipe with a lot of people & it is always a hit.

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Katie May 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Hi Shelley – I agree that slow cooked beans are simply divine. However, I do end up using canned beans a lot to save time. I’ll have to try it as you suggested, with large white lima beans, when cool weather rolls around again. Thanks for your comment.

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Deanna October 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I found your site while searching for kale casserole recipes since I just bought kale for the first time at the farmer’s market. Made this recipe tonight- delicious!

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Katie October 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Hi Deanna – So glad to hear that. This recipe is definitely one of my reader favorites. Thanks for your comment!

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eliz October 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

i’m planning to try this in reverse, essentially: rather than making MRS’s recipe shorter, i want to make some hybrid of hers and yours even longer, and use uncooked beans in the slow-cooker to make this a crock pot casserole! i would normally not do that with cabbage-family foods, but kale is so good (and mild, comparatively) that it seems worth it. thanks for the inspiration! now just to figure out what to make on the side…

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Katie October 31, 2011 at 9:48 am

Interesting! I am so curious to hear how it works out. I don’t have a slow cooker myself (I do have a pressure cooker because if anything, I like to speed things up!). But I think I’ll get one eventually because there is so much you can do with it.

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eliz October 31, 2011 at 9:56 am

oh, my slow cooker and pressure cooker definitely get equal play! what i want, i think, is just to be able to have a shorter window of cooking between getting home from my job and getting dinner on the table, and both accomplish that. also the kitchn was talking about lemon breadcrumbs (http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/recipe-slowcooked-broccoli-with-crunchy-lemon-breadcrumbs-157654) which feel like they might be good with this… if it works i will tell you!

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Carmen May 25, 2014 at 2:09 am

Made this many times last year when my garden was running over with greens. I do like kale the best. It is one of my favorite recipes now and I generally serve it over fried polenta and sprinkled with hard white cheese. yum yum yum. On the hunt for some new recipes tonight and thought I would come back a peruse your site. :)

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