Eating Well with Beans and Greens

rainbow chard

This delicious recipe from Chef Joyce Goldstein is an ideal meal: tasty, balanced, filling and nutritious. The white beans are a healthy protein source and the hearty portion of greens fulfills our body’s need for veggies. Most of us eat far too few vegetables, leafy greens in particular. The average American eats only ¾ cup leafy greens per week and the minimum for a healthy diet is 1 ½ - 2 ½ cups, depending upon your calorie intake.

The modest seasoning Joyce recommends meets The Nutrition Source’s dietary recommendations for preventing chronic disease, plus keeps our taste buds fresh and satisfied. Did you know we build up a tolerance to salt, just like caffeine or alcohol? 70% of Americans are at high risk for health problems due to excessive salt intake. Regular consumption of packaged foods, restaurant cuisine or fast-food contributes to an unhealthy salt tolerance. To counteract this vicious cycle, which leads to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, mindfully consider your use of salt while cooking.

Enjoy this fulfilling meal and eat mindfully to nurture your whole self! If you have more questions about choosing healthy foods, visit our healthy eating plate.

White Beans Under Greens
Fagioli Cotti Sotto La Bietola

Makes 8 Portions


1 ¼ cups borlotti or white beans, dried, rinsed
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, chopped or thinly sliced
1 pinch of hot pepper flakes
2 lb. beet greens or Swiss chard (about 10 cups), well-rinsed, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
3 cups plum tomatoes, canned, diced, with juices – NO SALT ADDED
salt to taste
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
2-3 cups (or as needed) vegetable broth or water


1. In a saucepan, combine the beans with 6 cups of lightly salted water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and allow them to stand for 1 hour.

2. Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until softened. Remove from heat and divide the mixture in half. Combine half the mixture with half of the greens and spread over the bottom of the pot.

3. Add half the beans then repeat the process.

4. Layer the tomatoes on top along with the juices. Season with salt, pepper, and enough vegetable broth to cover the beans. Slowly bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low; simmer until the beans are tender, about 1½ hours. Adjust the seasoning before serving.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 200/Protein:10g/Carbohydrate:30g/Fiber:8g
Saturated fat: 1 g/Polyunsaturated fat: 1 g/Monounsaturated fat: 3.5 g
Trans fat: 0 g/Cholesteral: 0 mg/Sodium:250mg/Potassium: 1220 mg

Recipe credit: Joyce Goldstein, as presented at the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference on March 22, 2012. 

Photo credit: Eflon, as shared on Flikr's Creative Commons 

For more healthy recipes, visit the Savor Wholesome Recipes Archive