Turning a pot of dried beans into a flavorful dish isn't difficult, but finding two or three hours to do so can be. On the other hand, quick-cooking canned beans can taste bland. Smith makes a dish that encapsulates the best of both worlds by gently simmering two cans of white beans with roasted garlic, onion, celery, herbs, tomato and chicken or vegetable stock. It cooks in less than half an hour, and together with hearty greens such as chard, kale or escarole, it's a filling and delicious vegetarian meal you can enjoy hot or cold.

Serves 4


For the roasted garlic:
  • 2 heads garlic, roasted and removed from husk
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
For the stewed white beans and greens:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, very small, diced
  • 1 rib celery, small, diced
  • 1 tsp. thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic
  • 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans of low-sodium white beans such as cannellini, small white or great northern, rinsed well
  • 6 ounces fresh hearty greens such as chard, kale or escarole, stems removed and washed
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the garnish:
  • 2 tsp. Parmesan cheese


To prepare the roasted garlic: Preheat oven to 400°. Turn the whole bulb of garlic on its side and cut in half (it's ok if some of the cloves don't all stick together). Set the garlic heads, cut side up, on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the cut faces with olive oil and put back together. Wrap the heads in the foil and roast until tender, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool before squeezing the garlic out of the skin. Use the specified amount in the recipe as a starting point. If you love the flavor of garlic, add more to your liking. The rest can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.

To prepare the beans: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, thyme, parsley, chili flakes and oregano and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and roasted garlic and stir until everything is well incorporated and the tomato starts to release its juice, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, reduce the heat to simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes. This allows the broth to richen and the flavors to meld. Add the rinsed beans to the pan and bring back to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes more and add the washed greens. Bring the pot back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until the greens are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the beans into soup bowls and garnish with a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese, if you wish.

Calories: 288
Fat: 10 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Protein: 15 g
Carbohydrates: 35 g
Fiber: 10 g
Sodium: 362 mg
Cholesterol: 5 mg

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