Cheesy Greens and Beans

by Joanne on March 29, 2011

Do you know your greens?  More specifically, the “Bitter Greens”?  Just in case there are a few “green challenged” out there, here’s a quick review.

The term “bitter greens” covers those leafy vegetables that range from tangy to harsh tasting.  Among those with milder flavor are escarole and curly endive.  Examples of those with a harsher taste include dandelion, mustard and collards.  Popular kale is a more assertive green as well.  The very tender of leaves for any green can be added to salads for interesting flavor, ie  curly endive, young dandelion leaves.  The leaf should be green with gentle veins and not yellowed with prominent thick veins.  Collards, a thick green with sometimes very thick veins, as well as kale should be cooked.  Cooking will not only tenderize but reduce bitterness.  Briefly boil in salted water to tenderize both tough and more bitter greens.  After the greens have boiled, drain and let them dry, or pat them very dry with clean paper towel.  From this point, you can create some wonderful dishes with so many varieties of greens.  Adding olives, garlic, onions to a mix of tangy and harsh greens with a splash of lemon to finish is an easy way to create a dish loaded with flavor and a little bit of bite.  Healthy, nutritious and delicious.  Eat Greens!

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I really over cheesed my greens the other night but that’s ok ‘cause I love cheese. I revised the recipe below so it wouldn’t be quite as ooey, gooey.

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Serves 4

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  • 2 heads Escarole – wash well …really, really well. It’s amazing what you can find in a head of fresh Escarole and it’s NOT something you want to eat
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can Cannellini beans (White kidney beans are my favorite although I had to use a pinto bean so don’t get confused by the photos)
  • 2 oz Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese with Jalapeno peppers (I originally used 4 oz and it was WAY too much for the average non-cheese-a-holic person)
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup Vegetable broth (use chicken if you prefer)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

After cleaning the escarole, break it up into smaller pieces and boil for 8 – 10 minutes.

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Drain and pat dry.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and cook the onion for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking 1 minute. Add the drained and dry escarole and toss around for about 2 minutes. Add the beans, the broth and cook just until it boils. Remove from heat.

Pour into a large casserole dish and stir in the cheese, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

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Ever have greens and beans?  What’s your recipe?

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5 Comments

  • At 2011.03.29 08:51, kalli said:

    you know if i made my greens like this i may like the bitter ones……hope you have a great day joanne!

    • At 2011.03.29 10:01, Heather said:

      I’ve never had this dish, but it sounds divine! Cheese makes everything so much better, doesn’t it?? Mmmmmm……

      • At 2011.03.29 17:03, misszippy1 said:

        That looks fabulous and I’m pretty sure the kids would gobble it up too! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

        Thanks also for all your input on my blog–I appreciate how much you stop by!

        • At 2011.03.30 05:16, Sophie said:

          MMMMMM,…I love this veggie a lot. This dish looks like a lovely well flavoured meal! MMM,…I just gave you an AWARD!! Yeah!!! Come over @ my latest post & pick it up!! You can read xhy over there too!

          • At 2011.03.30 06:58, Medeja said:

            Looks delicious and really cheesy 🙂

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