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A white, fluted plate holds two slices of toast, cooked leafy greens, and a plant-based protein.
4.41 from 10 votes

Great Big Pot of Braised Beans & Kale

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yields: 8 servings


  • 1 lb cranberry beans or another bean of choice, such as navy, cannellini, pinto, or kidney
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 white or yellow onions chopped (or 1 very large onion)
  • 6 cloves garlic very thinly sliced
  • 7-8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt*
  • 1 large or 2 small bunches curly or lacinato kale about 1 lb, thick stems removed and chopped (or another type of leafy green, such as collards or chard)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Red wine or sherry vinegar to taste


  • Soak the beans overnight, or for 8-10 hours. Drain and rinse them.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup or stock pot. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are tender and clear. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the beans, 7 cups water, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaves. Add the salt and kale to the pot (you may need to add the kale gradually, stirring as you go, in order to wilt it down and fit all of it). If the mixture you have is too thick, add an extra cup or more of water: you want the beans and kale to be less soupy than a soup, but still pretty soupy.
  • Cover the pot again and continue to simmer the beans and kale for another 30-45 minutes, or until the kale is meltingly soft and the beans are tender. Taste the beans and add salt as needed; then, add freshly ground black pepper and a splash or two of red wine vinegar to taste. Serve. (The mixture is even tastier as the leftovers sit.)


*How much salt you need will vary according to taste, health needs, and which type of salt you use. I used a little over 1 1/2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt, but 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt would be comparably salty.
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. They can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.