Greens and beans has to be one of my most favorite traditional recipes.   It’s an old rustic Italian side dish that is commonly made with escarole and cannellini beans with a touch of chicken stock for added flavor.  When I was growing up, I tolerated the consistency of the cooked lettuce that I relentlessly had to chew (or sometimes choke) on to get down, because the taste was worth it.  After experimenting with a few different green alternatives, I have reasoned that the durability of kale really holds up to my recreation the way I had hoped.  I encourage you to experiment with your own green substitutions, such as collard greens, swiss chard, spinach or even brussel sprouts!

Because I like to reinvent almost all of the classics, I chose to incorporate prosciutto into this recipe for an additional boost of flavor.  I haven’t consumed any pork products in years, as a personal choice, so I was elated to discover duck prosciutto this past summer.  I get the duck prosciutto from Hudson Valley Duck farms, who practice sustainable techniques.  Their birds are free range and are GMO, antibiotic and hormone free.  They cure the duck breasts on premise themselves, and I find that it is quite comparable to traditional pork prosciutto.

I do not use any broth in this recipe, but if you enjoy the traditional “soupy” consistency of greens and beans, feel free to add a cup of organic vegetable or chicken broth to the dish in the last 5 minutes of preparation.

P.S. Did I mention, you only need one sautee pan to make this entire recipe? Easy clean up? I’ll take that any day!


serving size: 2-4
total time: 20 minutes

  • 1/2 cup diced duck prosciutto, skin on!!!
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups kale, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, well rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more as needed (bear in mind prosciutto is typically salty)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili pepper flakes, or more as desired
Put a large sautee pan over medium heat and add the prosciutto.  Allow the prosciutto to cook until the skin/fat starts to melt, at least 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and onions to the pan and cook until they become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Push the prosciutto mixture to one side of the pan and add the olive oil to the pan, at least 3 inches away from the mixture.  Quickly add the kale and toss it in the pan, ensuring that it is evenly coated with the olive oil.  Work the prosciutto mixture back in with the kale, and allow it to wilt for 2-3 minutes.  Add the cannellini beans and continue to fold the kale into itself, mixing all ingredients thoroughly.  Top with lemon zest, salt and chili flakes.  Toss one more time before serving!

*If you feel so inclined, add a squeeze of lemon juice for an added boost of nutrients.  The compounds in lemon enhance the nutritional benefits of all leafy greens!


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