White Bean and Kale Stew

When its cold outside there is nothing I love more than a big bowl of chili or stew or soup. Something that warms me from the inside out, and sticks to my ribs, causing me to lean back in my chair and rub my belly with satisfaction.

Sadly (or awesomely) it was in the 80’s here in Southern California on New Year’s Day and just cooled down again. Winter in California is SO not like my winters in Brooklyn.  Not that I am complaining, because I do not miss the feeling of my contact lenses freezing in my eyes from the cold weather! Or my nose being so cold I could not tell if it was running or not. Yeah, good times, good times. . .

Now that is a little cooler here, I made a rib sticking, hearty vegetable stew with white beans and one of my favorite vegetables, Tuscan kale. To really give it some smoky flavor I used the skin from my homemade baconIf you want to make it vegetarian or vegan, do not use any bacon or smoked meats, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It will still be fantastic, just without the smoky layer.

I love the flavor of Tuscan kale, also known as black kale, dinosaur kale and lacinato kale. You can easily use other types of kale, or even fresh spinach, collard or mustard greens.

I make sure to coat the beans in the flavored oil before adding the broth, to insure that the flavors soak into the beans as they cook.

Once you add the broth and water you can walk away, returning for an occasional stir and to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot.  Depending on how old your beans are, they may suck up more liquid than you expect, so add more water if needed.


When the beans are almost done, stir in the chopped kale. Cook until the kale is as tender as you like it. Some people like raw kale, but I am not among them! I like it to be nice and tender, but not mushy and squishy.


Enjoy it with some crusty bread to soak up all that good juice! I also recommend a nice bottle of pinot grigio.

print recipe

White Bean and Kale Stew
This hearty one pot meal is filled with savory white beans and healthy Tuscan kale, a meal packed with not only flavor, but nutrients.
  • 4 ounces bacon skin (or substitute with a smoked ham hock or turkey wing)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 cups small white beans, soaked
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large spring fresh rosemary
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
In a large pot over low heat, cook the onion and bacon skin in the olive oil, until the onions are softened.
Add the garlic to the pot, cook an additional 2 minutes, until just fragrant.
Add the beans and stir to coat them well with the onion and garlic mixture.
Add the herbs, broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are almost tender.
Stir in the kale and continue to simmer the beans until the kale is wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. Season the stew with the salt, adjusting as needed for the saltiness of the bacon or smoked meat. Serve the stew with crusty bread to soak up the juices.

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 2 hour Total time: 2 hour 10 mins Yield: 6 cups

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

A Bounty of Spring Produce

Tiny Pea on Shoot

I love spring.  Flowers begin to appear, bright green leaves grow on the barren trees, and some of my favorite produce is available.  You already know of my love of asparagus, but there is a bounty of produce in spring.  I recently picked up some freshly picked organic produce from Dervaes Gardens, an urban homestead in the heart of Pasadena, CA.  Pasadena once was home to many farms and fruit orchards, but it is now known primarily as the home of the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade.  And really good shopping in Old Town.  So to have an actual, albeit small working farm with organic produce near my home is wonderful!

Their website says it best:

Dervaes Gardens is a backyard family business which sprouted in 1995 and is located in the middle of the urban Pasadena, California. From this bountiful one-tenth of an acre city lot, we grow and sell seasonal, locally grown vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers.

Our specialty is in the unique, rare, and heirloom varieties. Although this restricts the amount of produce we provide, we specialize in quality, not quantity. We provide to you only the very best of what’s growing in our revolutionary organic garden.

On top of the picked fresh the morning you will come get it produce, they have fabulous seasonal preserves, and fresh duck and chicken eggs.  All this from 1/10 of an acre!

When I picked up my order last week, it was so gorgeous I just had to take pictures.  I recently got a new, fancy shmancy camera so I could take better pictures of my food.  What better practice than to try and capture the essence of this bounty.  I hope you enjoy my efforts.  Be kind, I am still practicing…

Two recipes will be posted soon using the produce in these pictures, so stay tuned!

Swiss Chard and Pea Shoot

Gorgeous Swiss chard and a teeny weeny pea.

Bounty of Spring Produce

Multicolored Swiss chard, collard greens, pea shoots, frilly mustard greens, and kale.

Snow Pea Shoots

Pea shoots – I love the curly tendrils. So beautiful.

Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, Kale, Pea Shoots

A healthy, tasty and enticing bounty.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista