blissful eats with tina jeffers: Corona beans with braised kale

The weather has decided to play tricks with us here in Portland.  I have witnessed snow, rain, hail and sunshine all in the space of an hour today and the last thing I want to do is go outside.  I have mentioned before that growing up in Southern California has made me particularly unsuited for an Oregon spring.  Every March I start to feel pouty and petulant because my mind says that it should be getting warmer, the sun should be out and I should be able to pack away my winter coat.  The sad reality is that we still have a lot of crummy weather to endure and that I need to make the best of it.  When it’s crazy miserable outside my mind turns to simple comfort food, a steaming bowl of hot soup, and sometimes a big bowl of beans and greens is just the thing to take me out an early spring funk.

The one thing still growing like gangbusters in the garden is an obnoxious amount of kale.  Luckily I can eat kale every day of the week and still ask for more.  One of my all time favorite ways to eat kale is to braise it with olive oil and lots of garlic and then toss it with some nice creamy beans.   This is a very easy recipe to alter and adapt, if you can’t find corona beans, cannellini or navy would work equally well.  Add the tomatoes or leave them out if you don’t want to take the extra step the beans will be delicious either way.  If you want to make it vegan omit the parmesan cheese and drizzle some good quality balsamic over the top instead.   In a pinch canned beans will work but they might get a little mushy, it’s so easy to throw a pot of beans on the stove when you have some extra time over the weekend and then this meal comes together in 15-20 minutes. The beans can easily be made ahead and they freeze really well.  Thanks for reading and don’t forget to visit me during the rest of the week at!

Corona beans with braised kale


1 1/2 cups (10 to 11 ounces) dried corona or cannellini beans

5 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 pint cherry tomatoes

¼ cup basil leaves

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped stemmed lacinato kale

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

salt and pepper to taste

parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar for serving



Place beans in a pot with enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to boil. Continue to boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans and return to pot. Add 8 cups water and 3 cloves garlic; bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer until beans are tender, 1 to 2 hours.  Halfway through the cooking, check to see if the beans have started to soften and add 1 teaspoon salt.  Continue to cook until beans are soft but not mushy and most of the cooking liquid has evaporated.

While the beans are finishing, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper toss the tomatoes with one clove of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the basil, and a ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Roast the tomatoes for 15 minutes or until they start to blister and release some of their juices.  Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the kale.

In a medium saucepan heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over low heat; add one clove of minced garlic and the crushed red pepper, Cook for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the kale and ¼ cup of water then cover and let cook until the kale starts to soften, about 5 minutes.  Remove the lid, add the tomatoes and the beans and cook for 5 minutes stirring gently until everything is combined. 

To serve, spoon some of the bean and kale mixture into a bowl and top with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of good quality balsamic vinegar.