Satisfying Beans & Greens

Beans and greens, beans and greens - does it ever get old for you? It doesn't for me, but I tend to gravitate toward the same seasonings and flavors, and unless I have a recipe that looks good, I tend to use white beans. That's my comfort-zone - more of an Italian-take on the situation. A little EVOO, a little low-sodium chicken broth, some chopped kale (or whatever there is), maybe some pre-cooked chicken sausage, some red pepper, a lot of garlic. But we have a lot of greens from the CSA and I need to mix it up.

Enter this recipe. It's not really exotic, it's just different from my usual. I rarely use paprika, and although I do use a lot of cumin, I would never think of it for a beans and greens dish - dunno why, just a blind-spot for me. This features chickpeas, which I love - they have a nuttier, richer flavor than many other legumes. The other cool thing about this recipe is it'll use up whatever greens you have around, in style. For example, the original recipe called for kale, which would be delicious, as would chard, but I had escarole from the CSA that was just gorgeous. It's not escarole soup weather, so I used it in this. It was mellow but assertive enough here. It blended right in with the cumin and paprika and didn't overpower the dish. DI even gobbled this up (and it was a good foil to that Kobe beef hotdog he had the night before).

The prep here might go a little long for a weeknight (about 45 minutes), but a lot of this is largely unattended. Why not save it for a Sunday and start your week off on a healthful note? The leftovers are delish, too.

Chickpeas & Greens (adapted from Cooking Light)

2 center-cut bacon slices, diced
1 c. chopped carrot
1 medium-large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. paprika
1/4 t. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
3 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 (15-oz.) cans organic chickpeas (choose a BPA-free brand), rinsed and drained
8 c. chopped fresh escarole (or other sturdy green of your choice)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt

 

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon. Add carrot and onion to drippings in pan, and cook until onion is translucent and carrot is softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and red pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add greens to the bean mixture. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until greens are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking. Ladle about 1 1/4 cups bean mixture into each of 4 bowls, and top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.

Serves 4.