Garlicky Bean and Kale Salad
These are the lazy days of summer. Who can be even bothered with turning on a stove when hot dogs and hamburgers can be made outside?
YOU CAN! That’s who.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we should default to everything in grilled form. After all, you’ll need something besides potato chips to go on that plate with the hot dog and hamburger.
So let me just toss this Garlicky Bean and Kale Salad on your radar. Try not to use canned beans for it if you can help it. They end up being a bit too soggy, but can be used in a pinch. If you can get your hands on some cranberry beans, they are outstanding and what I used in this version.
Almost any white bean will get the job done though! It’s hot outside sure, but a nice hearty salad can sometimes be the life of the party.
- Cook cranberry beans according to directions. If you have it available, add a small onion and a chopped carrot to the water as the beans simmer to give them some extra flavor. The beans will need to simmer for 35-45 minutes until they are tender.
- Drain beans when they are done and rinse them well.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add beans and cook for a minute or two.
- Add slivered kale to the skillet along with garlic and red pepper flakes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper now also. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes until kale just starts to wilt.
- Add lemon and zest to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until flavors combine and kale is bright green and wilted in spots.
- Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with grated pecorino cheese before serving.
This salad is best served at room temperature. It keeps okay for a day, but after that starts to fade pretty rapidly.
Garlicky Bean and Kale Salad
Like I said, I used dried cranberry beans for this version. They are a beautiful bean if you can find them. They cook up well and don’t get too soggy.
I soaked mine overnight and then simmered them with some onion and carrot until they were tender, but not mushy.
If you can’t find cranberry beans (there is no canned alternative to them to my knowledge) you could use any white bean like great northern beans or navy beans.
Once your beans are cooked and drained, add some olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the cranberry beans and let them cook for a few minutes so they almost get a little color to them. Then add the kale (which should be slivered), garlic, and red pepper flakes. A pinch of salt and pepper wouldn’t hurt here also.
Once the kale goes in, don’t overcook the skillet. The kale should wilt a tiny bit but stay bright green. It shouldn’t take on the dark color of, say, cooked collard greens. You want the bright, fresh flavor with just a tiny wilt to it.
Add the lemon and zest at the very end and right before serving top the whole skillet with a healthy handful of grated pecorino cheese.
This garlicky bean and kale salad is really nice slightly warm or at room temperature, but it’s also fine cold. I think it loses a lot after a day though. It loses some of the brightness the greens get too wilted. So, I’d recommend making it the same day you intend to eat it, but it’s a really pretty and delicious side dish.
Add it to the list, people!