RECIPE: White Beans and Kale Gratin
Small white beans and red kale come together in a simple, easy-to-make gratin seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.
For the Beans and Greens
- 1 ½ cups small white beans
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (sliced thin)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch curly kale (trimmed)
- 1 ½ cups bone broth
- 1 teaspoon finely ground real salt
For the Crumb
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon finely ground real salt
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
- Scoop beans into a mixing bowl with a tight-fitting lid, cover with warm water by two inches, and stir in the baking soda. Allow the beans to soak at least 12-18 hours. Drain them and rinse them well.
- Dump beans into a stock pot with a heavy bottom, cover them with water, and bring them to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender and cooked through, about 90 minutes. Drain.
- Heat the oven to 400°F.
- While the beans simmer, warm 2 TBSP olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Drop in the garlic and red chile flakes, allowing garlic to sizzle in the olive oil until it releases its fragrance, about 2 minutes.
- Turn down the heat to medium, and stir in the kale, sautéing continuously until slightly wilted, about 2 more minutes.
- Stir in the broth, and let kale cook in the hot broth until wilted and tender. Stir in the beans and 1 tsp of salt. Turn off the heat.
- Warm 1 TBSP of olive oil in a separate skillet, and then stir in the breadcrumbs, onion and garlic powders and ½ tsp. sea salt. Toast the seasoned breadcrumbs, stirring continuously to prevent scorching, until amber brown.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the beans and kale, and then top with Parmesan cheese.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust becomes crispy. Serve warm.
Soak your Beans for Better Nutrition
Beans benefit from soaking in hot water which makes them easier to digest and quicker to cook; even more, it makes their minerals more bioavailable and more easily absorbed. Soaking beans helps them to release raffinose, a type of carbohydrate that can cause digestive upset and gas.
Soaking also activates enzymes held within beans that deactivate food phytate, a natural component of beans that binds up minerals and prevents their full absorption. When you soak your beans, all those minerals that were previously bound by food phytate become a much more readily absorbed by your body – making beans all that much more nutritious.