As far as healthy, hearty, weeknight-friendly dinners go, this one is tops. Warm white beans and wilted kale on thick slices of toast. Finish them with a fried egg for a delicious meal that comes together fast!
When Frank and I got married in 2010 we both loved food and cooking, but we did not have an extensive repertoire. In fact, since we had both been single and living alone for most of our 20s, we each ate a small number of meals on repeat - turkey and arugula sandwich for him, All-American Chili and stuffed peppers for her.
As we settled into the calm of life after wedding + honeymoon, we got into a weeknight cooking routine that has served us well to this day. Warm beans and greens on toast was one of the first meals we started making consistently together and it still appears on our dinner table often.
This recipe is the evolved version of that early one. With chopped sun-dried tomatoes for savory flavor and a sunny-side up egg on top, this vegetarian meal is delicious in its simplicity.
Yes, yes, yes. Protein in the beans, vitamins in the greens, and it’s all wrapped into a budget-friendly package that’s hearty and still pretty light. Years ago the New York Times called beans and greens a “Power Couple” and I still think it's a great description.
To make toast in the oven, spread it out on a sheet pan and bake at 350°F / 177°C for 6 to 8 minutes. You can flip it to toast on both sides, or just toast one side if you’d like one side crisp and one side more tender. Finish with a spread of butter or drizzle of olive oil.
Swiss chard is a great substitute for kale if it is going to be cooked. Baby spinach or baby arugula are good substitutes for curly-leaf kale if it is going to be served raw.
The ingredients for this are straightforward, but here are a few tips:
- Shallots or Red Onions - Either will work here. Shallots tend to be naturally sweeter while red onions have more of a bite, but in this recipe they’ll be sauteed until very mild and tender. Be sure to slice the shallots thin or chop the red onions fairly small so they cook relatively quickly.
- Curly-Leaf Kale - I love this type of kale because it will hold its shape and texture even when cooked for a few minutes. To save time, look for bags of pre-chopped and pre-washed kale in the produce section.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes - You’re going to love the savory flavor these add to the beans and greens. Look for them marinated in jars. No need to rinse them off, just use a fork to remove them from the oil and chop them up.
- Great Northern Beans - Any white beans will do here, though I like that Great Northern Beans hold their shape well.
- Lemon zest - Don’t skip it! It adds a nice bright flavor.
- Make it Gluten-Free - Just use your favorite gluten-free bread and this meal is good to go!
- Make it Vegan - Skip the egg on top and add a spread of hummus to the toast (before adding beans and greens) to give it some added protein.
- Add Nuts - These are great with toasted pine nuts or toasted and chopped pecans or walnuts on top for some crunch.
More Quick Vegetarian Meals
- Green Curry Vegetable Ramen Bowls
- No-Noodle Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Black Bean and Zucchini Enchiladas
- Vegetarian Tater Tot Casserole
- Baked Vegetarian Spring Rolls
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet - I use this 10.5-inch cast iron skillet nearly every day. To keep it seasoned, just be sure to dry it well and rub it with some oil before storing it (this will prevent rust and keep it seasoned).
- Half Sheet Pan - The perfect size pan for everything from roasting vegetables to baking cookies.
- Global Chef’s Knife - You only really need one chef's knife to use for everything and this is my favorite. I've had it for 7+ years. It's incredibly lightweight. If you, like me, are under 5'4", the 6-inch is a perfect size (if you're taller, get the 8-inch).
Warm White Beans and Kale on Toast
- Half Sheet Pan
- Large Skillet
- 2 slices Thick-Cut Bread (I like a hearty whole grain bread; if using smaller slices of bread, use 4)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
- ½ cup thinly sliced Shallots or chopped Red Onions
- 8 leaves Curly-Leaf Kale, chopped (see note)
- 6 chopped Sun-Dried Tomatoes (from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 15 ounce can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
- Fried Eggs, for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
- Spread bread out in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Brush the tops of the bread with about 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
- While the oven is heating, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add shallots with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden and lightly caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes. (If they start to brown, turn down the heat. You want them tender and translucent but not browned.)
- To shallots, add kale, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. Saute until kale is wilted and tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in beans, salt, and black pepper until beans are warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
- Transfer sheet pan with bread to the oven and toast until deep golden brown on top, about 6 to 8 minutes. (If you want to top toast with fried eggs, fry them while the bread is toasting.)
- When toast comes out of the oven, divide beans and greens over top. (Add fried eggs on top, if using or drizzle with some extra olive oil if not using the fried eggs.)