Garlicky Kale and White Bean Stew

A lot of people have been asking me lately what I eat on a daily basis. To be perfectly honest, most of it is too boring to blog about. Or perhaps I should say “simple”.
This Garlicky Kale and White Bean Stew is a perfect example of the humble food I often eat. If you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to mess about in the kitchen, this is the stew for you!

When I was in school for nutrition I went back home to live with my mom. (Understatement of the year to say she was happy about this.) This is when I began really cooking for the first time in my life. Every night was an experiment: knives blazing, spices flying, pots and pans getting some serious exercise. We always sat down to something special and, despite my insanely busy schedule, I found that cooking dinner for us was the most relaxing moment of my day.

Sometime during those months, I came up with this stew. On a particularly busy night when I was cramming for an exam, I threw together what we had in the fridge–amazing how cleaning out the kitchen can result in such deliciousness! This dish quickly became a staple and my mom, although now living without her live-in chef, has mastered it as well.

I am always trying to get more kale into my diet. Why? Because it packs more nutritional punch per calorie than almost any other food on the planet. Seriously. It is chock-full of vitamin K, an essential vitamin for preventing bone fractures, postmenopausal bone loss, calcification of your arteries, and has even been shown to protect against liver and prostate cancer.

Kale is the richest source of carotenoids in the leafy-green vegetable family, making it a top cancer-fighter. Kale helps to regulate estrogen, protects against heart disease, and regulates blood pressure. The calcium in kale is more absorbable by the body than milk (and ounce for ounce, contains more calcium than milk)! This makes it an excellent choice for both prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, arthritis and bone loss.

Garlicky White Bean & Kale Stew
Serves 3-4

Knob of coconut oil or ghee
2 medium onions
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, but really delicious)
5 bay leaves
Pinch chili flakes
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
2- 2 ½ cups cooked white beans (lima, butter, navy, cannelini…)
2 cups packed shredded kale leaves
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14 oz.) organic whole tomatoes
Cold-pressed olive oil to garnish

1. Heat a knob of oil in a large stockpot. Slice onions and add to the pot with a couple pinches sea salt, chili, bay leaves and paprika. Cook for a few minutes until the onions have softened, then add sliced garlic. If the post becomes dry, add a little juice from the tinned tomatoes.
2. Add all other ingredients, bring to a boil, season to taste, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil (since everything is cooked, you don’t need to heat it long). If you are going to let it simmer for a while, add the kale about 5-10 minutes before serving so that it retains more of its nutritional value.


  1. Lucille

    My number one go to. I make it at least once a week.
    So easy, absolutely delicious and so good for you! YUM!!!!!!

  2. Mina

    I’m interested in making this. Have you made it with sausage or Vegan sausage? I was thinking of adding Toforky Italian sausage. Thanks.

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  6. Sarah H.

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was delish even though I used water instead of broth. My freaking mason jar of broth had erupted in the freezer!

  7. Linda

    Hi Sara one of my all time favourite dishes, keep coming back to it time and time again.
    Looking forward to your new cookbook.

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  12. Hilary

    I love this soup! It’s one of the first recipes I tried on your blog, and it’s one of my all time favourite, and easy things to make. The coconut oil adds such a nice flavour. Thank-you for all your recipes- can’t wait to receive my cookbooks,


  13. groove cocktail

    This will be my hearty sunday brunch tomorrow. I’m a picky gourmet healthy cook, and I know it will be great just by looking at the photo and ingredients (and comments).Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Ash

      Coconut oil is also called coconut butter, which gives you an idea of the consistency. It’s usually somewhat solid at (Northern Hemisphere) room temperature, much like butter – possibly the only thing measured in knobs!?

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  16. Lindsay

    I make this soup at least twice a month! It is so satisfying and makes great leftovers to take into the office the next day. Thank you!

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  22. Kelley

    This was just DEE-LISH! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us…even my 9-month old son enjoyed it, and he only has two teeth. 🙂

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  26. Eden Lang

    I am so thrilled to have tried this! I often look at new recipes and think “oh- that looks great. I will keep that in mind” yet so often things get busy and pushed off. Not tonight! 🙂 I made a quick jot to the store and grabbed the kale etc and we fell in love with this dinner! Thank you so much for your time and talents.

  27. maia

    We are totally hooked on this soup! we’ve made it a number of times now. Last night we added some leftover millet which went very nicely with the smoked paprika.

  28. Sara

    Looks dee-lish!! What kind of white bean did you use? Gigante or lima or…? I love them all, but this looks especially good.
    Beautiful site BTW.

  29. bettina

    This soup is delicious!!! I’ve made it twice. The addition of paprika is a revelation to me. It definitely add great flavor and color.

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  32. Sarah Britton

    Hi Stinne,

    I like the Cuisinart food processor best. The 9 or 12-cup is good, depending on your needs. Find one second-hand if you can – they made them better 15 years ago than they do now! I hope that helps!

    Thanks for reading MNR 🙂
    Sarah B

  33. Stinne

    Hi Sarah,
    First of all, i love your site, simple wonderful! the pictures, the food everything is amazingly inspirational:-)
    I was wondering what kind of food processor you are using? I want to get me one, and i really want a machine that can do all the great stuff from your blog. Can you point me to the right direction, brand, where to buy etc?
    Thanks and thank you for making the world a healthier place:-)

  34. Amber Yorke

    What a wonderful surprise.. home from work, tired, and boyfriend has a big pan of this ready for me. Simple flavours yet so belly warming yummy! Revived & Relaxed. Thank You Sarah 🙂

  35. sabrina

    I made this stew, portioned it out into mason jars and froze them. I grab one on my way out the door when I’m running late for lunches at work. A perfect quick, healthy and flavorful lunch! Thank you!

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    This is simply not correct. Fruits, veggies, whole grain, nut products, dried beans as well as oils, many include proteins. Meats in fact has high levels of sodium, fat and salt, particularly in red meat which is not so healthy due to its high levels of cholesterol. Whole grain, nuts, oils, and dried beans in fact onsist of more proteins than in meat products. Your own body requires at least 25 grams of protein per day ,so it is obvious you do not haveto eat only meat to obtain your day-to-day allowance.
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  37. Gudie

    My 3 year old son helped me make this meal. He has been wanting to eat just bread, but he ate 2 bowls of this. Wow! It was super fast and easy to make and even my meat loving husband enjoyed it. Yum. Thanks!

  38. meg

    This recipe was so timely – I had a big bunch of kale and some pre-cooked white beans in the fridge and no idea what to do with it and only 20 mins to cook dinner! You must be my fairy godmother 🙂 Not only that, it was so delicious – even my kids ate it and loved it!

  39. Ketmala Phoumalavong

    Thank you Sarah! I just want to reach through my screen and get a spoonful of your vibrant kale & white bean stew, I am sure it will taste delicious and comforting over steamed quinoa or brown rice.
    Sorry to hear about Whole Living, I just taught a class over the weekend and use their “Dark Chocolate Truffles” for the vegan version, they always offer great healthy recipes.

  40. Jana

    looking simply perfect for a cold winter eve…thanks for this+all the warmth! big hug+goodluck with finalising the (e-)book, waiting+sending tons of positive energy!xxx

  41. rosemike089

    Eat healthy foods and Buy herbal incense to live more healthier. Good and very useful introduction, it will help to a personal who will research this blog page effectively and know what he/she are learning. This would be very useful and through this blog’s useful material, it will be an inspiration to all.

  42. Unknown

    I am distressed about the demise of Whole Living. I’ve subscribed to it from the beginning – when it was Body & Soul. The tone and concept was perfect for me: healthy, green living – but not too serious. I hope a new publication arrises and that you will be part of it.

  43. Lauren

    This looks delicious! I just got a fresh bunch of kale today so I’m going to make this for my 3yr old son for dinner tomorrow night! Thanks x

  44. Louise*Sk

    Kære Sarah

    I love your blog! I’m actually posting an article on you and your TEDx speech tmr 🙂 You’ll be able to check it out on!

    I was wondering if you could tell me what you do (or did) as a living if it’s not blogging. I am super interested in healthy food obviously and am planning on going to CPH next year (I am half Danish half French – I currently live in France). What is your experience in that department and do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you in advance.
    Mange Kærlige Hilsner

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  46. pamela131

    Sarah B, you are my go-to for healthy dinners…so what happens when Whole Living is no more? will we still be able to access your meatless Monday posts via their website? (i hope so!) i try not to print everything to save paper, but i will if i must!

  47. Anonymous

    Sarah! Please remember to let me know if you come to Barcelona (or near BCN) to give a course in 2013!!! Love the looks of this recipe and can´t wait to make it! Thanks!, Kimberly from BCN

  48. Emma

    Hélène, I second you on that. Where is the kale in France? I’m going to buy some seeds when I’m next in the UK and grow my own kale in my garden next year. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  49. asimpleloveforfood

    Sad news indeed. Whole Living Magazine is one of the only magazines I search out on a monthly basis.

    This stew looks lovely, I can’t wait to try it. It’ll help warm me up in this -19C weather. Brrr…

  50. Sasha

    Sad news about Whole Living Magazine.

    I love simple recipes like this. So much brilliance is born out of the ingredients that one has on hand. I’m planning on making this for dinner tonight and adding green lentils.

  51. Hélène

    Sarah, I wish kale were more available here in Paris… But I’ll do that dish anyway. Those recipes are my favourite. I’ve just watched your TED talk and smiled all the way through it. You were uplifting.

    Too bad for Whole Living…

  52. Michelle

    More “boring” humble food please! I made this today—so easy and had everything on hand…added some leftover roast pumpkin and rosemary. I wouldn’t make this without the paprika, it adds such a nice warm background flavour. Thanks Sarah!

  53. juicebox

    This sounds delicious! And so simple….

    But wait – does that mean that all the recipes I have bookarked from whole living will not eb online anymore? Should I save them somewhere else?

    Thank you!


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