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Tuscan White Beans & Kale

Tuscan White Beans & Kale

This Tuscan white beans & kale dish is for the serious lover of kale. It is full throttle all the way – in a strangely mellow and soothing way. For me this is total comfort food.

This dish is best when you make the beans from scratch. But if you are pressed for time you can of course use canned beans. You’ll just have to modify the recipe a bit by skipping the part about preparing and boiling the beans.

If you cannot find Tuscan kale, sometimes referred to as palm kale, you can use the more commonly available curly kale. Just be aware that the texture and flavor will be slightly different.

And as for what type of beans to use: I like to use cannellini, navy beans or great northern beans for this dish but flageolets and baby lima beans would also work. If you are unsure about the cooking time of different kinds of dried beans I have written a great little article on that subject. You can find that article here.

Because I simply adore this combination, I have taken this Tuscan white beans and kale dish one step further and combined it with some lovely fettuccine. You can find that recipe here.

alt="white beans and kale served with sourdough and extra chili flakes on the side."

Tuscan White Beans & Kale

Dea Zoffmann
A dish for the serious lover of kale.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry white beans, pre-soaked (see note below) cannellini and navy beans both work
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 yellow onion peeled but left whole
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 500 gram (1 lb) palm leaf kale


  • Drain the pre-soaked beans and combine them with the water in a large pot.
  • Stick the whole cloves into the onion and throw it into the pot with the beans along with the thyme and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the type and the age of the beans. Skim off any foam that rises to the top during the cooking process.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the garlic is soft and has taken on a bit of color, but be careful not to burn it or it will go bitter. Remove from heat and mash with a fork.
  • When the beans are done remove the onion and bay leaves and discard; then add the roasted garlic, chili flakes and the kale. Cook for another 5-ish minutes until the kale softens. Season to taste with a generous amount of salt and pepper and stir in the nutritional yeast. Serve with crusty sourdough bread and additional chili on the side.


Dried beans need to soak in plenty of water for at least 8 hours before cooking. However, there is a quick-soaking method you can use in a pinch. It goes like this:
Put rinsed and sorted beans in a pot and cover with cold water by at least 8 cm / 3 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat and leave the beans in the hot liquid, covered, for 1 hour. The beans are now ready to be cooked according to your chosen recipe.

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