SHOCKING ADMISSION: Until a few months ago, I had never even heard of greens and beans. I’m a Northern California foodie, dammit, and where I come from, leafy greens are never subjected to boiling or braising. So when Earp made greens and beans the first time, I was leery. Turns out — and may I just say, this is how it usually turns out — my California food prejudice was totally misplaced.
Greens and beans (essentially, greens braised in broth with white beans and various seasonings) are delicious, low-calorie, high-nutrient and pretty filling. Still, they don’t quite make a meal. This recipe from Eating Well, however, does. Plus it’ll make you look like a fancy cook for almost no effort. Dumping cans of food into a skillet never tasted so good.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 16-ounce package gnocchi
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 small bunch), spinach, mustard greens or kale
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
- 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add greens and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
*Earp taught me that the beans are better if you crush them a little first, so try that.
HELLO VEGANS: Sadly, this recipe is hard to veganize. That’s because gnocchi traditionally contains egg. Packaged vegan gnocchi does exist, if you don’t mind shopping online… or you can make it from scratch. The cheese is easier to deal with: Personally, I might try substituting Tofutti cream cheese or vegan sour cream, but vegan cheese would be good too.
Photo: Ned Raggett