Tuscan Beans and Greens

The warm, creamy white beans and deliciously sautéed greens will definitely recharge your batteries. One of the longevity players here is kombu, a sea vegetable that has tremendous amounts of iodine, along with phenomenal anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant characteristics. As a bonus, it also makes beans more digestible. Because the beans are high in fiber, they help regulate blood sugar, so you’ll be able to chug through the rest of your day with contentment in your belly and no crankiness on your countenance.

Prepare ahead: Soak the beans in cool water for 8 hours or overnight before cooking; this will make them more digestible and decrease the cooking time. 

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

BEANS

2 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 leaves fresh sage
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup dried white beans, such as great northern beans or cannellini beans, soaked, rinsed, and drained
8 cloves garlic
1 (6-inch) strip of kombu
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt

GREENS

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, slivered
Pinch of red pepper flakes
8 cups stemmed and chopped dark leafy greens, such as rainbow chard, lacinato kale, collard greens, or escarole, in bite-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water, bean cooking liquid, Magic Mineral Broth, or store-bought vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly grated organic Parmesan cheese (optional), for serving
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

To make the beans, put the rosemary, sage, and thyme in a small pieces of cheesecloth, gather the corners, and tie with kitchen twine to make a bouquet garni. Put the beans in a saucepan and add water to cover by 3 inches. Add the bouquet garni, garlic, kombu, olive oil, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and skim any foam from the surface. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until tender. Start testing the beans after 45 minutes; when they are tender but still a bit firm, stir in the salt. Check the beans occasionally to see if more water is needed. During the last 15 minutes the beans will soften quickly; test them often to ensure they don’t overcook. (If you plan to store and reheat the beans, leave them ever so slightly undercooked.) With a slotted spoon, remove and discard the garlic, kombu, bay leaf, and bouquet garni.

Meanwhile, make the greens. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden, about 20 seconds. Add the greens to the pan, along with a pinch of salt. Sauté until the greens are wilted, about 4 minutes. You may need to add the greens in two or three batches, waiting until one batch wilts down before adding the next. Stir in the water and tomato paste, cover, and simmer until the greens are tender but still green, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste; you may want to add a bit of salt. To assemble the dish, stir 2 cups of the beans into the greens. (Store any leftover beans for another use.) Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Variation: Crunched for time? Instead of cooking dried beans, use 1 (15-ounce) can of great northern or cannellini beans, drained, rinsed, and mixed with a spritz of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.