Broad Beans with Sautéed Greens and Pumpkin Naan Bread
I'm not sure I can recall another time when we needed to shovel a foot and a half of snow already by mid-November! Ya think if we get a heap of snow on the front end of the season we'll have an early spring? I've given up trying to predict New England weather, but I do know all this cold weather makes me crave carbs. And guess what my friends, that's not always a bad thing!
Carbs, just like fat in previous years, have unfairly fallen out of favor. A quick Google search makes it easy to see why - plenty of confusing headlines about which foods contain carbs, the various types of carbs contained in foods and what carbs do once we eat them.
I want you to get on with making this awesome bowl of beans and greens as soon as possible, so I'm going to hone in on just one aspect of carbohydrates - resistant starch. Like the name suggests, resistant starches "resist" digestion and move through the stomach and small intestine intact rather than being broken down into sugar (glucose). There are four types of resistant starch and beans belong to Type 1 or RS1. Their starch is bound within the fibrous cell walls, including the skins.
Once this resistant starch reaches your large intestine it acts as a prebiotic, feeding good gut bacteria so they thrive. When this bacteria digests resistant starch, several compounds are formed, including gases and short-chain fatty acids - most notable of these is butyrate. [Read more here and here]. Butyrate is the preferred fuel of the cells that line your colon. So by eating resistant starch, you're feeding your good gut bacteria and feeding the cells that line your colon, both of which have therapeutic effects.
Research suggests resistant starch is associated with a number of metabolic health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity, increased satiety so you feel full longer, possible protection against colon cancer, and improved non-REM sleep (restorative phase).
So when we're considering carbohydrates, looking at both the type of starch as well as whether the carbs are simple (reduced to their simplest form through processing) or complex (whole, fully intact, minimally processed) will help guide the decision on what to eat.
Now, back to cold weather and an intense desire to load up on carbs. Brothy Broad Beans and Greens is a perfectly simple, yet nourishing meal. Serving them with whole wheat Pumpkin Naan Bread amplifies their complete satisfaction.
Pumpkin Naan Bread is one of the easiest and most forgiving yeasted breads you can make. They can be made in advance, wrapped and frozen. This also gives you something to use to sop up the scrumptious broth! You will find the recipe HERE. The rest of this post will focus on the Beans and Greens.
So let's get on with the Beans and Greens!
Once you move beyond strictly canned, more legume possibilities are available and are usually much more economical. During one of my culinary internships I was introduced to the large Italian white bean called Gigante. They swell up to about the size of your thumbnail with delicious creamy interiors. They fall into the broad bean category, along with fava beans, butter beans and large lima beans. As with most beans, they're best when soaked for 12-24 hours.
Total Time: varies Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: varies, depending on bean used, amount of soaking and cooking method
Here's what you'll need for 4 servings:
1 lb Gigante or another broad bean
2 large bunches (8 cups) beet greens with stems or other dark leafy green
2 tsp olive oil (optional) OR 2 Tbsp water or veg stock
2-3 large cloves of garlic
2 large bay leaves
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried Greek oregano
salt & pepper to taste
zest and juice from 1 large lemon
1. Put the beans in a sauce pot and cover with enough water to cover 2" above the beans. Cover and soak 12-24 hours, changing the water at least once, but preferably 2-3 times. Why is this important? See note after step 10.
2. Drain the beans, cover with enough fresh water to cover an inch above the beans. Add the dried seasonings, except the salt. Cover and cook over medium heat until they just begin to boil. Immediately reduce heat to low. Gently simmer until tender throughout, adding more water as needed. A gentle simmer will keep the beans intact. If you prefer to make these in an instant pot, follow your manufacturer's directions for dried beans.
3. While the beans are cooking, prepare the greens. If using beet greens or chard, separate the stems from the leaves, wash and drain, keeping them separate. If using kale, destem. Add kale stems to your compost bucket. If your greens are a bit wilted, soak them in icy cold water for a bit while the beans are cooking.
4. Zest the lemon, set aside. Squeeze the juice into a small bowl, remove any seeds.
5. When the beans are tender, add salt & more pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves, keep beans hot.
6. Remove greens from water, drain thoroughly but don't dry. The small amount of excess water will help them cook.
7. Finely chop the garlic, set aside.
8. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Chop the stems first into small pieces, set aside. Roughly chop the greens.
9. When skillet is hot, add the oil (if using) or a Tbsp of water or veg stock. Add the stems first, sautéing for about a minute, then add the garlic and lemon zest, sautéing for a minute more. Last, add the greens and sauté until bright green and tender, 2-3 minutes (depending on what kind of greens you're using). Remove from heat immediately to prevent overcooking. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. To serve, add the lemon juice to the pot of beans, taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Divide the beans between four bowls. Split the greens evenly between the bowls, arranging off to one side. Serve with Pumpkin Naan Bread, if desired.
NOTE: Why is soaking beans for longer periods of time and changing out the water important?
Phytic acid (or phytate) is found in most plant seeds. It's the main storage form of phosphorous for plants to utilize. When nuts, seeds (legumes are seed pods) or whole grains are soaked, sprouting is initiated. Phytic acid will begin to be released in preparation for use by the emerging plant. In humans, phytic acid has both negative and positive effects. On the downside, phytic acid will bind up iron, zinc and even calcium to a lesser extent. There are two types of iron in foods, heme iron and non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is the type derived from plants. It is poorly absorbed and is affected by phytic acid. Zinc is also less absorbed if in the presence of phytic acid. Soaking seeds in several changes of water reduces the presence of phytic acid. Additionally, vitamin C can boost the absorption of non-heme iron. Reducing phytic acid is a particular consideration for plant-based eaters and those with iron deficiencies.
UPDATE: More recent research conducted on Canadian pulses showed only a slight reduction of phytic acid after soaking and a slightly more significant reduction in certain types of legumes (red kidney, pinto, navy and black beans) after cooking. Yet soaking markedly decreased total and soluble oxalates and lectins, and cooking soaked beans reduced these levels even further.
Mix it up!
Some other dried beans to try: (keep in mind, the more color the dried bean has, the darker the broth will be)
Some other seasonings to try:
cumin, ground or seed
coriander, smashed or ground
Some other veg to try:
winter squash (try roasting it like I did HERE)
caramelized, pickled or fermented onion
baked eggplant, cubed
roasted or steamed cauliflower
roasted root veg
sautéed or raw chopped cabbage
sauerkraut or other fermented veg
Some other grains to try (instead of naan bread):
wild rice (not a true grain, but a seed)
burgundy red rice
Nutrition information is for 1.5 cups of brothy beans and 2 cups of raw greens sautéed in 1/2 tsp olive oil.
If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you and your guests liked it! Snap a photo and tag me too, #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!
DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.
NOTE: All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on A Seat at My Table so credit is given where credit is due. Thank you!