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Boiled Greens with Lima Beans

June 30, 2010

Photo courtesy: Joseph Knight

Boiled Greens with Lima Beans. Georgiaberry at Sunshine for Dinner: The Farmer’s Market That Comes To You asked me to write a recipe for her market site using summer ingredients available to her clients. After a couple of failures–one of flavor and one of texture–I worked up the recipe below. A resounding hit with my taste tester, I rarely have been prouder of a creation. I strongly urge you to try this one:

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) dry Lima beans
  • 1 medium field tomato, diced as small as your knife skills will allow
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (approx. 20-25 stems) finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small lime, halved crosswise
  • 4 cups (32 oz.) vegetable broth
  • 8 cups fresh dinosaur kale*, rinsed and stemmed (approx. 1 large bunch)
  • 8 cups fresh flat-leaf spinach, rinsed and stemmed (approx. 1 large bunch)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cotija cheese**, crumbled coarsely


Preparing the beans: In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pot, soak the beans in 6 cups of water for at least 5 hours or overnight. After the soaking, drain the beans and cover again with 6 cups of fresh water. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for 30 to 45 minutes or until desired texture is reached. Any foam that forms on the water’s surface should be spooned away and discarded. Salt may be added to the cooking water after 25 minutes. Do not drain.        

 After the beans are set to soak: Combine the tomato, onion, cilantro, garlic, oil, and oregano in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add the jalapeño, a little at a time, stirring and tasting after each addition to make sure you don’t add too much. Slowly squeeze 1/2 the lime over the bowl, again stirring and tasting as you go. Finally, add salt and pepper in the same way as described above. Cover and set aside to allow the flavors to meld.        

Photo courtesy: Joseph Knight

During the cooking of the beans: Pour the broth into a large, non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil. Add the kale and cook for 12-15 minutes. Add the spinach and cook 5 minutes more or until all greens are tender. Do not drain.  

Serving: Using tongs or a fork, evenly divide the greens among three bowls. Spoon beans over each helping of greens.  Top each serving with the tomato mixture and sprinkle each generously with cheese. Use the remaining 1/2 lemon to add a freshening squeeze of juice to each bowl.        

Serves 3       

Note: The cooking water of the beans should be discarded, but the broth can be strained and poured into a container and stored in the freezer. Use it to enrich the cooking water the next time you make pasta or rice.        

*Dinosaur kale can also be found under the names Tuscan kale, black cabbage, cavolo nero, and laciniato.         

**Cotija cheese is a sharp, salty white grating cheese that softens but doesn’t melt when heated. Look for it in Hispanic markets. Substitutes:   Parmesan OR Romano OR anejo cheese OR feta cheese OR nutritional yeast. – Cook’s Thesaurus      


Photo courtesy: Joseph Knight


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