Pan-fried Corona Beans & Kale Recipe

Love these - white beans pan-fried until they're golden, with kale, Parmesan, lemon, walnuts, and nutmeg.

Pan-fried Corona Beans & Kale

The other day I found myself in the basement of San Francisco's Anthropologie store. I'd fallen for the rose & tuberose solid Frazer Parfum on my way down, and was at the base of the grand staircase, looking at starlight rings and beaded necklaces, when a pretty lady, sitting with her daughter, smiled at me. A few minutes later she asked if my name was Heidi, and she said she knew me from my site - this site!...

I'm so glad she said hello. It turns out we have quite a number of things in common, and I'm sure we could have talked about cooking, or photography, or places to visit for hours. Her daughter was a sweet pea and very patient with us. Anyhow, I feel like I left the house looking for a pair of black ballet flats, and ended up making a friend instead. It turns out she has a site too- and as I was looking through it, this lemon kale pesto with nutmeg jumped out at me. I had some beans soaking at home and decided to somehow weave the beans and the lemon kale pesto idea together.

Pan-fried White Beans and Kale

I deconstructed the kale pesto, and didn't end up chopping it finely (or pureeing it). In the end, the whole thing was very similar to one of the recipes I included in Super Natural Cooking - but at the same time, remarkably different. Because of the toasted walnuts (I didn't have pecans on hand) and the hint of nutmeg, an entirely different flavor profile developed. The fresh lemon zest and juice, added for the finale, tied all the flavors together in an unexpected, complex, and offbeat way. If you've been a fan of that SNC recipe (page 152), give this version a try, and take note of how a few little ingredient tweaks can make such a huge difference. Don't leave out the nutmeg. Dare I say I like this one better?

Thanks for the inspiration Jessica. I'm so glad our paths crossed.

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Pan-fried Corona Beans & Kale

A few notes related to the recipe - be sure to wash the kale well, so you don't end up with grit in your beans. I use dried beans (that I've cooked myself) here, and would highly recommend using them over canned beans - they brown up better and are less likely to go to mush. I used giant corona beans, but you could use runner cannellini, or something similar. I like the white beans because they take on a lot of color in the pan. Alternate recipe - I'm confident you could do this preparation with gnocchi (don't boil the gnocchi first) in place of the beans.

1/2 bunch / 6 oz / 170 g dino kale or lacinato kale, remove stems

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 - 3 big handfuls of cooked large white beans (see head notes)

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup / 1 1/2 oz / 45 g walnuts, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
scant 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup / 1/2 oz / 15 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Finely chop the kale, wash it, and shake off as much water as you can. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in the widest skillet you own. Add the beans in a single layer. Stir to coat the beans, then let them sit long enough to brown on one side, about 3 or 4 minutes, before turning to brown the other side, also about 3 or 4 minutes. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the outside.

Add the kale and salt to the pan and cook for less than a minute, just long enough for the kale to lose a bit of its structure. Stir in the walnuts and garlic, wait 10 seconds, then stir in the nutmeg. Wait ten seconds and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and serve dusted with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 2 - 4.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

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I’m not a vegetarian but since discovering your site I’ve realised that delicious meals can be made without meat. I’ve tried many of your recipes with great success, and even my husband, who likes his meat, loves them. My daughter and her son are both vegetarians, so instead of wondering what on earth I can give them, apart from boring nut cutlets, your site has given me many ideas.
But, I digress. I tried the pan-fried corona bean recipe tonight. I’m not sure what corona beans are (I’m from the UK). I used dried butter beans, soaked them for 9 hours, then cooked them. Pan fried the cooked beans as per the recipe and did everything else. The beans were tough and chewy, although the taste of the kale with the lemon, garlic and toasted walnuts was wonderful. Maybe I used the wrong type of beans and the pan frying made them become tough, or did I not soak them long enough – I don’t know.
Anyway, thanks for giving me the inspiration to start cooking again.


I love this recipe – I’ve cooked it three times already!
However, I’m having trouble thinking of something to pair it with and would love any suggestions. Crostini is ok, but (for me) it starts to be a bit starch heavy that way.
Any ideas?
Thanks for such a wonderful blog!


Wow – this is the first time I’m cooking kale and beans and what a treat! Thank you so much for a great and easy recipe!


Oh, I meant to ask about quick soaking beans too… Has anyone tried that method yet, and did it work?


I doubt I’ll get a response before I have to cook dinner for company tonight, but this is the perfect last minute side dish to incorporate into the meal so it’s worth a try. I was going to cook crispy kale for a starter, so it would be nice to tie that into the meal…
Anyway, my question… Obviously, I haven’t any soaked beans on hand, so can anyone else tell me about their canned bean experience? Is it worth it to still try it, or should I just pick something else to make? My grocery store has a weak bean selection too, and it seems that people have done it with garbonzos and others, were these canned? And did the dish come out OK?
Thank you!


mmmm, this is exactly what I fancy for dinner with my collard greens that are patiently sitting and waiting in the fridge for me! Thanks!


so seriously good! mmmmmm

judy sims

Stumbled upon this recipe and it intrigued me. I must say that even after having to sub regular lima beans as we are a bit deprived of “exotic” ingredients in Idaho. This is a wonderful filling meal that I will be having again and again….Thanks so much for sharing


Tried this with big limas to great effect. Delicious! Leftovers tasted great served on toast the next morning for breakfast.


Just made this dish and it was amazing! I couldn’t find the Corona Beans, but I got the Cannellini beans and it worked perfect!
Very filling! THANKS!

Nicholas Chrzan

Oh, it’s also eaten by the handful by my 18 month old daughter!!


Love it! My midwife told me to try cooking kale for its calcium, and this fits the bill perfectly! The only thing I did substantially different was saute a thinly sliced onion before adding the beans. I also couldn’t get giant white beans in my small local store, so small white ones had to do. But I got dried and cooked them, so they were still pretty good. Excellent recipe – DH approved it for the rotation!


This is a great recipe. I made it with spinach instead of kale b/c I couldn’t find nice Kale. It was delicious.


Wow that looks great, I can’t wait to try it out!


no dish is as delicious as this one. Eveyone wants me cook for them A BIG THANX


This inspired me to make something similar. I used garbonzo beans, spinach, a rather large shallot, and then 1/8 t each of ginger, all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, curry powder, and sage. I tossed in a small handfull of golden raisins and added lemon juice. My garnish was pine nuts, though. It was amazingly rich and warm. Sooo good! Eating leftovers today and my coworkers are jealous!


What a sweet story. I’m dying to try this. It looks delicious!


I just made this for lunch (with the gnocchi option in place of beans) and it is fantastic. Great flavors and a wonderful variety of textures. I love it. It really elevates store-bought gnocchi. Thank you!


Oh, and I’m a Vegan, so I left the cheese off. Still, sooooo delish!


This was so delicious, I want to make it again tomorrow night!


this looks so good! I have never heard of corona beans… where can we find them?
Also, i’ve been searching for other organic heirloom dried beans… do you know of any places selling these? Thanks!


Looks absolutely delicious, and very healthy. Thanks!


This is a perfect meal – so wholesome and filling but abundant taste. Beans and greens is a long time Italian combination. It’s rainy here today and I can’t wait to put this on the stove.

Tammy McLeod

This looks really delicious.


Thanks for sharing this recipe I ‘m trying to keep to a rule where I make something new 2 times per week. This will be tomorrows dinner.


Oh, I took this as a starting point the other night and ended up with a bit of wonderful green freshness in my bowl. It all started with a heaping pot of broccoli cooked just beyond crisp tender. I coarsely chopped in food processor with your flavor notes–nutmeg, lemon olive oil, walnuts, parmesan, sea salt and cracked pepper. It was divine, thanks for the inspiration!

Michelle T.

Wow, that recipe looks very tasty and I think it is nutritious because of the different spices added to it.
The only green food that I tasted that looks like this is the Tuna Pesto. I would love to try making this lovely dish but I don’t know where to find dino kale or lacinato kale.
For me, spices are essential when it comes to food tasting and aroma, It adds an extra spice every time you smell and taste any dish especially when the spices have a very unique spice rack.

Spice Rack

What an appropriate time to tell you about my recent trip to SF and surrounding areas… I printed off your posting on sites/restaurants/stores to see in SF, and I was secretly hoping I’d run into you! The trip has been amazing. Thanks so much for all the inspiration you have provided in your cookbook and blog. I’ve become a healthier eater because of it!


Oh…this is really, really tasty…perfect contrast of sweet and savory…chewy and soft with a little crunch from the nuts…wow. I used pecans instead of it! thanks Heidi.


Heidi – When I read your blog, I wonder when I am going to run into you around SF! Love the blog and your photos. You are such an inspiration. Do you use any special lighting for your photos?
HS: Hi Lauren, Thanks! I don’t use any special lighting – just available/natural light.


My mom just bought 3 extra bunches of kale. Im going to use it to make this recipe. Thnx for sharing!


I feel like I should start this: “Hi Heidi, great to be on the show. Long time listener, first time caller.”
Anyway, I love any recipe that measures food in “handfuls” and “bunches” as it’s exactly how I like to cook! Probably the reason I love cooking but feel absolutely helpless when I bake…
Your chocolate puddle cookie recipe has been on my mind for awhile, though. Right now I’m just scared I’d eat the whole batch so I’m waiting for an event to bring them to. Thank you, thank you!


Made a version of this last night with garbanzo beans, kale, and slivered almonds. Nutty and buttery textures, yum! Thank you for being a consistent source of healthy recipes that widen my cooking repertoire; inspirational.


I made this for dinner tonight with the gnocchi. I boiled the gnocchi first for about 3 or 4 minutes. I put it into the hot oil, browned it on both sides, and added the garlic to it for a minute or so before adding the kale. I thought it needed something else, so I tossed some really ripe small tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper. At the table mixed those in, and ate–yummy. I didn’t think there was enough flavor from one lemon and the nutmeg for the kale….without the tomatoes and acids.

Brenda Monroe

Made this today, and it came out great and was super easy to put together. You know I’m a nut for the original version. This one is nearly equally as good, and super easy to put together.
I might try it with some breadcrumbs sometime … just one more crunch element. Kind of like @Dana Slatkin’s comment above about walnut oil.
Used RG Alubia beans. Love how lightly cooked the kale came out.
HS: Oooh. I haven’t tried it (or any variation) w/ the Alubia’s….I think you’re onto something with the crunchy breadcrumbs. That is one of the elements I love so much in the NOPA beans. Well, that and the oregano pesto…

jen maiser

I just realized there is not any beer in this recipe, lol. What bean could be used in place of corona beans?


Kale is such an underrated vegetable, and so versatile. Ever the adventurer, I can’t help but wonder what effect a splash of walnut oil would have had on the mixture. Thank you for sharing – This one sounds like a keeper!

Dana Slatkin

Heidi, the contrast in your photographs is always so beautiful–your pictures make even the simplest dishes look lush and exotic.


Oh it’s so easy to fall in love at Anthropologie! Usually it’s love at first sight too 🙂
Nice simple dish. Great blog.

Levinson Axelrod

Recipe sounds delish, but the shop is absolutely fantastic! What a shame it’s sooo far away from where i live (Madrid, Spain)!!


Where do you get all of your fabulous dried beans? My grocery store has nothing but the basics — I might have to mail order from Rancho Gordo.
I am hoping to grow some of my own this summer though…


Just made this, used the gnocchi, it was excellent.


Still with the comfort food!! Gorgeous, but not cool enough here in Oz just yet!


Kale is my new obsession! Love it!!! Looking forward to trying this


It’s funny to me that I may be the only person to find 101 Cookbooks through Seaweed Snacks rather than the other way around. Jess is certainly worth reading, so glad that a chance encounter has increased traffic to her beautiful blog, and now I guess you’re one up, too!


Chance encounters are wonderful. As is this recipe. Love beans!

Jenn (

I will be trying this soon.

The Food Hunter

i’m soory i wrote pasta instead of (beans) i meant the pan-fried corona beans was delicious and successful.


pan corona pasta is one of the very delious pasta.i tried it and it was very successful.


What a perfect recipe to land in my inbox today, being the last day of summer here on the northern beaches of Sydney I am looking forward to making some warm comfort foods. And what a lovely story too – meeting like minded people and talking excitedly about shared passions is SOOO good… Thanks for all the amazing food ideas – really love (as do my kids) Nikki’s healthy cookies. I really appreciate the amazing things you do with vegetarian food – it is a great resource and one that I pass on regularly to our customers and cooking school participants. Many thanks!!

Sam Mackie

yum…i love bean dishes…that looks so good!


I love the look of those huge white beans. Nothing more satisfying. This looks so delicious.

Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa

I’ve made something very similar from your Super Natural Cooking made with Rainbow Chard. I always use dried cannellini beans since I cannot find the giant coronoas locally.
It’s – a HUGE favorite of mine… I prefer using beans to gnocchi for nutritional value (and my figure thanks me). Can’t wait to try this version – soaking the beans as I type 🙂
As always, many Thanks to you Heidi


I’ve had browned beans on the brain of late, but no idea how to pull them off. Thanks for the tips!


Wow, this recipe is completely delicious! I’m trying to not eat the whole pan before my partner comes home! I didn’t have kale so I split the greens: 1/2 dandelion, 1/2 collards. Thank you!

kristen dilley

Your blog is an inspiration to make and eat beautiful, healthy food. I love it! So much that when prompted, I had to give it a Happy Cupcake blog award…even though I doubt you have many cupcake recipes on here!


That’s such a sweet story–I, too, always find good stuff at Anthropologie.
I was inspired by an old chickpea recipe of yours to make pan-fried black lentils once, and I’ll definitely be trying this recipe too. What interested me most was how quickly you cook the kale. I always give it much more time to boil, but I can’t wait to try it this way.


This recipe looks fabulous! I’m putting it in my CSA file. I recently made your Kabocha French Lentil Soup using no salt except some low sodium veggie broth and just a little olive oil. (We’re on a low fat, low sodium diet). Anyway, the soup was fabulous w/layers of flavor.

Mary McManus

Another great recipe!! Can’t wait to try this one out!

Nichole Brink

jessica is a dear friend and an amazing chef!! i am so thrilled to her on your beautiful blog!


I actually had most of these ingredients and just made this. So delicious! My 1 year old and I are fighting over who gets more…
I did use canned cannellini beans so they went a little mushy but still fantastic!


I’m always on the lookout for new kale recipes and can’t wait to try this. I love the idea of nutmeg and lemon seasoning. Your recent posts have been so great for winter eating!

A Rockridge Life

Heidi, looks very good . I am about to go and make it now. I’ve got a bag of baby kale from the Sunday farmers market and fresh lemons straight from the orchard yesterday so it is very timely for me. Wii have to use tinned beans though, can’t wait to cook my own. Reminds me a bit of your Lemony chickpea stirfry which is a frequent favourite.


I think it’s hilarious that the ad under the recipe is for Papa Jon’s.


Thank you Heidi! Thank you everyone! What a great conclusion to a great encounter. It is really wonderful to meet a lot of you over at my blog. I am appreciating today how food brings us together in the kitchen and in our hearts. Feeling especially inspired and grateful today; thank you thank you.

Seaweed Snacks

Kale NEVER looked better. Your site is amazing. Thanks.


This looks delicious and oh so healthy. Where do you shop for your foods?

Entertaining by Evie

I’ve just arrived home from work, was wondering what to cook with my recent grocery shopping, read your post, i have everything.. job done!!
Thank you Heidi for your never ending inspiration and answer to all my foodie needs! Cant wait to make dinner!!

Liz B

I bought some Corona beans at Williams-Sonoma, but they seem to take forever to cook–even after I soak them overnight, they never get very creamy. Any suggestions?

Flash Tarbell

I am a great fan of the ‘”crusted” bean recipe. You inspired me this week to go to a Rancho Gordo bean that I found at Bi-Rite–the Good Mother Stallard bean. I cooked them simply as the RG people suggest and they were wonderful. Tonight, I am going to re-use the cooked beans in this new recipe. Thanks so much.

Duff in San Francisco

This sounds scrumptious. I’m an experimenter, so I’ll try Swiss Chard rather than the specified of kale. Chard has a milder taste, and more may be needed than the specified amount of kale. You might try collards. I’m allergic to both walnuts and lemons, so I will use pecans and limes,

David Teague

Anthropologie brings ‘good things to life’! And now greens n beans…my favorite combo.


Hi Heidi,
This looks so delicious! Thanks for always inspiring!
I have a fresh shipment of Rancho Gordo Beans, and I think they’ll go well in this dish, oh, with polenta too!


Wow, how cool to meet another food blogger, especially when you’re just out and about, minding your own business. I for one would be terrible at recognizing someone from their photos alone – so you could walk past me and I’d never know. This dish looks delicious.


It is great that blogs allow us to meet so many like minded persons, and it is really fantastic that this led to your real life meeting. Such a sweet story, miles away from what being a ‘celebrity’ usually means!
Thanks also for the kale recipe: I really like it, but there is only that many times you can eat plain kale without getting bored.. Any new twists welcome!


OK, yum.
Must make this.
Oh, and now you made me want to go shopping at Anthropologie too!

Nora from in. Wellness

Wow, this looks amazing! Thanks for sharing it, I can’t wait to try it.

Jenny Sansouci

Using a pesto-type sauce to flavor beans is a great idea! Your chopping the pesto a little coarser than traditional pesto recipes for this bean dish makes good sense to me too.
In fact, the idea of pesto as a flavoring can be used in a lot of other recipes than pasta too, now that you’ve got me thinking about it.


Gotta love kale recipes…you always find a fabulous way to include it in every dish…love this recipe..Thanks Heidi!

The Healthy Apple

I have made this from your book and it is outstanding. The beans come out creamy on the inside and crusty on the outside. My kids and some of their friends polished off a whole batch as a snack using their fingers. I stocked up on corona beans last year when they went on clearance at Williams-Sonoma (originally $13), but have not found any since. They are expensive, but they are the most fabulous beans.


Somehow it seems appropriate that while reading a story about unexpected meetings, I should unexpectedly see a comment from a fellow expat I’ve recently met online!
Kale is quite popular here in the Netherlands and as I love beans of any sort, this has turned out to be the perfect dish to go with my dinner tonight. Can’t wait to try it! I always add nutmeg to spinach; it makes perfect sense to add it to kale, too.


The kale in our yard just keeps going… and going… and going…
I put it in just about every dish!


This looks heavenly! It’s always fun to learn about a new bean!


I didn’t think there was a bean out there I haven’t tried, but you found one! Always on the lookout for a reason to buy dried beans…thanks…

Rocky Mountain Woman

I love kale and I am always looking for more ways to incorporate beans in my diet.
Your blog also has me wishing I had more places to go shopping for food. Luckily the farmer’s markets will be opening before I know it, so I won’t be as tied to my humdrum supermarket.


I have just discovered kale and have fallen in love with it… spinach may get jealous, but there’s room for more than two deep green leafies in my life… that being said, this recipe looks very interesting and a good addition to a meatless day’s menu, but… isn’t the garlic a bit bitter when it is added without a bit of taming in hot olive oil? I’m just asking before I commit to making it the first time…

Susan@The Spice Garden

hm, this looks delicious. I have a weak sopt for beans. yum!


Gorgeous recipe – kale and pesto are two of my favourite things so I’m very happy to see this. Feel sorry for your new friend’s daughter, though. Who wants to be described as a ‘sweat pea’ in a cooking blog? 🙂
HS: Wow. That’s what I get for posting while cooking dinner. Thanks for the catch Mouse.


This looks great, I plan to try it in a few days. I love the way you cook and the ingredients you use. Last week I tried your Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh, and loved it. I would love to repost it on my blog, linking to you and giving you credit of course. Would that be ok?


oh wow! this looks so amazing! I love the idea of large beans and kale, my favorite! I cant’ wait to try this!


so cool to run into somebody with similar interests, tastes, and thought processes. I just checked her blog, and she seems to be so much like you. Cheers on your new friendship.
on the recipe note, I love it when I find a way to use kale. I like to incorporate it in the cooking for its nutritional benefits, but often find myself running out of ideas on how. So, thanks a ton to you and Jessica.
Jessica, in case you are reading this, I love your site, and will be visiting it regularly.


what a wonderful story. i love chance meetings. this looks delicious and i’m intrigued by the addition of nutmeg. as i am gnocchi obsessed, i will have to give that variation a whirl too!

braise & butter

what a wonderful story. i love chance meetings. this looks delicious and i’m intrigued by the addition of nutmeg. as i am gnocchi obsessed, i will have to give that variation a whirl too!

braise & butter

Awesome recipe! Since I no longer eat cheese, I’m always on the lookout for a seasoning to add extra flavor to my beans ‘n’ greens dishes. I added some of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning to my last batch, and everyone loved it! It’s in a grinder, so can be added easily at the table.
Can’t wait to try the gnocchi variation! Thanks!


Great story and delicious recipe!

Simply Life

Very cool to make friends when you least expect it!
Beans n Greens is one of our favorite meals and this version looks extra tasty! I really like the addition of the walnuts.

christie @ honoring health

This looks great. Kale is one of my favourite veg, too.


Great! I just bought Kale, to use in a green smoothie.
Did I just admit that?
In any case, I love all the components going into your recipe, and I feel healthier just looking at it; it’s a must-try.


I LOVE giant beans. I’m Greek and we eat them a lot! I’ve never tried them with kale before. I sure am gonna give it a go. Looks great!

my little expat kitchen

What a cool story – sounds like you two were meant to meet! This recipe looks lovely – I might try it with spelt pagodas. By the way I made a lovely version of the Pounded Walnut Pesto you had on here a while back – I added some cavalo nero and it turned out great. Thanks!

Joe @ Eden Kitchen

I just discovered your blog and LOVE it. I’m always looking for inspiration in the kitchen. This might seem like a silly question but do you soak and cook the dried beans before putting them in the pan?
HS: Yes, soak and cook the beans first. 🙂


omg i LOVE kale pesto. i’ve never tried it with lemon, but obv it would be amazing. love your dish. glad that you found inspiration from a lovely coincidence.


I don’t think I’ve ever tried corona beans. Will be on the lookout for them.
FYI, I’ve been a loyal follower for years and you have hipped me up to plenty! I was thrilled to meet you briefly last year at the IACP Conference in Denver and appreciated your encouraging words when I mentioned I wanted to start a food site. You are an inspiration for many.
HS: It was great meeting you as well Andrea.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

That’s a really great story. And I love the way you describe Anthropologie. My dream job (I think… It’s really hard to know) is to design their stores someday, and make them look just as poetic as you make this one sound.
I wonder if I would recognize you if I saw you in the real world. I hope so.

Satpreet Kahlon

So awesome to meet a friend! Andddd…get a new recipe!


I think it is so neat that you met a fan at Anthropologie. I hope to meet you in person one day too!
This looks like a wonderful, flavorful and filling bean dish. I love the plumpness of the corona beans.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

What a sweet story, and the beans & kale look great. At first glance, I thought the beans were gnocchi!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

Thanks so much for listing the alternatives. It is a huge help to those of us who are tied to recipes in the kitchen!


This looks so good and comforting! I love the story behind it too!!


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