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

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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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,

Anthropologie brings 'good things to life'! And now greens n 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!

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

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 always find a fabulous way to include it in every this recipe..Thanks Heidi!

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...

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...

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?

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