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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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!!

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.

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!

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!

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.

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


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!! x

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

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