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Chef John's Beans and Greens

Rated as 4.76 out of 5 Stars

"Beans and greens has it all: it's very easy and inexpensive to make; it's highly nutritious; it's soulful and comforting; and it can be served as a main course, side dish, soup, vegetable stew, or my personal favorite--as an appetizer. This is my new favorite home version, and uses delicious, beautiful escarole."
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35 m servings 203 cals
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until bubbling and sizzling, about 20 seconds. Pour in chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes.
  2. Stir in beans; bring to a boil and cook until you can see the tops of the beans just below the surface of the liquid, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in oregano, lemon zest, and anchovy filet. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Place escarole in bean mixture; reduce heat to low and stir until escarole wilts, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; garnish with red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil.


  • Editor's Note:
  • Chef John serves this with his Parma Crisps.
  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 203 calories; 8 g fat; 24.8 g carbohydrates; 7.8 g protein; 4 mg cholesterol; 1007 mg sodium. Full nutrition

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  1. 74 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

Excellent recipe as is. I chopped up 4 slices of bacon and sauted them until light brown. Used the rendered fat with less olive oil to saute the garlic and 1 chopped onion. At the end I added 1...

Most helpful critical review

This was not bad but not great either. Both my husband and I thought so. Will try another recipe.

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Most positive
Least positive

Excellent recipe as is. I chopped up 4 slices of bacon and sauted them until light brown. Used the rendered fat with less olive oil to saute the garlic and 1 chopped onion. At the end I added 1...

"I grew up eating my family's escarole and beans but never wrote down a recipe. Sorry mom but this recipe is better than yours! I rarely say that! :-o) Do NOT omit the anchovies; they're include...

This went over really well with my family. I cooked my own beans instead of using canned. My anchovy did not fully break apart so I would recommend mashing it some before adding it to the soup...

These are delicious!! I didn't have an anchovy fillet so added an extra pinch of salt but it really didn't need it. I added a big pinch of red pepper to while cooking and an additional pinch t...

O.M.G. DELICIOUS!!! The best soup/stoup I've ever made. Only tweek was I added a small minced onion and cooked that with the garlic I minced as well (via the food processor) till onion was soft....

John You have no idea how much you have improved meal time at our house. Your recipes are simple but profound and very delicious. I love anchovies but had some honey baked ham I had to use up, ...

This is the most delicious greens recipe I have ever tasted. I am using turnip greens. In the last month we have had it three times. The lemon jest adds just the right amount of snap and the u...

Chef John I've enjoyed playing with this recipe! This time, I rendered nitrate free bacon. After removing the bacon from the pan, I removed the fatty parts and chopped the lean pieces to add la...

Loved this although I did modify it a bit to be totally vegitarian by leaving out the anchovy and using vegitable boullion instead of chicken. I needed a new way of using escarole instead of the...