Trader Joe’s has always been a mystery to me. People love the place, they start to cheer when one opens up in their neighborhood, but I’ve always been stumped by what to buy there. I’ve done well with trail mix (because it tastes more like candy), and it’s nice to get a decent bottle of wine for not a lot of money. But until yesterday, I’d never made a dinner from Trader Joe’s ingredients that I’d be eager to make again. Yet there I was–there’s one downstairs from my gym–and I wanted to make a healthy dinner so I bought a can of white beans (a pretty safe purchase), a bag of cruciferous vegetables (including kale), a lemon and a bottle of white wine. And the dinner that I made was so stupendous, I’ve just gotta tell you about it.
The dinner was a riff on something that I ate in South Carolina (featured in my last post) that was more of a white bean stew with greens on top. Here, I made less of a stew and more of a sauté.
Here’s what I bought:
And here’s how I proceeded. In a non-stick skillet, I poured in a glug of olive oil, turned up the heat and added half a yellow onion chopped (I had the yellow onion already) with a pinch of salt. As that started to cook down and become a little brown, I added 3 cloves of slivered garlic. Meanwhile, in my cast-iron skillet I added another glug of olive oil and a few more cloves of slivered garlic and turned up the heat:
To the pan with the onions, I added the drained can of white beans and a pour of the white wine I was drinking (doesn’t matter which kind, though dry is better than fruity), a pinch of salt and some pepper and turned up the heat to a simmer. To the pan with the sizzling now-golden garlic, I added half the bag of cruciferous vegetables and a pinch of salt:
You should stir those vegetables around pretty quickly so they get coated in the garlic oil. Then allow them to fry/char on the hot pan as it heats up, continuing to stir, until they begin to wilt a bit. Meanwhile, when the beans are nice and thick take a taste and adjust for salt and acidity.
At the last second, with the vegetables, add a big squeeze of lemon juice and stir that in. Taste that now too for salt and acidity.
To plate, scoop the beans into a bowl and top with the greens. It’s that easy. A dusting of Parmesan would be nice or some toasted garlic bread crumbs, but if you’re keeping it healthy, this is all you need to be happy.
And a new dish enters my rotation.