Lemony Greens on Garlicky Beans

February 6, 2014 | By | COMMENTS

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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And a new dish enters my rotation.

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Categories: Beans, Recipes

  • Marcy

    Two things I love about TJs – 1) the frozen packets of brown rice – three minutes in the microwave and it’s perfect and 2) their sea salt turbinado sugar dark chocolate covered almonds, which should just be called “love” because that is what they taste like.

  • http://theroserecord.blogspot.com/ Katie Rose

    Looks so good! But I was always told to not salt white beans until the end or they get mushy. But maybe that was just for dry beans, not canned. I’ve never understood the aura of TJ’s either.

  • Deanna

    In addition to the cheap wine, I happen to love Trader Joe’s for coffee, cheese, crackers, nuts, and olive oil. I mostly love Trader’s because it is always in my budget.

  • Agent Strong

    Inexpensive wine and cheese, good frozen items (including fish), a limited but decent selection of meats, good bread, inexpensive vitamins and toiletries — really, what’s not to like? Oh yeah, the parking.

  • olga

    Man, Trader Joe’s… So much to love: much cheaper butter (so i stock up); their chocolate covered almonds with sea salt are amazing. Unsalted/raw almonds are terrific… I always have a vacuum sealed pouch of steamed lentils de puy in my pantry – great dinner in a pinch. Their regular olive oil is perfect for every day cooking. Cheap coconut milk. I miss living x the street from that store :( You meal sounds perfect, healthy, and fast!

  • http://dianeabroad.com/ Diane, A Broad

    Those are my two favorite things from TJ’s too! Weird.

  • Marcy

    I am also a broad, so there’s the third thing.

  • WendyR

    I heart Trader Joe’s. I can’t afford to frequent Whole Foods or farmers’ markets. At TJ’s, I feel good about the things I’m buying, and the people are always pleasant – polar opposite of shopping at Ralph’s, which I loathe. Trader Joe’s has reasonable prices, good produce, and a limited selection of good things instead of and endless sea of mediocre. I’m sure your dinner was tasty, but it suspect Trader Joe’s will inspire way more comments than the cooking this time. ;)

  • tunie

    lol…

  • gloria

    Trader Joe’s is part of the Aldi discount supermarket chain which was started many years ago in Germany. Aldi traditionally has such rock bottom prices that even Walmart couldn’t compete with it here and was forced to quit. Of course today Aldi is getting some stiff competition of other discounters here and suddenly it is bringing Trader Joe’s products into its shops. Kind of funny. Today’s ad lists Trader Joe’s Cashew Peanut Mix for 1.49 euros along with TJ’s Muffins for 1.39.

  • GailBV

    I too have not understood the lure of TJ’s, though my friends all swear by it. I was starting to think that it was mostly packaged food, not really a go-to place for people who like to cook. And I have been wary of those packaged up produce selections – bananas look weird in bags! Anyway, this looks good though… I’m going to try it!

  • Ali

    Sounds awesome! I love TJ to round out my regular shopping. Love the snacks and great deals on tortilla chips (“less guilt” in the red bag =the bomb) and the giant tub of tahini free hummus is amazing and inhaled in days at our house. Yummy ice cream treats, too.

  • Erin Lee

    i will definitely be trying this!!

  • Jheyen

    Okay, in an hour I’m going to try this recipe. Fingers are crossed, and I will let you know the results. Couldn’t find a bag of those mixed veggies, so I bought fresh and did the chopping. Oh, and we will add Parmesan.

  • aqua6

    We make something like this often, especially in cold weather. Sometimes I add bacon chopped up or pancetta. Gives it fat and salt and another texture to the dish.

  • aqua6

    We make something like this often, especially in cold weather. Sometimes I add bacon chopped up or pancetta. Gives it fat and salt and another texture to the dish.

  • aqua6

    We make something like this often, especially in cold weather. Sometimes I add bacon chopped up or pancetta. Gives it fat and salt and another texture to the dish.

  • Jheyen

    Aqua6 is spot on… It needs bacon! My wife liked it, and I liked it, but it lacked something… bacon.

  • Ttrockwood

    What a delicious meal!! Love this!
    And TJ’s has awesome prices for organic foods. Try their tempeh crumbled and sauteed for a taco filling. The lambrusco is amazing ($6!! Buy two!) and the “sweet red” wine is a nice fruity light red that’s great with veggie dishes like this ($7 or so)

  • Anonymous

    I love white bean dishes, so thank you for this one. Also, I had no idea you could get a “bag o’ crucifery” from TJ’s. Nice tip. This recipe strikes me as a little bit one-note. I would probably add some tahini for richness, pickled peppers for some bite, then balance the acidity with sweetness (honey) until it is right.

  • Linda Mathieu

    I used to doctor up Pork and Beans in a similar way-chopped bacon fried until almost crispy, chopped onions fried in the bacon fat, pour in the beans, add a little mustard, ketchup and garlic salt. I loved them but haven’t done that in years. I need to look at what has been added, if there are a lot of additives.

  • teacher2511

    Those tortilla chips and salsa you buy at Trader Joes……Same as Aldi’s, different wrapping is what I was told. The meat TJ sells is organic, where Aldi’s does not have that option too often, albeit in the “Fit and Healthy” selections. I have found the frozen flounder @ Aldi’s ( 4 fillets in one resealable package) are fished out of US Waters. (Instead of Farm raised tilapia from China) that’s raised in basically “shit water” We eat beans and greens at least twice a week. The combinations are endless. Thanks for sharing. I wish Aldi’s carried the “cruciferous mix” you have pictured. That sounds so good! Collards and Butter beans, Steamed kale and baby limas…Both are really good!

  • teacher2511

    Those tortilla chips and salsa you buy at Trader Joes……Same as Aldi’s, different wrapping is what I was told. The meat TJ sells is organic, where Aldi’s does not have that option too often, albeit in the “Fit and Healthy” selections. I have found the frozen flounder @ Aldi’s ( 4 fillets in one resealable package) are fished out of US Waters. (Instead of Farm raised tilapia from China) that’s raised in basically “shit water” We eat beans and greens at least twice a week. The combinations are endless. Thanks for sharing. I wish Aldi’s carried the “cruciferous mix” you have pictured. That sounds so good! Collards and Butter beans, Steamed kale and baby limas…Both are really good!

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    I love those almonds, sadly our Aldi’s does not typically have them in stock, or I am pretty sure they would be a TJ product as well.

  • teacher2511

    Reconstitute dry beans, much better for you and typically they do not get mushy.Not to mention you can do an entire bag in one day, separate into quart freezer bags and freeze until you need them. That’s how we roll.

  • teacher2511

    It is Deanna, very moderate prices and quality food. if you have an Aldi’s local, give it a whirl. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised by the quality and taste of their products. (Kirtland ?, Fit and Healthy) The butter (real) is outstanding, The turkey breast roast they sell frozen is to die for. It just melts in your mouth.

  • teacher2511

    Aldi’s brand coconut milk tastes just like you’re putting heavy cream in your coffee or tea. I do prefer TJ’s brand of evaporated milk.

  • Heather Clark

    Throw in some chopped tomatoes and pancetta, and top with breadcrumbs and pecorino Romano.

  • Heather Clark

    Throw in some chopped tomatoes and pancetta, and top with breadcrumbs and pecorino Romano.

  • Heather Clark

    Throw in some chopped tomatoes and pancetta, and top with breadcrumbs and pecorino Romano.

  • Anonymous

    The one improvement I would make is to use freshly picked greens instead of store bought, packaged greens. http://wp.me/p44c6k-xnb