Chef John's Beans and Greens Recipe -
Chef John's Beans and Greens Recipe
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How to Make Beans and Greens
See how to make a rustic Italian-style beans and greens recipe with escarole. See more
  • READY IN 35 mins

Chef John's Beans and Greens

Recipe by  

"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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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    25 mins

    35 mins


  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.
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  • Editor's Note:
  • Chef John serves this with his Parma Crisps.

Reviews More Reviews

Jun 28, 2012

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 1.5 tbsp. red wine vinegar and 2 tsp. sugar.

Oct 03, 2012

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. I would also recommend that you reduce the stock until you like the flavor as this will be the main part of the soup. Not all stock has the same intensity. My only real change is that I used spinach instead of escarole. This soup came out great and I would make again.

Jun 11, 2012

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 to the finished product and it was great! served it with fresh French bread which was SOOOO yummy dipped in the juice. will 100% be making this again...and again...and again :D

Sep 18, 2012

"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 included for flavor and you won't taste "anchovy" but you will taste wonderful rich, creamy deliciousness. The only changes I made to this were to add sausage at the beginning before the garlic and to increase the anchovy fillets to three (yes, 3, try it, dare you to!). Thanks Chef John! Amazing!

Aug 02, 2012

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, so that was my protein for this dish. I will use anchovies next time. Keep 'em coming. And thank you. Marjorie

Jul 06, 2012

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 traditional Dutch way of mashing it into hot potatoes. Another reviewer mentioned using turnip greens, I think this would also be wonderful with kale or even spinach.

Oct 27, 2013

We all liked this. I had turnip greens and no anchovies, but I will definitely make this again when I have anchovies. Oct 2013 Second time making, this time using anchovy paste and escarole. I dunno about the rest of you, but it was a quest to find this veggie. I made as stated. After tasting I think more lemon peel and red pepper is in order.

Mar 22, 2014

This recipe is delicious and simple - love it! I really think letting the stock reduce adds a wonderful richness to the soup. I didn't dislike the lemon zest, but it was a bit strong for me. Next time I might leave it out and add a splash of red or white wine vinegar at the end instead. The anchovy, not surprisingly, added great flavor! But will someone please tell me what to do with the other anchovies!?!? They always seem to go to waste. Overall, this soup is definitely worth making and putting in your regular rotation of recipes.


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  • Calories
  • 203 kcal
  • 10%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 24.8 g
  • 8%
  • Cholesterol
  • 4 mg
  • 1%
  • Fat
  • 8 g
  • 12%
  • Fiber
  • 9.1 g
  • 36%
  • Protein
  • 7.8 g
  • 16%
  • Sodium
  • 981 mg
  • 39%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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