Beans and Greens with Shallots, Black Garlic and Cranberries

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 1, 2011

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Fall and the extended holiday season often feature a bounty of roasted meats, it seems, from Thanksgiving’s succulent turkey to a Christmas prime rib, with perhaps more than a few roasted chickens making an appearance throughout the upcoming weeks.

When I’m hosting the family meal, I like to make sure I have a side dish that can stand up to those strong flavors, complement and play off them. As well, it’s nice if that side dish can be a vegetarian option for the non-meat crowd.

That might be asking a lot of a single side dish, but this wonderful Beans and Greens with Shallots, Black Garlic and Cranberries fills the bill, and more. It features fiberlicious cannellini beans and nutritional powerhouse kale, is sweetened with dried cranberries and black garlic, and sparked with fresh garlic and tangy lemon juice.

Black GarlicSay what? Black garlic? It’s a relatively new ingredient available in the produce section of specialty grocery stores (Frieda’s Specialty Produce distributes it). It has a rich, molassesy, fruity flavor with a mild garlic foundation sans the usual garlic bite. It’s jet black and soft, like a clove of roasted garlic, and lends a complex flavor that you can’t quite pinpoint.

Married in the skillet with all its flavorful ingredients, this side dish gets an A+ for umami!

Bush's Cannellini BeansTo create this recipe, I teamed up with Kitchen PLAY and the folks at Bush’s Beans, who asked me to develop a recipe using one of their many excellent varieties of versatile canned beans.

I chose Bush’s Cannellini Beans, also known as white kidney beans, because I love their smooth, creamy, mild flavor that takes well to companion ingredients. They are perfectly cooked and ready for action. I knew I wanted to use the super-food kale, as well, and cannellini can stand up to kale.

The dish has another excellent virtue. It tastes great warm from the skillet, or at room temperature if it has had to sit for a bit.

Greens and Beans in the skilletGreens and Beans

Recipe: Beans and Greens with Shallots, Black Garlic and Cranberries

Summary: A hearty, healthy side dish of Beans and Greens with Shallots, Black Garlic and Cranberries marries cannellini and kale to sweet black garlic and chewy cranberries, with a zingy lemon dressing.


  • Greens and Beans up close1 bunch Lacinato kale (also known as Black Tuscan, or dinosaur or cavolo nero kale)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and finely minced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 4 cloves black fermented garlic (optional), finely minced
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can Bush’s Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Heat a pot of salted water until it boils. Wash kale leaves, remove and discard the central rib, and chop the kale. You should have about 5-6 cups, lightly packed. Add the kale to the boiling water and blanch it for 2-3 minutes. Strain the kale and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking. It should be bright green. Squeeze it with your hands to remove excess water and set it aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the fresh and black garlic and sauté for a minute, stirring frequently.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and add the cooled kale, cranberries, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the beans and lemon juice, and heat through for another minute or two, stirring gently so you don’t mangle the beans. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a pretty serving dish if you’re serving family-style, or portion onto individual dinner plates if that is your preference. Pass grated Parmesan at the table for anyone who wants a sprinkle on top.
  5. Serves 4-6.

Quick notes

If you can’t find Black Garlic at your grocery or specialty store, you can omit it. The dish won’t be quite the same, but it will still be delicious! It is distributed by Frieda’s Specialty Produce (ask your produce manager for it), or you could order it online from the company at

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4-6

Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

I wrote this post and created this recipe as part of a partnership between Kitchen PLAY and Bush’s Beans. They have compensated me for my time and cooking expenses but my opinions are my own.
Bush's button November 2011

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts January 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Dorothy, you are brilliant.


Dorothy January 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Aw….shucks. This is really good…you must make it.


brandi November 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

i have never had black garlic, but i will definitely be looking for it! I LOVE mixing beans with dark, leafy greens. Such a great combination.


Jenn/Rook No. 17 November 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Your dish sounds wonderful and I’m going to be keeping my eyes open for Black Garlic in the grocery store.



Christel Shaw November 3, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I love love love black garlic- how is it that America is so new to it? Embrace and experiment! What about Finger Limes?? The most delicious ingredient this side of New Zealand- Keep a “finger” or an “eye” out – Can be found at our local farmers markets– the next best thing , after black garlic. Thank you D-
xx C


Dorothy November 5, 2011 at 7:02 am

I have been searching for finger limes! Will search harder now that you recommend them!


carolinaheartstrings November 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm

That looks so fantastic. Just perfect for this time of year! Come visit us we have delicious cranberry wontons on the menu.


Carol@easytobeglutenfree November 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

I never would have thought to put the cranberries in this dish but it sounds really good!


Dorothy November 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Those cranberries are just lifesavers when you need to add color and a tiny pop of sweetness to a dish, aren’t they!


Cassy Muronaka November 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm

That looks absolutely fabulous, Dorothy. I am copying it right now.


Dorothy November 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Thanks! It does taste wonderful. Make it!


Jennifer (Savor) November 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

ohhh….never tried black garlic. Love doing the kitchen play with you.


Dorothy November 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

You MUST try it! Like nothing else…very molasses-y and interesting and, of course, delicious!


Cookin' Canuck November 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

What fantastic flavors in this dish! I could easily eat this as a full meal – great vegetarian option. I’m happy to be doing this Kitchen Play SideCar series with you!


Dorothy November 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Cookin’ Canuck,
Thank you! Same back atcha!


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