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One-Pot Dinner Idea: Lemony Braised Beans and Greens

one-pot dinner idea: lemony braised beans and greens

Serves 6 to 8

Gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free

This flavorful one-pot dinner idea for lemony braised beans and greens, aside from being incredibly delicious and easy to make, is a nutritional powerhouse. Food should satisfy and delight but the right foods can also nourish and heal. Plant-based foods supply essential vitamins and minerals, along with protein, complex carbohydrates, and just enough of the fats we need. This scrumptious stew was developed for a class I taught on cooking for iron and calcium, two things people often worry about when thinking about transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. It's an example of how we can make simple meals that taste great and still get the nutrition we need.

In this dish, iron-rich cannellini beans mingle with calcium-rich collard greens, while the addition of tomatoes and red bell peppers contributes the vitamin C necessary for aiding in the absorption of plant-based iron. Sweet potatoes add notes of creaminess along with important fiber and essential vitamins. While this recipe doesn't call for serving it over a cooked grain, a scoop of steamed brown rice or quinoa would be lovely! This stew is great for feeding family and friends–and the leftovers taste even better!


1 large onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt (or adjust to your taste)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, grated or minced to make about 1 tablespoon

4 cloves garlic, minced/pressed/grated

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

2 cups vegetable stock or water

1 (15.5-ounce) can of crushed or diced tomatoes

1 bunch collard greens, thick stems removed, cut into bite-size pieces

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

2 (15-ounce) cans of cannellini beans (approximately 3 cups), with the liquid from one can


  1. Cook the onions and pepper in about 2 tablespoons of water over medium-high heat in a large pot or straight-sided pan for about 3 minutes until they start to soften. Sprinkle with salt and add more water to prevent sticking, if necessary, while cooking.

  2. Add the ginger, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne, and cook a few minutes more, until fragrant.

  3. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, collard greens, and sweet potatoes and mix well. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes start to become tender.

  4. Add the beans with the liquid from one can, and let simmer, uncovered for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend and the sweet potatoes to cook fully. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust salt and spices if you like. When done, the collards should be "army" green, not bright green, as this indicates they're nice and tender.

  5. Serve immediately.


  • Cutting board

  • Knife

  • Peeler

  • Measuring cups & spoons

  • Can opener

  • Grater

  • Garlic press, optional

  • Large pot or straight-sided pan

  • Spoon for stirring

Nutrition Notes*

Collard greens are nutrient-dense, low in calories, and especially rich in calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health. Just 1 cup provides almost 30% of your daily requirement for calcium. They're also high in fiber and antioxidants. Cruciferous vegetables, which include collard greens, may have protective effects against cancer, too.

Sweet potatoes are wonderfully nutritious, packing a good amount of vitamins A, C, and manganese into each serving. They also have anticancer properties and may promote immune function and other health benefits. The fiber and antioxidants in sweet potatoes can be beneficial for gut health.

White beans are a nutritional powerhouse, as they’re packed with fiber and protein and are a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, folate, magnesium, and vitamin B6. When you think about bone health, don't just consider calcium– magnesium is another mineral that may play a supporting role when it comes to treating and preventing osteoporosis and you can find it in beans!

*Sources:,, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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Mar 07
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Very good and very healthy. Even fun to make when I wasn't feeling well. (Did I miss the amount of lemon somewhere? I ended up adding juice of half a lemon, but that probably wasn't enough.) Anyway, thanks. Cindy C.

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