Garlicky Great Northern Beans and Broccoli Rabe over Toast

updated Sep 8, 2020
Garlicky Great Northern Beans and Broccoli Rabe over Toast
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Credit: Aubrie Pick

My take on Heartland author and chef Lenny Russo’s wonderfully satisfying bowl of beans and bitter greens amps up the garlic and uses the rich bean cooking liquid instead of stock. I love serving these beans over toast to make it a meal. 

Joe Yonan’s Cool Beans is Kitchn’s September pick for our Cookbook Club. See how you can participate here.

Garlicky Great Northern Beans and Broccoli Rabe over Toast

Serves 6


  • 2 cups

    dried great Northern beans (may substitute navy, cannellini, or other white beans), soaked overnight and drained 

  • Water

  • 1

    onion, studded with 12 whole cloves 

  • 2

    large carrots 

  • 1 (3 by 5-inch) strip

    kombu (dried seaweed) 

  • 3

    bay leaves

  • 3 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil 

  • 1 large bunch

    of broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 6

    garlic cloves, finely chopped 

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more to taste 

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper 

  • 6 thick slices

    rustic sourdough bread, lightly toasted 

  • 1 tablespoon

    chile oil (optional) 

  • 1/4 cup

    vegan or traditional Parmesan, grated or shaved 


  1. Combine the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring the beans to a boil. Let then boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat so the beans are at a bare simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can cook the beans, water, and aromatic vegetables in a stovetop or electric pressure cooker: Bring to high pressure and cook for 17 minutes if using a stovetop model or 20 minutes for electric. Let the pressure release naturally, then open.) 

  2. Discard the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves and strain the beans, reserving all of the cooking liquid. 

  3. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Stir in the broccoli rabe and sauté until very tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the drained beans, 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, and the salt. Cook just until the beans are hot and the flavors have melded, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, taste, and add more salt if needed. 

  4. Divide the toast among shallow serving bowls. Drizzle with the chile oil, if desired, and spoon the bean mixture and broth on top. Finish with the Parm and serve hot. 

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes by Joe Yonan, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Credit: Courtesy of Ten Speed Press