Abra Berens' greens + bean pot licker

Abra Berens' greens + bean pot licker

I tend to love greens and broccolini cooked just enough that it doesn’t feel raw but is still a bit crisp. Not here. My friend Erin Stanley turned me on to cooking broccolini with some pasta cooking water until it is just about to fall apart. Swap pot liquor for pasta water and here we are. Feel free to add some pork or anchovy if you like, but honestly, I don’t anymore. –Abra Berens 

Featured bean: Cannellini

Other beans to try: Cranberry, Baby Butter, Classic Flat White

Take 'em from dried to cooked with our guide

 Print recipe here



  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion (about 8 oz [225 g]), thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 2 bunches broccolini (about 1½ lb [675 g]), ends trimmed and stalks cut into 2 in [5 cm] pieces
  • 1 bunch mustard greens or other hearty greens, such as kale or collards (about 8 oz [225 g]), rinsed and cut into 1 in [2.5 cm] ribbons
  • 1 cup [200 g] boiled beans
  • 2 cups [500 ml] bean pot liquor (from a previous bean session)
  • 2 Tbsp [30 ml] vinegar, any variety (optional)


In a large frying or sauté pan, heat 2 big glugs of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic with a big pinch of salt and sweat until soft, 7 minutes or so. Add the broccolini and hearty greens and toss to coat.

Add the beans and their pot liquor. Increase the heat to high to bring to a boil, then lower to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, until the broccolini and greens are just about to fall apart, 15 to 20 minutes. If it starts to get dry along the way, add a bit of water.

Add the vinegar if the dish needs a bit of pep.

Serve with bread to soak up the liquid and several gratings of any hard cheese, if you like.


Excerpted from Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes by Abra Berens with permission from Chronicle Books, 2021. Photographs © EE Berger.

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