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Escarole with Cannellini Beans is the perfect side dish. Leafy escarole is boiled, and then sautéed with beans and garlic. The result is a hearty side dish that pairs well with chicken, or eggs, or a delicious  vegan main dish.

escarole beansThis dish is a traditional Italian dish.  I love it because it is easy to make, it tastes great and it is super healthy.   I like to use cannellini beans with their tender yet meaty texture but you could use any white beans.  I buy Eden Brand canned beans which  use BPA free cans.

What Is Escarole

Escarole is green vegetable that looks like romaine but tastes best when cooked.

It is a delicious vegetable commonly used in Italian cooking.

This green leafy-vegetable has a hint of bitter flavor. It is packed with plant nutrients benefiting your health such as vitamin C, vitamin A, B, folate and lots of fiber. When you cook the escarole it shrivels up a lot so you need lots (2 bunches) to make enough escarole for a 15 oz can of beans.

Here is a picture of escarole so you can easily find it in the market.

Since escarole has a slight bitter taste to it, we boil it first. Boiling the escarole will remove any bitter taste, in this escarole and beans recipe, the escarole is not bitter at all.

The combination of the savory escarole with beans, garlic and red pepper flakes makes a delicious dish for any season.

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Escarole with Cannellini Beans

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart


  • 2 large bunches escarole, thick stems removed and chopped into bit size pieces (about 16 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Celtic Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Wash the escarole leaves in a bowl of water to be sure you remove all the soil. The dirt tends to collect at the base of the stems.
  2. Stack the leaves and chop into bite size pieces.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the escarole to the boiling water allowing it to boil for 3-5 minutes until bright colored and tender.
  4. Once the escarole is cooked drain it well in a colander.
  5. Heat olive oil over a medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper.
  6. Sauté until garlic turns light brown, about 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in escarole and beans along with the broth.
  8. Cover with a lid and cook together for about 5 minutes.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish with additional olive oil and red pepper flakes if desired.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.


The amount of escarole listed in the recipe (2 heads of escarole, or 16 cups!) may sound like a lot but once it’s boiled, it will reduce greatly in size and volume.

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