Sausage, Chard, and Cannellini Beans

So much chard (or kale) and here right now, lettuce beginning to bolt. But we waited a long time for this abundance and are glad to have lots of fresh greens to eat. Unlike a rabbit or a wood chuck, however, I like my greens cooked, and with so much to do in summer, I really welcome a quickly assembled one pan supper.

Well, it is almost one pan. This dish calls for cannellini beans and since I grew my supply, I need to soak and cook them but you could keep a handy can of cannellinis in your pantry to open when the mood strikes to use them. Otherwise, soak and cook up a cupful of dry beans to give you enough to use. The sausages cook on the grill.

Quantities for this dish can be pretty elastic to match the supply of greens and the number of persons eating it. I thinned my chard patch and aimed, for each serving, for a bunch of chard big enough to fill the circle made by wrapping my thumb and fingers around the bunch. If kale is what you have, or spinach, or even extra mature lettuce, by all means, use those instead of chard. All greens wilt down to a very modest pile when cooked, so be generous while picking or purchasing.

Suit your personal taste with onions, garlic, basil, red pepper, salt and pepper or whatever you prefer for seasonings. In the recipe below, if you are serving more than three people, add more onion and garlic. Instead of grilling the sausage and serving it alongside the greens, you can chop it and cook it in the pan to which you add the greens, where the meat will flavor the dish. I did a little of each. We have a new grill and Toby is in love with it, so we grill everything we get our hands on these days, hence grilled sausage.

The beans make this dish a one pot meal, in my opinion, turning the greens into a substantial item and giving it a pleasing texture. Cannellinis strike me as a very smooth bean, almost creamy, a pleasant contrast to the greens. Keep a can of cannellinis on hand to sprinkle into or onto salads, to mash up with minced garlic, a dab of pesto or tapenade, and olive oil as a spread on cracker or baguettes. Use as many in this recipe as you want, aiming for about a quarter cup per serving.

Sausage, Chard, and Cannellini Beans
  • Sausage, Chard, and Cannellini Beans
  • Sausages
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 1 bunch of chard, per person, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • Basil and/or oregano and red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup cannellini beans, per person
  • Balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat a grill or a frying pan and start cooking the sausages.
  2. Dribble olive oil into a large skillet or heavy bottomed pot
  3. Add the onion and heat over medium until the onion is translucent, and then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the shredded greens, salting and peppering lightly between additions.
  5. Allowing them to cook slightly then tossing them until they are all wilted.
  6. Add the basil or any other seasoning you prefer.
  7. Sprinkle and toss the beans into the greens.
  8. Add a dribble of balsamic to the pan, and serve with the sausages.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.