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Any Beans and Any Greens—MIND Diet Style

Any Beans and Any Greens—MIND Diet Style

By Robert Israel, M.D.
USA Health Integrative Health and Wellness

This recipe is as it says – any combo that you have in the fridge and pantry. It is one I go to often as a cornerstone of the MIND diet and any plant-forward diet. I usually try to save leftovers, so I can have a serving on toast with hummus or a soft egg the next morning. Eating greens and beans every day requires a plan! 


  • 1/4-1/3 cup or more EVOO
  • 1 small onion, or ½ large onion
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (optional)
  • 10 ounces more or less of spinach, chard or other greens
  • 1 can garbanzo or other beans, rinsed
  • Salt, pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)


  1. In a large heavy pot, pour olive oil and place over medium heat. Add chopped or julienned onion and thyme, if using. Saute until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Then add greens in bunches, turning frequently and adding more as wilting takes place. Once all greens are wilted, add the rinsed beans and turn, cooking 5-10 minutes more or less depending on the greens. Heavier greens take longer (kale, collards, turnip greens) and lighter less time (spinach, chard).
  3. Taste for salt and pepper, add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice if you desire, and enjoy.

This is great as leftover, and it can be added to other greens after they have cooked. It is also good with whole grains, like farro, brown rice and with whole-grain pasta.

Note also, with this skeleton of a recipe, you can change any ingredient to taste. Any allium can substitute for the yellow onion. Red onions add a little tang. Garlic adds sweetness, and scallions and/or leeks are a great choice as well. Each of those changes the flavor just enough to keep it interesting.

Garbanzos are great, but any bean works. I tend to stick to white beans because I like the contrast, but black beans and or red beans will work just as well.

Try it different ways and remember your favorites.

This also works very well with small amounts of sausage, leftover chicken or turkey, and if you do this, it can become the main course.

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