Main dish

Greens and Beans recipe

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My version of a cherished Anna Jones recipe. The smash is mostly made from coriander (heads up to all the haters). It's an unusual and delicious topping for this lovely bean stew.

  • Prep20m
  • Cook25m
  • Total45m

This recipe is based on Anna Jones’s Black-Eyed Beans with Chard and Green Herb Smash, which I’ve been making ever since A Modern Way to Cook came out in 2015. The original recipe is beautiful but I bulk it up, adding black beans, a tin of tomatoes and extra greens (cavolo nero). My version doesn’t quite resemble Anna’s light and fresh stew (it’s certainly less pretty) but I love it this way and it yields a lot of leftovers.

Anna champions black-eyed beans and I nearly always include them but black beans work well too, either in combination or on their own. Use whatever you have in your cupboard.

One of the comments on the recipe reads:

“Incredible dish — and the first time ever I have loved black-eyed beans. Their chalky texture suits this dish perfectly — and the herb smash lifts it to heaven.”

I couldn’t put it better myself. The stew is perfectly good on its own - I know this because someone once finished off the herb smash while leaving some stew - but I could never make the stew without the smash; they’re partners in deliciousness. The smash is coriander-heavy so if you have that gene that makes coriander taste like soap then this probably isn’t the recipe for you.

We eat this dish with pitta bread or sourdough and, as with most stews, it tastes even better the next day.


This recipe is based on the version that appears in A Modern Way to Cook, which omits cinnamon from the stew and parsley from the smash.

I zest the lemon in case I don’t get enough of a lemon flavour from the juice alone. I add the zest to taste and don’t usually use all of it. This way I don’t have to use a second lemon if the stew isn’t quite lemony enough.

I decrease the raw garlic in the smash and add more garlic to the stew.

The original recipe makes use of the water that the beans are soaked in. Sometimes my beans are salted so I drain them and add fresh water instead.

Kale and spinach are good substitutes if you don’t have chard or cavolo nero.

Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 48 hours and I’ve successfully frozen both the stew and smash.

Recipe credit

A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones.


Greens and Beans

  • Prep20m
  • Cook25m
  • Total45m
Serves: 4



  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 large leek (or 2 small ones)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder (I use Marigold bouillon)
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder (or more to taste. I use deggi mirch)
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tin of black-eyed beans (400g)
  • 2 tins of black beans (800g)
  • 200g rainbow or Swiss chard
  • 200g cavolo nero, stalks removed
  • juice from half a lemon
  • black pepper
  • salt

Herb smash

  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 2 green chillies
  • 40g shelled walnuts
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (I sometimes use honey)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from half a lemon
  • large bunch of coriander leaves and stalks (around 50g)

You will need

  • A food processor to make the herb smash


  1. Stew: Zest 1 lemon using a fine grater and slice the lemon in half. Set to one side.
  2. Wash 1 large leek thoroughly to get rid of any soil and slice into 1cm rounds. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large saucepan (I use a 6 litre pan) and place it over a low to medium heat. Add the sliced leek and stir.
  3. While the leeks soften (which takes around 10 minutes), peel and chop 4 cloves of garlic, add them to the saucepan and stir well. Once the garlic just starts to colour, add 1 tin of tomatoes (400g), 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock powder, ¼ teaspoon of chilli powder and ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
  4. Drain 1 tin of black-eyed beans (400g) and 2 tins of black beans (800g). Add to the saucepan along with 250ml of cold water.
  5. Slice 200g of chard (leaves and stalks) and 200g of cavolo nero leaves (stalks removed). Add the greens to the saucepan and stir well. Simmer for 10 minutes until the greens soften.
  6. Herb smash: Peel 1 small clove of garlic and deseed 2 green chillies. Add to a food processor along with 40g of shelled walnuts, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from ½ a lemon (the one zested in step 1). Process until the walnuts break up then add a large bunch of coriander (around 50g) and process until the ingredients combine.
  7. Stew: Squeeze the juice from the remaining ½ a lemon into the stew and add a pinch of lemon zest. Season with black pepper and taste the stew. Add salt and more lemon zest if needed (I don’t usually need to add salt). Divide the stew into deep bowls and top with a large dollop of the herb smash.

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