Polenta with White Beans and Kale

This is one of our favorite recipes! We got the original recipe from Lidia Bastianich and modified it to make it easier and faster to prepare on a weeknight. Lidia uses dried beans and cooks them for nearly an hour, but we found that using canned beans is just as good and doesn’t require as much time or effort. This meal can be made in roughly 30 minutes – and it’s healthy and delicious!

Polenta with White Beans and Kale


  • ¾ cups Polenta
  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock (or water)
  • 1 Garlic Clove, smashed
  • Sprig of fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Fontina cheese, shredded
  1. Combine in a pot: ¾ cups of polenta, ½ t kosher salt. Add 3 cups chicken stock slowly at first while stirring ( to prevent lumps).
  2. After combining the polenta and stock add garlic, fresh thyme, and bay leaf.
  3. Cook until polenta is tender and thick about 15 – 35 minutes (depending on coarseness of polenta) stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if needed.
  4. When polenta has reached desired consistency add butter and stir until melted.
  5. Add fontina cheese until well blended. Season as needed with salt.

White beans and Kale

  • ¼ lb Bacon
  • 2 bunches Tuscan (lacinato) kale, or 1 large bunch regular kale, stems removed, chopped into 2 inch squares
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Fontina cheese, shredded
  1. Dice the bacon, and heat it in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook the bacon until it renders its fat and starts to become a little crispy. Add the kale, and a couple tablespoons of water, and a pinch of salt. Cover.
  3. Simmer until the kale is tender. Tuscan kale will take about 5 minutes, regular kale will take longer.
  4. Add the beans and stir.
  5. Cook with the lid off until the beans are warmed through and the kale is moist, but not wet.
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Serve over polenta. Sprinkle with Fontina cheese.

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