20-minute kale-pesto beans

20-minute kale-pesto beans

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These wholesome beans in a bowl look as if you stood over a hot stove and cooked! I used curly kale to get the beans as green as they are and to add an earthy, fresh flavour. The salty bread chunks are the perfect vehicle for mopping up the sauce and beans, and toasting the sesame seeds before making the salt will give you more bang for your buck. This is the perfect recipe to throw together just before loadshedding hits – all you need to do is boil some water in the kettle before lights out. This recipe makes a little extra pesto, which is sublime tossed through pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes.


  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 20 g sesame seeds
  • 100 g ciabatta, cut into large cubes
  • 4 large leaves kale
  • 10 g basil, plus extra for serving
  • 10 g parsley
  • ½ cup grated Woolworths hard cheese, plus extra for serving
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 x 400 g can cannellini beans

Cooking Instructions


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1. To make the sesame salt, blitz salt and sesame seeds in the blender until a fragrant powder forms. Toss the bread cubes/chunks through the sesame salt and put aside until ready to use.

2. Wash the kale well and place in a bowl. Pour boiling water onto the leaves and allow to tenderise for 5 minutes. Squeeze the leaves to remove excess water and place them in a blender with the herbs, hard cheese, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, seasoning and garlic. Blend until smooth.

3. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, then place in a bowl. Spoon over the green kale paste and stir through gently. Transfer the “green” beans to a serving plate, top with the salt-dusted chunks of bread, and scatter over the remaining basil and cheese.

Chef’s tip: Use the remaining sesame salt as a versatile vegetable or salad seasoning. You can even sprinkle it over eggs for a nutty, deeply savoury flavour.

Photograph: Shavan Rahim
Videography: Romy Wilson

Check out our beans recipe guide for more great beans recipes.

Khanya Mzongwana Recipe by: Khanya Mzongwana
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If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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