Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice

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Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice - a simple yet flavorful meal for those busy weeknight dinners. Made with wholesome everyday ingredients, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free but doesn't skimp on flavor.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 mins

As much as I love making gourmet recipes and challenging my culinary skills, I also love simple meals like this Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice. When I’m not eating leftovers from recipe testing (which, to be honest, is very often), I gravitate towards fuss-free meals like this.

Plus, this meal is healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and has no added oils, but it’s still creamy and flavorful. Best of both worlds!

Oh, and if you are into easy and quick and healthy desserts, then you have to try my new No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars! After posting those on Instagram, about a dozen followers sent me photos of their remakes within 24 hours. So, yes, easy recipes seem to be a real winner around here!

Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice

Why this recipe will become your new go-to weeknight dinner 

Easy. This recipe is so easy to make that even the most beginner cook can make it! Plus, you likely already have most of these ingredients in your pantry!

Quick to make. Including prep time, the beans and kale take about 30 minutes total. And during that time, you can have the wild rice cooking. You can easily cook the wild rice in your Instant Pot or on the stove before starting on the beans and kale.

Wholesome. This recipe is packed with plant protein and fiber, and is vegan, gluten-free, and has no added oils. It’s the kind of nourishing meal you can eat every day of the week!

Creamy. Despite being wholesome, these beans get so creamy and dreamy, so it feels like a comforting hug in a bowl.

ceramic bowl on pink backdrop with creamy white beans and kale served over wild rice

Ingredient Rundown

Cannellini Beans. They are one of the creamiest beans that are widely available in canned form. I absolutely adore them. If you cannot find them, you can substitute another white bean, but the end result won’t be as creamy.

If you also love cannellini beans, my Creamy White Bean and Kale Soup with Gremolata is a must-make!

Aromatics. I opt for my go-to onion + garlic combination, and the softened onions pair nicely with the creamy sauce. I also add fresh thyme, which brings a subtle woodsy yet floral, sweet yet peppery taste.

Lite coconut milk. The lite coconut milk enhances the natural creaminess of the cannellini beans and turns this into a delightfully saucy dish.

Miso paste. A little white miso paste goes a long way towards boosting the savory flavors in this dish. Typically, I rely on building a lot of flavor in savory dishes through sautéing aromatics in oil, but since this recipe is oil-free, I wanted to amp up the flavors in another way.

Tomato sauce and tomato paste. The tomato sauce helps thicken the sauce up a bit, while the tomato paste brings a concentrated tomato flavor. Both ingredients also help tame the coconut flavor of the coconut milk, so that this recipe doesn’t taste like coconut (I promise!).

Lacinato / Tuscan Kale. To bring in some extra nutrition, I throw in a generous amount of shredded kale. If you find it hard to incorporate leafy greens into your diet, this creamy dish is a great way to “sneak” them in.

Wild Rice. I serve the creamy white beans and kale over wild rice, and wild rice’s earthiness is a nice complement to the creaminess of the beans. Plus, the heft of the wild rice gives this plant-based dish a substantial feel, making it feel like a hearty main course.

Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice

How to make Creamy White Beans and Kale 

If you follow my recipes, you know that I am definitely not oil-free, as I think oil is often necessary to achieve the right texture and to bring out certain qualities in food. For instance, it’s crucial in browning vegetables, as well as creating light and fluffy cakes.

That said, I am totally open to experimenting with oil-free cooking where possible. And I made a special effort to keep this recipe oil-free because I get a fair amount of requests for oil-free recipes.

Typically, I would sauté the aromatics (in this case, onion, garlic, and thyme) in a bit of olive oil, but here the use of a nonstick pan + salt + water to make oil unnecessary.

First, dice the onion and mince the garlic and fresh thyme leaves.

Then heat a deep nonstick pan over medium heat. Once the pan has heated up, add the diced onion (no oil) and cook for just a minute. Add a bit of salt to help release the natural moisture (and flavor) from the onions. Then, to prevent onions from burning, add in the water. That way, the onions get cooked in a hybrid sauté/steam method.

Typically, I do love to get some browning on the onions to maximize flavor, but there is plenty of flavor in the rest of this dish that I felt comfortable with this method. Of course, if you prefer to cook with oil (or don’t have a nonstick pan and are worrying about it burning), I’ve included a modification in the recipe.

Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice
Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic and fresh thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes. Since garlic burns easily, make sure you toss it around frequently (especially important when not using oil).
Then add in the coconut milk, miso, tomato paste and sauce, beans, spices, and seasonings. Stir well to combine, then add the kale. Adding the kale afterwards enables you to evenly coat every bean in the saucy mixture before you add several large handfuls of kale in there. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes until thickened and creamy.
Serve over your cooked wild rice!
Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice

Tips for Making this Recipe 

To keep things efficient, start cooking the wild rice before you cook everything else. There are stovetop and Instant Pot instructions for wild rice in the recipe below.

While cooking wild rice doesn’t require much work, it does have a relatively long cook time compared to most grains. It’ll take about 45 minutes depending on your cooking method. So if you want to keep dinner under 30 minutes, you have a few options

  • (a) use another grain with a shorter cook time (e.g., farro or quinoa)
  • (b) slop these creamy beans on top of a hearty whole grain baguette or a baked sweet potato!

dinner flatlay on pink backdrop with creamy white beans in a bowl and beans on toast

Substitutes for this Recipe

Wild Rice. As mentioned above, you can serve the creamy white beans over any grain you like, but I really liked it over wild rice. If you want to use wild rice but it’s a bit too earthy for your taste, try a blend of wild rice and brown rice.

Coconut Milk. If allergic to coconut, you can try another creamy plant-based milk, such as cashew milk or oat milk. Just be sure to use the unsweetened + plain variety.

Miso paste. If you don’t have miso paste, you can add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and/or a teaspoon of tamari with a tablespoon of tahini.

white bean kale stew in white bowl on pink backdrop

That’s all I have to say about this easy yet flavorful recipe for Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice, so I hope you’ll enjoy it! If you make it, be sure to leave me a comment below with your feedback and tag me with your recreations on Instagram!

Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice

5 from 11 votes
Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice - a simple yet flavorful meal for those busy weeknight dinners. Made with wholesome everyday ingredients, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free but doesn't skimp on flavor.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten-free, no added oil, nut-free, vegan
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (~180g) wild rice (I used a wild rice + brown rice blend)
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) vegetable broth or water for Instant Pot method (use 3 cups (710 mL) vegetable for stovetop method)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) water*
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 (13.5-ounce/400 mL) can “lite” or reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 (15-ounce/440g) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot or sweet paprika (not smoked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (add more to taste if you want it spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to season
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 6-8 cups (400-540g) shredded Tuscan (lacinato) kale, tough stems removed

Instructions

  • Make the Wild Rice (Instant Pot method):Add the wild rice and 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and select the Pressure Cook/Manual setting for 25 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release and drain off any remaining liquid.
  • Make the Wild Rice (Stovetop method): Place the wild rice and 3 cups of vegetable broth in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and cover. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until the kernels have burst open. Drain off any remaining liquid.
  • While the rice is cooking, make the Creamy White Beans and Kale. Heat a deep nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and a pinch of salt and stir together for 1 minute. Then add the water and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion softened and the water is mostly evaporated.
  • Add the garlic and thyme leaves to the pan. Stir frequently for 2-3 minutes to prevent the garlic from burning.
  • Stir in the coconut milk, miso, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cannellini beans, cumin, paprika, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and coat all the beans in the sauce. Then add the kale and stir again to incorporate.
  • Bring the bean mixture to a simmer. Continue to cook at a simmer for 10 minutes until it has thickened and is creamy.
  • Serve the beans and kale on top of the cooked wild rice.

Notes

*If you don’t have a nonstick pan or want to sauté the aromatics in oil, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, and once hot, add the onion. Cook until it has softened and is lightly browned.

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39 comments on Creamy White Beans with Kale and Wild Rice

  1. Annalisha

    Any thoughts on subbing out for a soy free miso?? Never used one before.

  2. Karina

    This was delicious! I’m in love with this recipe! Omitted paprika because I didn’t have any other than smoked. Also used regular coconut milk and asparagus because that’s what I had on hand. I’ll definitely be making this at our dinner parties!

  3. lindsay

    this was so good!! my three year old wanted to eat three bowls of it.

  4. Bo

    Made this tonight and it was so so good! Such an easy, hearty, delicious recipe. I also added some lime juice at the end and it was the finishing touch. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  5. April

    5 stars
    Love this dish! I make it once a week. Fast and easy and the left overs are great cold!
    Thanks for all your hard work! And love the new site design :)

  6. Ali

    5 stars
    I just made this and OMG it’s so good. I doubled the miso paste and it’s just…*chefs kiss*. Thank you for putting these recipes out, they have helped me tremendously during my transition to fully vegan

  7. jackie

    5 stars
    one of the best recipes ever. My husband likes it cold in a wrap the next day. The wild rice goes perfect with it. Have made it so many times now and put into jars to give to my children who are not vegan but also love it in wraps and sandwiches.
    Thanks for a great web site as i have made so many of your recipes and they always turn out great.

  8. Jen

    5 stars
    Rice and beans is my favorite and this was so good. I loved that the kale stayed a little crunchy in there. This was quicker for me than the recipe said since my wild rice cooked much faster. Definitely a keeper.

  9. Becca

    5 stars
    This is delicious!! I made it on a Sunday for weekday lunches. The flavor is wonderful. I will definitely be making it again.

  10. Kirsten Vogel

    5 stars
    My whole family loves this dish so much!! The flavors and creaminess of the beans impress even the meat eaters! This is definitely a go to meal from now on.

  11. Regina

    5 stars
    As dinner yesterday night, we loved the food. I added some leftovers (sweet potato), we ate it with leftover bulgur and it was delicious, I will make this more in the future for sure!

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