Using spring greens in fresh (and easy) ways

Amanda Skiba/For the Nevada AppealThis recipe from "Dinner: A Love Story" uses kale, a green many cooks are unsure how to use.

Amanda Skiba/For the Nevada AppealThis recipe from "Dinner: A Love Story" uses kale, a green many cooks are unsure how to use.

The other day a wise man - my dentist, Chris Kleintjes - mention that someone must have came up with the name "spring" for this season because around here the weather keeps springing back and forth. "At least that's my perspective," he said. Even if that is not really the reason behind the name "spring," I think from this point forward that's what we should say anyway. As I write this, looking out the window it was very evident as the weather had sprung back to winter, while just the day before was a decent spring day.

With my anticipation of spring and my daydreaming of farmers markets and CSA (community supported agriculture) baskets, I decided to offer you this sausage, bean and kale stew. It's warm and comforting for the cold days, but full of good stuff.

Kale is a spring green and if you subscribe to a CSA basket, you will probably be looking for recipes with greens. This stew is versatile, I have made it with swiss chard and it worked out just as well. Any hardy leafy green will do just fine. So use what you like.

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, "Dinner: A Love Story." Jenny, a food writer for Bon Appetit, Cookie, and Real Simple, and her husband write this blog about their adventures in cooking and eating dinner with their sometimes-picky children. Jenny held a contest for easiest meals with directions that you could fit in a Twitter post (that is 140 characters). I entered, but unfortunately for me I did not win. This recipe, however, was the winning recipe. Although my recipe did not make the "post" I did find a great new recipe I love ... (Thank you DALS and Anna, the winner).

Sausage, Bean and

Kale Stew

from Dinner: A Love Story Contest

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

8 Italian sausage links (I squeeze the sausage out or buy it without the casing)

1 (32 ounces) container of chicken broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes

2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 large bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped (or other greens)

In a Dutch or large pot, saute red pepper flakes and onion in olive oil until the onions are soften, then add the sausage and cook until browned.

Add garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, and beans, cook until heated through.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring it all to a boil. Add the kale, cover and simmer until the kale is wilted (just a few minutes). Serve with shredded or shaved parmesan or Romano and some of your favorite crusty bread.

• Amanda Skiba is passionate about cooking and posts her favorite recipes at


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