Beans and Greens Like You’ve Never Had Before

This Brazen Kitchen twist on a favorite combines mung beans, coconut milk and cilantro for a nutrient-packed one-bowl meal.

Photo by Leah Lizarondo


I get asked all the time what my go-to meal is. And always I reply, “beans and greens and rice.” It’s the perfect meal that can be fancy when you want it to be but also fast when it needs to be. The fast version? Open a can of organic black beans and heat with a sprinkle of cumin or chili powder plus some salt and pepper. Place over brown rice and some quickly sautéed greens. Done. Oh and top with hot pepper flakes. All the nutrients and fiber that you can ever want. Yummy and comforting.

But when you do have time, it’s good to experiment. There are a lot of beans and legumes out there to get to know. Many heirloom varieties (hey, the heirloom distinction is not limited to tomatoes!) have such great flavor that it’s an adventure to go beyond the usual suspects. Rancho Gordo is a great resource for beans and recipes.

One of my favorite heirloom beans is the mung bean. I grew up with this bean (in fact, it’s one of the few beans used in Filipino cuisine) stewed in a tomato-based stew. I love it to this day. Here in the United States, we most often see its sprouted form in Asian restaurants.

Mung beans are very high in protein — one cup provides 14 grams, which is about one-quarter of the recommended amount of protein for many. It also is high in vitamin C and, of course, fiber. Mung beans also are very detoxifying — so when paired with cilantro in the below recipe, you have one powerful dish.

Best part? SUPER CHEAP!

Curious? I share with you one of the simplest recipes — and like all of my favorites, it’s packed with flavor.


Mung Beans with Coconut Milk and Greens

Based on Green Kitchen Stories
Serves 4-6


  • 2 cups dried mung beans, soaked in water for 8-12 hours
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bunch kale or collards, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro
  • For serving: brown rice


1. Heat oil in a saucepan; add onion, garlic and cumin.

2. Sauté until fragrant; stir occasionally.

3. Add soaked mung beans and water. Cover and bring to a boil.

4. Lower the heat to medium-low and let cook for 30-40 minutes or until the beans are soft.

5. Add chopped greens, stir and let wilt. Turn off the heat and stir in coconut milk.

6. Serve over brown rice and top with chopped cilantro.

Categories: Brazen Kitchen