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A hearty, one-pan Italian chicken and cannellini beans that cooks in about 30 minutes! This is one the tastiest chicken dinner recipes, made with braised boneless chicken thighs, white beans and Tuscan kale, along with sourdough bread and chunky tomato sauce.
What we have here is an Italian-style chicken and white beans, a hearty, homey stew that’s a meal in one pot. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
If you’re looking for a new way to cook boneless, skinless chicken thighs this is one to try.
The boneless chicken thighs simmer in a rich tomato sauce until they become tender, along with white cannellini beans and kale. The dish is finished with chunks of toasted sourdough croutons that soak up the delicious pan sauce.
Use pantry ingredients like canned beans and your favorite prepared pasta sauce, along with a few fresh ingredients from the grocery store. It’s pure Italian-style comfort food.
Traditionally served as a thick vegetable bean soup — known as ribollita in Tuscany – this humble dish is a classic example of rustic farmhouse cooking, where nothing is wasted.
Italian mamas would make ribollita (which means “reboiled” in Italian) on Friday fast days, then reheat it for meals the next day, and the next. Doesn’t that sound so much better than saying “We’re having leftovers for dinner?”
Ingredients in the recipe
Here’s what you need to cook:
- White beans: Cannellini beans from a can are perfect. If you happen to have cooked cannellini beans on hand, go ahead and use them — you need 2 cups cooked beans.
- Chicken: Instead of bone-in chicken (which takes longer to cook) I improvised on the old-school recipe by using boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Bread: Use a crusty country-style bread like sourdough or ciabiatta. The toasted bread is cubed and added to the dish to soak up the sauce and give it a hearty base.
- Leafy greens: Curly kale or dark green lacinato kale have sturdy leaves and texture. Other greens you can use are chard leaves, collard greens or quick-cooked broccolini.
- Tomato sauce: Use leftover homemade marinara sauce as the saucy base, or grab a jar of a good-quality prepared sauce.
Serve this family-style dish straight from the pan, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Kale
- 2 pounds (900 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ (75 g) red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
- 3 cups (750 ml) prepared marinara sauce
- 1 15-ounce can (425 g) cannellini beans, drained
- 1 tablespoon (30 g) chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
- 4 cups (265 g) Tuscan lacinato kale, curly kale, or other leafy greens
- 2 thick slices crusty sourdough bread, toasted
- ¼ cup (25 g) freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
- Season the chicken evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Put the olive oil in a large, deep skillet (12-inches) and place over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook without disturbing 6-8 minutes, or until it takes on a golden-brown color.
- Flip the chicken over and add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring to coat with the pan juices. Cook 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion softens.
- Add the sauce, beans, rosemary and ½ teaspoon salt to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 10 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and continue to simmer 10 more minutes to thicken the sauce.
- Drizzle the bread with olive oil and cut into ½-inch cubes.
- Remove the chicken from the heat and stir in the kale until it wilts. Serve in shallow bowls topped with some of the bread and sprinkle with the cheese.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Use your favorite prepared pasta sauce (chunky style for a thicker sauce) or make a batch of my easy homemade marinara sauce.
- To prepare in a slow cooker: Follow steps 1-3 to sear the chicken, either on the stovetop or in your slow cooker insert if it’s compatible. Add the onion and garlic for the last 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker with tomato sauce, beans and rosemary. Add another can of cannellini beans for a heartier texture, if you like. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high 4 hours. Stir in the kale and cheese and serve with the bread on top.