Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and Grits

Happyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and GritsHappyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and GritsHappyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and GritsHappyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and Grits4

Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and Grits 

My kitchen is old. My counters are laminate. My spice cabinet is a joke and I’m pretty sure mice live under the fridge. There are splatters on the ceiling still from the time Corbyn and Shaun made Margaritas in a blender missing it’s top. New dish towels and a clean rug in front of the sink are a big deal to me. An old friend from San Diego visited our place a few weeks ago and remarked at how normal, homely, even ugly our cooking space is, despite what she sees online. I love our house. I love our quirky, odd lay-out of a kitchen. We’re all in this funk-a-licious life together, ya hear? And in the spirit of reality checks, I love to cook and share quirky, semi-technical, creative dishes with you here… but five of the seven days in a week we’re eating some riff on grains, greens, and protein. Cheers to rentals, easy dinner, and comfort in a bowl.

  • 2 lbs rapini (broccoli rabe), dense stems removed
  • 1 cup white beans (your choice)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp bacon grease (optional)
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • a poached or soft boiled egg, one per serving
  • dash of chili oil
  • ——–
  • 2 cups polenta or grits (labeling varies)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 tbsp salted butter
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp salt


Happyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and GritsHappyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and Grits


In a medium sized pan toast red pepper flakes for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add olive oil, bacon fat, and shallots over slightly lower heat until it starts to sizzle. Add Rapini leaves and let wilt, untouched for five minutes before stirring together. Add white beans, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir and remove from heat.

Melt butter in a large pot with the minced garlic. Before butter starts to bubble, add stock, butter and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Add polenta and stir vigorously for 5 minutes until combined. Add stock to adjust the viscosity and salt to taste.

Serve in a bowl, all together, with a poached egg, goat cheese crumbles, and chili oil.

Happyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and GritsHappyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and GritsHappyolks | Red Pepper Rapini, White Beans, and Grits

  1. Kate

    it’s those quirks that make a kitchen/home the best and always make you feel comfy. our house is the same way. love this simple meal and the versatility that can come with it.


  2. Kathryn

    Yup, we’re all about the grains + greens + proteins too. So quick, easy and tasty. And now I’m totally starving…


  3. Emma

    I love seeing a bit more of your kitchen. My kitchen isn’t beautiful – the wood surface under the window is my favourite bit and pretty much the only bit I ever photograph – but over the last two years I grown to love it and feel so comfortable in it that I barely notice it. I don’t even want to try making some bits prettier – it feels like a whole and if I tried to change one bit it would lose something. Anyway – a lovely post, thank you for letting us into your world.


  4. ileana

    Beautiful. Having grown up eating a lot of beans, this is the kind of food I love to eat.

    When a friend came to our kitchen for the first time, she was also surprised by how tiny and unimpressive it was. Old. With a stove older than I am, I bet. I look forward to the day we move to a place with a modern and bigger cooking area, but for now, it’s kind of fun to still create wonderful meals that belie this little kitchen.


  5. Magda

    Yeap. Count me in. My rental kitchen is a disaster; tiny fridge, small oven, few cabinets. But it has a beautiful huge window that lets the light in and that I wouldn’t change for a bigger, fancier kitchen.
    Wonderful dish. I have never tried grits before (Greek girl here) but you sure make them look good.


  6. Caroline

    I can’t tell you how badly I’m swooning over this! It just sounds like pure healthy comfort food on this cold day. I’m pinning now…I NEED to make this over the weekend! Lovely!


  7. Caitlin

    i love this post. it’s so true how edited we become when sharing snippets of our lives on our blogs and social media. it’s so refreshing to read about your “real” kitchen.


  8. Ashley

    I could eat this for all the days. Comfort in a bowl, indeed. — All the quirks + funk are what keep things interesting. Love the glimpse into your kitchen. Cheers, lady. xo


  9. Jade Sheldon-Burnsed

    Ha! We certainly are…


  10. Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures

    Oh man – I feel you on all of this. Our rental kitchen doesn’t get heat or air conditioning, has no natural light, and is painted the ugliest puke green possible. The rest of the house is wonderful – just not the kitchen. Yay for renting indeed.


  11. eileen

    Beans and greens have to be one of the most comforting, homey combinations on earth. This sounds so perfect with the polenta and egg.


  12. Amanda

    Cheers to cracked tiles, messy benchtops and flour everywhere! Axx


  13. Emma

    Our kitchen it hilarious, with it’s bright blue 70’s counter, but it works (mostly) so I’m happy :-) This bowl of goodness looks amazing. xx


  14. Rachel

    This is the kind of meal I can get behind: simple, adaptable, and delicious whether at home or in a camp kitchen. Love your blog’s honesty, Kelsey!


  15. Rebecca

    I hear ya on the ugly rental. Whenever I get down about everyone’s beautiful space, I channel all those angsty country songs about struggling through our 20’s and remember, this is normal. It’s part of growing into an adult. In the future, we’re going to look back on this time and wish for it again–but perhaps not the fridge mice :)


  16. Shira

    Love this! Cheers to those meals that are less than fancy, but the ones that nourish us day in and day out – and in truth are the actual best. I was thinking about this very thing the other day as I was looking at the various collection of wooden boards & backdrops I’ve collected since I started doing this whole blogging thing, and how making pretty images isn’t necessarily the most transparent version of my life, hover fun it is to create them. Perfect meal in a bowl, this is! Great post, Kelsey!


  17. Abby

    As pretty as all those pinterest worthy kitchens are, I prefer the comfortable ones where memories are made. This looks like a heart warming bowl of comfort food.


  18. Jane

    Just finished making this for the hubs and me. Denver is way down, but we are clinging to hope–major Peyton fans in this house. Andrew says, “biggest come-back in Super Bowl history coming up.” At least we have an absolutely delicious meal to share the suspense with. I substituted kale and pinto beans, given my pantry, but I’m still terribly pleased. And get this: just poached my first two eggs with mild success! Thanks, we definitely make this again. Go Broncos.


  19. Sophie

    I think this kind of hearty, simple “peasant” food is just the best. This sounds so tasty! Looks like we could eat it for dinner and pack leftovers for lunch at work (thumbs up).

    We are renters too and I like our little place. My kitchen is tiny and unfashionable but it works with me. I like your perspective. The coziness of our place seems to depend so much more on who is in it and what we are enjoying together than how pretty it looks.


  20. Courtney Musselman

    Hi- thank you so much for posting this! My husband and I love cooking anything with some grits! I will have to give this a try!


  21. Sophie

    I love how you present this, how you glorify the quaintness of a humble kitchen. In one word, it’s beautiful. It’s so full of soul and it’s so right–do we need granite and stainless steal for a worthwhile kitchen? No, we need simply ourselves and our loved ones and our memories. And I love how you’ve just captured all of that in a mere paragraph…

    Also, this dish is pretty much the food of my spirit–something creamy, greens, and legumes. I think I’ll be whipping this up for dinner tomorrow.



  22. Clare

    When I read your posts, I get swept up in remembering simplicity, honest communication and humility. Many thanks, per usual.


  23. amelia

    Cheers indeed, Kelsey!! xox


  24. molly

    amen to quirky kitchens, glorious imperfections, and grains + beans + greens. right there with ya, my friend. and keep it coming, in all its gritty goodness.


    ps: ditto the mice. squeak squeak!


  25. Sini | my blue&white kitchen

    A real-life dish from a real-life kitchen. This post was like a breeze of fresh air. Thanks for that, Kelsey.

    Oh and grits. I’ve never had any grits in my life – we don’t know such a thing here in Europe. And somehow I didn’t stumble upon it while I was in the U.S. a few years ago… I would love to have a bowl of grits with red pepper rapini and white beans right now. Can you send me a portion via airmail, please. But I guess, if airmail failes, polento would be a good substitute.

    I hope you two have a great weekend & tell the mice I said hi,
    Sini xo


  26. Kelly

    Lady, I feel ya. You know those times when you promise others your dish towels are clean… they are just old and have been washed so many times they will never look glorious. I think simple kitchens with creative solutions are wonderful. Also.. I live in an old farmhouse and I’ve met the fridge mouse or two. They seem to stay away from peppermint essential oil. I sprinkle it around the pipes coming in from behind the fridge. It seems to work! Smells good too! Grits n’ things is one of my favorites and something I’ve been eating as of late when winter sneaks in a grains craving.


  27. Linda

    Check, check, check, and triple check (except our possibly-phantom mice are coming in from a hole behind the sink). I always vow to myself that the day I finally get to design my own kitchen, it’ll be a flawless example of interior design: gleaming counters, open shelving, appliances tucked discreetly away… and then I remember I’ll have to actually cook from it. And I’m really not that neat of a person anyway.

    I can live with that.

    Cheers to all of the above Kelsey! I’ll take a bowl of grits any day.


  28. Libby

    The flavor was nice, but I would dial back the red pepper next time to perhaps 1 tsp.


  29. thebestdressup

    ciao! delicious post…


  30. Amelia

    What is that beautiful knife?!


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  32. Dave

    This is on my “to do” list for the weekend. Adding the poached egg makes this dish for me. A friend has been providing eggs from her 2-chicken “ranch” and this will provide a nice aside from my short collection of egg dishes. I continue to be knocked out by your photography. Thanks for all the hard work!



    […] 10.¬†Red Pepper Rabini, White Beans and Grits […]

  34. Beverley

    If a kitchen looks picture perfect, it usually means the people in the house don’t cook much – they eat out.
    Keep doing what you are doing, being creative, eating well, and valuing the important things in life!


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