Slow Cooker Honey Beans + Kale

Growing up, both my Grandmas would spend all day in their kitchens.  They had become pros at what they did over the years, and cooking was always a huge part of our culture.  Neither of them had slow cookers.  I’m honestly not sure they’d know what to do with themselves if they had. 

But I live in a very different world than my grandmothers.  I attend school and work and practicum.  I don’t have a dozen mouths to feed between the kids and grandkids [although I do love leftovers].  And I definitely don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen every day [oh how I wish I did!]. 

I have been waiting for years [years!] to get a slow-cooker.  Since college, really.  I’ve always heard amazing things about them, but I never got around to purchasing one.  Finally, about a month ago, Ben came home with a Happy Thursday gift [we give gifts randomly throughout the year rather than celebrate holidays with them], and I absolutely lit up when I saw that it was my long-awaited Crock Pot! 

For as long as I’ve been waiting for a crock pot, you’d think I would have set it right up and got to making some amazing food.  But here’s the honest truth: The thing totally intimidates me. 

Everyone says you can’t mess up with the crock pot, but I beg to differ.  I burn Ben’s toast just about every single morning.  I don’t know how to mix and match herbs, or how much I should add to dishes.  It’s one of the reasons the food I make is often so simple.   

Nonetheless, I had to start somewhere. 

So far, I’ve tried making falafel in the crock pot [meh – I’d rather just bake it], chicken pot pie [first trimester nausea kept me from tasting it], and fajitas [pretty good], but this honey beans + kale dish is by far my favorite crock pot experiment so far. 

Earthy kale balances out the sweet and tangy beans and sweet potatoes.  Even better, the nutritional profile is out-of-this-world: vegetarian and chock-full of leafy green goodness, fiber and antioxidants. 


Slow Cooker Honey Beans + Kale

[adapted from this recipe]


  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 medium onion – finely diced
  • 2 medium or 4 small sweet potatoes [I used local purple Okinawan sweet potatoes] – chopped into 1/2’’ cubes
  • 2 15 oz. cans of garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemon – juiced [~2 to 4 Tbsp juice]
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 2 bunches kale – washed + chopped [you can use 12oz of fresh spinach instead for a softer dish]

  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese [optional]


  • Mix together garlic, lemon, honey, spices, salt + pepper.
  • Place beans, onions and sweet potatoes in the slow cooker.
  • Pour spice/lemon mixture over and mix so that the bean mixture is totally coated.
  • Place kale on top of the bean/potato mixture.  There will be so much kale that you’ll have to really smash it down for the lid to close, but don’t worry, it’ll cook down. 
  • If you’re using cream cheese, you can either dallop it atop the kale leaves now or mix it in at the end of the cooking process.


  • Cook in the Crock Pot on low for 6 hours or on high for 3. 
  • Enjoy!  We loved ours over quinoa and actually thought it was better the next day, after the lemon had a chance to settle down a bit. 

Hopefully this is the first of many more delicious Crock Pot experiments! 

I’m off to run some errands and practice some yoga. Smile  Have a great Tuesday!

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!


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