One of my new favorite sides to my red beans and rice dinner has been collard greens. They add a nice balance to the beans and bring a new flavor to the meal that makes a great bowl of red beans even better.
Collard greens are an extremely versatile side that pairs well with so many different meals. The best part of this cruciferous vegetable is the health benefits that it provides. Here are some facts from the Medical News Today:
- One cup of boiled collard greens contains 63 calories, 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 11 grams of carbohydrate, including 8 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar.
- It provides over 250 percent of a person’s daily needs for vitamin A, over 50 percent of vitamin C, 26 percent of calcium, 1 percent of iron, and 10 percent of both vitamin B-6 and magnesium.
- Collard greens are a rich source of vitamin K. They also contain folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, phosphorus, and potassium.
And these aren’t the only benefits.
Eating collard greens can help with bone health, help lower the risk of various types of cancer, improve liver function, help you maintain a healthy digestive tract, keeps hair moisturized, gives the body energy, helps you sleep better, and may even help with depression.
And if all of that doesn’t make you want to eat your greens, there’s bacon.
We all know the benefits of bacon: it’s bacon.
Bacon and collard greens seem to go so well with each other. They go together like peanut butter and jelly or the grilled cheese and tomato soup. You can’t have collard greens without bacon.
But can you have bacon without collard greens?
Growing up in Michigan, we never had collard greens. Ever. Not even by accident. But in the past year or so, I started making it and now I love to add it as a side to many different meals. Besides all of the great health benefits that it provides, it tastes great (with bacon) and it’s a great alternative to a simple side salad.
If the health benefits and the bacon aren’t convincing enough, there’s more to collard greens: Collard greens hold the power of bringing good luck and wealth when paired with black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Years Day. For centuries black-eyed peas have been a symbol of luck and having good health. When added to the peas, collard greens represent money and helps ensure that you have a financially prosperous new year. Add cornbread, which represents gold, and you will be set as the well-known phrase goes: peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold. But the truth was probably ‘eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.’
Next time you make a pot of red beans and rice, serve this Collard Green recipe along with it. You will not only benefit from the greens but also from the added nutritional value of the beans. Plus, you’ll feel great, you’ll have moisturized hair, and you just might get lucky.
Let me know what you think about this recipe in the comment section below.
- 5 strips thick-cut bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 bunch of fresh collard greens chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
In a deep pan with a lid, over MEDIUM heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Once finished, remove bacon from pan and crumble into smaller pieces. Return the bacon to the pan along with onions; cook until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic to the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Mix the chopped collard greens into the pan and fry until the greens start to wilt.
Pour chicken stock into the pan along with the crushed red pepper flakes; reduce heat to LOW, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the greens are tender.
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Keep the red beans cookin’!
Eric Olsson is the food blogger of RedBeansAndEric.com. He publishes new recipes and interviews weekly. He has developed recipes and written articles for the famous Camellia brand in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been mentioned in Louisiana Cookin‘ magazine and has had recipes featured in Taste of Home magazine – with his Creole Turkey recipe being runner up in their annual Thanksgiving recipe contest. He lives outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and four children.