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:
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.
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Eric Olsson is the food blogger of RedBeansAndEric.com. He publishes new recipes and interviews weekly. He has developed recipes for author Todd-Michael St Pierre for his book, The Southern Po’boy Cookbook, published by Ulysses Press, and for the famous Camellia brand in New Orleans. His Creole seasoned turkey recipe was runner up in the Taste of Home magazine’s annual Thanksgiving recipe contest, and he has been mentioned in Louisiana Cookin’ magazine. He lives outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and three children.