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Kale gets a Southern exposure

  • Washington Post
  • Published Monday, March 24, 2014, at 1:13 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 24, 2014, at 1:35 p.m.


Kale and Black-Eyed Peas With Smoky Grits

Makes 4 servings

3 cups water

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)

1 cup regular grits (do not use quick-cooking or instant)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Leaves from 8 ounces kale, thinly sliced

1/2 cup homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

Combine the water, salt and 1 teaspoon of the smoked paprika in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the grits; reduce the heat to medium-low so the mixture is gently bubbling. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits have the consistency of creamy oatmeal, about 20 minutes. Add the pepper, taste, and add salt if needed. Cover and keep warm.

Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and garlic; cover and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add the kale, broth, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and a little salt plus pepper to taste. Cook just until the kale wilts, then stir in the black-eyed peas; cook until the kale is tender and the peas are hot, 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Divide the grits among shallow bowls, then top with the kale mixture.

Nutrition Per serving: 270 calories, 7 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

Adapted from “More Quick-Fix Vegan,” by Robin Robertson (Andrews McMeel, 2014)

If collard greens are the new kale (a debatable assertion), then why can’t kale be the new collards? That’s what struck me when I saw a recipe for a Southern-style pairing of the trendier greens with black-eyed peas and grits. The idea, in Robin Robertson’s new “More Quick-Fix Vegan,” makes perfect sense: Any hearty leaves can find a home in this set of flavors, which are good any time of year.

As well as they work in this combination, those grits could be swapped out for barley or farro or couscous; the black-eyed peas could be replaced by limas or chickpeas or pintos; and the kale could morph into collards – or mustard greens or Swiss chard. The key is to think about just how many varieties of grains, beans and greens there are in the world, to bring them into your kitchen and to start experimenting.

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