Braised Collards with Chickpeas and BBQ Sauce

My husband is a southerner raised on collard greens and pot liquor. I am not. Each time I’ve tried a side of collards at a local BBQ joint near our house in Florida, I’ve been disappointed. Bitter greens drowned in pork fat and salt with a dose of vinegar failed to light my fire for collards. This recipe highlights the goodness of collards and works as a side dish for grilled meats or as a vegan main. I’m finally a collards convert. Make this in advance and have it ready for your next cookout. Let the vegetarians know that there will be something for them. This can be prepared in stages. It takes a bit of time, but is worth it. You can cook dried chickpeas and make the sauce one day, then cook the collards the following day and assemble the whole thing ready for baking. You can use canned chickpeas if you prefer.

I found this recipe in PNW Veg by Kim O’Donnel, a local Seattle chef and food writer. This is pretty much her recipe without major modifications from me.


For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil. I like avocado oil.
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup strained tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of hot paprika

To make the sauce heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet. Add the chopped onions and cook until starting to become soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients and bring the whole thing to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Keep covered until ready to use. Reheat it if you cooked it the previous day before adding it to the baking pan with the cooked collards.

For the Collards

  • 1.5 to 2.0 pounds of collard greens, washed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small chili pepper seeded, and minced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 – 15oz cans of chickpeas or 3 cups cooked (made from 1 cup dried)
  1. Remove the center ribs of the collards with a sharp knife. Stack the leaves into small piles. Tightly roll each pile into a cigar shape and slice into half to three-quarter inch pieces.
  2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the oil.
  3. Cook the onion until translucent and soft (about 6 minutes).
  4. Add the garlic and chili and cook 1 minute.
  5. Add the paprika and salt. Give it a stir to release the spices.
  6. Add the collards. Using tongs, turn to coat the greens in the onion mixture. They will begin wilting and turn bright green.
  7. Add enough water to reach the top of the vegetables (3 cups). Add more water if necessary.
  8. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  9. Using tongs, remove the greens to a bowl with the chickpeas. Save the pot liquor to sop up with bread, to use as a cooking liquid for rice or soup, or just drink it out of a cup.

Assemble for Baking

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Transfer the collard and chickpea mixture to a baking dish.
  • Pour the sauce on top and use a spatula to spread it to the edges of the dish.
  • Cover the dish with foil.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover. Bake an additional 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot.
  • This reheats well and keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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