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Braised Collard Greens and Bacon-Pepper Pinto Beans

Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Active time 40 mins
Total time 1 hr

Serves 4 (serving size: 3/4 cup greens and 3/4 cup beans)

We skip the meat main and make beloved Southern sides the focus of the meal—easy to do with a heap of garlicky braised greens and protein-packed pinto beans with a hit of crispy bacon. Serve with skillet cornbread: Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop while the oven preheats, and swirl in a couple teaspoons oil to the pan before adding the batter. If you can’t find collards, substitute stemmed curly kale or turnip greens, checking for doneness at around 20 minutes. For a vegetarian meal, sub vegetable stock for chicken stock and 1 tablespoon canola oil for the bacon drippings.

Try this in Sautéed Snapper with Curried Greens and Smoky Potato and Greens Tacos.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 11 garlic cloves, divided
  • 3 cups vertically sliced yellow onion (from 1 large onion)
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided (such as Swanson)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 4 bunches collard greens (about 11 oz. each), stemmed and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1/2 onion)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans unsalted pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • Calories 325
  • Fat 9 g
  • Satfat 2.1 g
  • Monofat 4.1 g
  • Polyfat 1.9 g
  • Protein 17 g
  • Carbohydrate 44 g
  • Fiber 15 g
  • Cholesterol 9 mg
  • Iron 4 mg
  • Sodium 567 mg
  • Calcium 321 mg
  • Sugars 6 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 1 g

How to Make It

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Slice 8 garlic cloves. Add sliced garlic and sliced onion to pan; cook until slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups stock, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and greens. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until very tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar. Reserve 5 cups greens for Sautéed Snapper with Curried Greens and Smoky Potato and Greens Tacos.

  2. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high until crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon. Mince remaining 3 garlic cloves. Add minced garlic, bell pepper, and chopped onion to drippings in pan; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in cumin; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup stock, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, beans, and black pepper; cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and cooked bacon. Serve with collard greens and hot sauce, if desired.