Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Spicy Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens: A Gluten-Free Vegan South Beach Recipe

Changes are afoot around these parts. As anti-diet as I am on principle, I have chosen to embark on a new project - Kicking my major addiction to sugar and high-glycemic carbs. I've chosen to use the South Beach Diet as the framework for doing this. The general idea is that you start with a two week period (Phase 1) without grains, fruit, potatoes, sugar and other high-glycemic and high-carbohydrate foods in order to rebalance the blood sugar and get the body stopping craving high-sugar foods. This phase includes eating 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, with lots of vegetables and beans and lean protein and nuts and good fats. This is followed by Phases 2 and 3 which more or less involve gradually reintroducing whole grains and fruit (and, optionally, occasional small amounts of sugar) into the diet a little at a time until you reach an equilibrium that works for your body - In other words, until you find a way of eating where you're incorporating good carbohydrates into your diet while losing weight and fending off the sugar/bad carb cravings. It's neither low-fat nor low-carbohydrate, yet somehow it has worked for nearly everyone I know who's tried it. So when I made a commitment to losing weight and eating healthier for 2008 (a renewal of my Rosh Hashanah resolution - a second start is the advantage to having two New Years!) I realized this was worth exploring. I want to lose weight, but more than that I want my blood sugar levels to be stable, I want to keep myself from becoming insulin resistant since it runs in my family, and I want to stop craving foods that are addictive to my mind and body and bad for my health.

I have always struggled with inability to eat certain foods in moderation - Foods with refined sugar, potatoes, or "white" flours. As a gluten-free eater, "white flour" has taken on a new meaning - I now use that term to mean all the flours that are high-glycemic and/or not made of whole grains, such as tapioca flour, corn starch / flour, white rice flour, and potato starch. I will hopefully be able to find some kind of moderation with these types of ingredients in the future, but I have to start out by eliminating them.

I haven't been blogging much because in the past months I have been eating more healthfully and, frankly, I haven't thought that anyone would be interested in reading recipes that aren't gluten-free revisions of traditional gluten-y baked goods and other starchy favorites. The recipes people view on my blog most frequently are my breads and my cakes. The majority of the gluten-free cooks who e-mail me aren't interested in learning how to eat healthier now that they're gluten-free - They want to eat the same way they always did (what is called the "Standard American Diet" [SAD]). They want gluten-free versions of processed, refined, starchy, sugary comfort foods. So for a while I considered calling it a day. But I know that even if my posts on delicious and healthy recipes such as my Quinoa-Cannelini Burgers don't generate the comments or excitement from readers that my old recipes did, there is an audience for healthier gluten-free cooking. I know this from the fact that when I started blogging, most gluten-free bloggers were posting recipes for brownies, breads, and deep fried vittles - Whereas recently I've noticed several other gluten-free bloggers writing about transitioning to healthier ways of eating. I know that I do get e-mails thanking me for posting healthy alternatives. And I also know this blog is not just for my readers, it is for me - A document of the changes and growth in my own eating and cooking. So this is the next chapter in the life of Gluten-Free Bay, and I hope you will join me as I find new ways to approach food.

To kick off here is a recipe I whipped up last night when I needed a healthy and filling pareve dish that I could eat with both dairy and meat meals. It's great for Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. It's vegan, it's nutritious and it's full of spice. The beans and greens are fabulously smoky thanks to the smoked sweet paprika. Best of all, it used up my very last collard green harvest - I dug the last collards out of a pile of snow the other day. There is nothing like harvesting fresh vegetables in the dead of a northeast winter!


[Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Pareve / Vegan / Soy-Free]

5 cups collard greens, rinsed and chopped or shredded
2 15-oz. cans of black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 bay leaves
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 large poblano or anaheim chili pepper, seeds removed, minced
1/3 cup wine (red or white)
2/3 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or deep frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee until translucent. Add the garlic and pepper and all of the herbs and spices except the salt. Stirring frequently, cook the spices in the oil for several minutes. Add the collard greens and saute, coating the greens thoroughly in the spices and oil. Sautee for 5 minutes or until the greens begin to wilt. Add all of the remaining ingredients and cover. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the greens are tender. Stir regularly to make sure ingredients don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve hot, as a main dish or a side dish. Can be topped with sour cream, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, or vegan cashew sour cream.


Kalyn said...

Good for you! You know I'll be cheering for you.

Gluten Free in the Greens said...

I enjoy your Jewish remakes and other recipes, but I definitely don't eat food with "white" flours regularly (ok, my weekly challah is the exception). I've always liked what Brendan at Something in Season says about cornstarch: it shouldn't be a food group in anyone's diet. That's pretty much been my mantra since going gluten free. It's led to me giving up most sandwiches because I couldn't find bread with fiber. In any case, post those healthy recipes. Check out the Squash-topped Cottage Pie from Eating Well on my menu post for this week--it was yummy and would fit your South Beach needs. Good luck!

Cheryl Harris said...

I love collards, and have some growing in my backyard--yum--and I was saving them for a special recipe. I think I found it.

Also, I wanted to invite you to participate and spread the word about a Healthy GF recipe contest I'm hosting through my website. There are great prizes, gift certs, cookbooks, etc.

I'm glad so many people are moving together toward eating healthier, and I can't wait to see the rest of your recipes.


~M said...

There is definitely an audience for healthier gf cooking. Keep up the good work and thank you!

Anonymous said...

as someone who is a "cook" and not a "baker", i can assure you i'm here for the real stuff, and not the bread and desserts. i'm thrilled to see a recipe that fits SB. i keep trying it, but get discouraged with options (and not to mention violently sick in Phase I -- next time, i'm going to jump in at Phase 2).

just to have a repertoire of "healthier" foods that don't induce cravings is a plus, and certainly my favorites of yours fit that bill. my lunch this week is your Chipotle Black Beans with spinach and brown rice. it has become a staple of my diet, and real comfort food!

Anonymous said...

While I do search for GF "treats" for special occasions (a treat is not a treat if it tastes yucky!). I am striving for healthier every day GV living! Thank you for your helpful and insightful blog!

patty said...

I think you might be surprised how many of us are gluten free ( and dairy free) and also sugar-free. One of the biggest pitfalls in the gluten free diet is that people substitute gluten free junk food for regular junk food. And I guess that is part of the transition process- makes it easier to give up all those comfort foods that we grew up with. But eventually you realize that maybe its not JUST the gluten that is making us all sick...maybe its the high glycemic nature of the gluten as well. Thansk for the great recipe that is now on my list . Keep up the great work in encouraging us all on the process!

Anonymous said...

Theres nothing like black eyed peas and collard greens, being on the south beach diet its good to know there are recipes like this especially being a vegan. I was ordering my food from Celebrity Foods for the longest time, but when i came across this recipe I found a new way of cooking. Thank you!

Sheltie Girl said...

I'm looking forward to seeing your new recipes inspired by your South Beach diet. I wish you the best of luck with your healthy changes.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

mama o' the matrices said...

Yippee! I have collards, and this works for me with only a minor adaptation.

Off to cook collards and beans for shabbat...but first, congrats. I don't think I've made too many eating choices that weren't dictated by my tastebuds or my kids' immune systems. But boy, do we still end up with happy, fully plates.

Happy cooking to ya.

Mary Frances said...

I'll be more than happy to read all your healthy GF posts! Bring 'em on.

And the black-eyed beans and collards look great! That's the traditional New Year's Day meal here in the Southern U.S. and it's always nice to find a new variation on the theme.

Mike Eberhart said...

Looks like a great mix of flavors - and healthy too! Nice recipe Bay.

Justin said...

Hey BytheBay,
I too count myself as a cook and not a baker- my favorite recipes on your blog and others tend to be the savory, almost without exception. So I love recipes like this!
Actually, I'm thrilled to see this one in particular because I've been on a bean kick lately and have been eying the black eyed peas in the grocery store, trying to figure out what to do with them. All the anti-soy lit. has freaked me out and while I'm not abandoning my beloved tofu, I think it's time to spend some quality time with the legumes.
I love your recipes no matter what kind they are. *hugs* Glad you're planning on sticking around!


Sea said...

Oops, didn't realize I was signed into DH's gmail account. Well, anyway, it's me, the book of yum girl.


unwoman said...

As a casual reader of your blog & at-home GF cook I've never had too much trouble making GF versions of typical SAD recipes, though your help with those has been appreciated. But I too am trying to eat healthier, and this particular recipe looks amazingly delish, so please keep 'em coming!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Aww, I'm so touched to see that I helped you feel like the healthier gluten-free stuff is a worthwhile topic to cover, because it definitely is.

I think going gluten-free can jump-start healthy eating for some people, and for others, it can be part of a gradual awakening to the body's various nutritional needs. But some people who have to go gf are just panicking because of the loss of their comfort foods, and God knows that's understandable, too.

I, for one, certainly look forward to having some healthy ideas come out of your experiences! Most of us can use some lower glycemic recipes in our lives even if we're not following SBD.

One of my favorite SBD blogs is the Pasta Queen. Just google her if you want to check out her often funny, very honest blog. :)

Catherine said...

This looks delicious! And I love that you harvested from snow!

Gluti Girl said...

Please, please, post away with healthy meals. I have been trying to head in this direction and it's so darn hard. We have at least been trying watch our carb in take except on the weekend:)

Anonymous said...

I think it's great you will be focusing on healthy gf eating! I was diagnosed as coeliac two years ago, and although I managed to repress my concerns about GI and whatnot while I got adjusted to cutting out most of a food group, recently I decided it was time to start exploring the extra challenge of low GI eating as well (which sounds similar, at least, to what you're doing). So good on you, and I will definitely be sticking around to see what you come up with!

Thanks for all the great recipes and good luck with your new endeavour!


Shannon said...

Hello ByTheBay,

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Editorial Assistant,

Sea said...

I'm enjoying this dish right now, for brunch with some brown rice, and it is DELICIOUS! I used slow cooked black eyed peas, cut back a little on the chili elements (for DH, I love my food SPICY), and used green chard instead of collard greens. I've just never been able to love my collard greens, as much as I try. I added a splash of flax seed oil and nutritional yeast/sesame blend for extra flavor and I am LOVING it. Thank you for another healthy recipe that tastes great and makes me feel great too!


Naomi Devlin said...

This looks like a great dish. We should all be trying to eat healthily and it's great to see someone else championing low GI grains for gluten free eaters.

Too many of the products that we buy and the cook books out there for us guys are full of rice flour, maize flour and potato starch. Time to explore the other grains, roots and seeds!

x x x

barbara said...

I have been thinking similar thoughts about the high-glycemic foods. As more commercial versions of junky food have made their way onto shelves, the more I've been eating them .. and the less well I've felt.

I'm a new reader and sure to become a regular one!

Candace said...

This looks really good! I think I'll wait till I am on Phase 2 to try it. I know on Phase 1 you can't have any wine or alcohol, but I wonder if cooking with it is forbidden? I guess the sugar would still be there. Can't wait to try this!
I love to cook and am starting South Beach to lose weight. At first I was bummed out that I couldn't cook as much, but I am glad to find blogs like yours that show me I can still cook yummy things and keep on plan.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Best collard greens recipe ever! It will be the ONLY way I will make them in the future. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Best collard greens recipe ever! It will be the ONLY way I will make them in the future. Thanks!

Diane L. Dodd said...

I just came across this and got all the ingredients today to cook tomorrow!
I put a link to your recipe on my blog :)

ByTheBay said...

Thanks, Diane! Let me know how it turns out. Happy new year.

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Suparna said...

very interesting, good post.

Anonymous said...

This is currently simmering on the stove. I omitted the tomato products, though. I think it'll be delicious, esp with the roasted garlic vinegar I just picked up.