Collard Greens and Pinto Beans

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Collard Greens and Pinto Beans | Thrifty Below

Before moving to the South, I had never tried a collard green. If I was cooking with greens, it was all about spinach. After reading Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, I began incorporating more plants (especially leafy greens) into my diet. After a lot of experimenting I figured out which greens I liked and how best to cook them. Collards are definitely my favorite green!

Unfortunately, most collard green recipes are not very healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smokey, bacon-y collard greens served at Carolina BBQ restaurants… but I wanted something easy and vegetarian. I found a recipe for Collard Greens with White Beans on and have altered it to suit my tastes. I’m in love with my fresh, vegan version of southern-style collard greens. This simple recipe has only five ingredients, and tastes delicious. My husband loves it so much that I make a double batch of these collards once a week. If you’re not in a vegetarian mood, these also taste great when you throw in 8 ounces of chopped ham.

Collard Greens and Pinto Beans | Thrifty Below

First, remove the stems from one pound of collard greens. I fold them in half and rip the stems off, but you can use a knife for more precision. Chop the collards into large pieces, as if you were prepping romaine lettuce for salads. Rinse in a colander and dry a bit with a paper towel or salad spinner, but leave some moisture (it will help the collards steam).

Collard Greens and Pinto Beans | Thrifty Below

Chop one medium yellow onion, dice 3-4 cloves of garlic (I use a garlic press instead), and chop 4-5 roma tomatoes (or you can substitute one can of no-salt added diced tomatoes). Spray a 5 quart saute pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Once heated, add in the onions and saute for one or two minutes. Add in the garlic and saute until the onions are translucent. Begin to add the collard greens, stirring as you add them. You may have to add them in two or three batches, letting the greens wilt to make room for the rest of the collards.

Collard Greens and Pinto Beans | Thrifty Below

Once the collards have wilted and turned a bright green, add in the chopped tomatoes (or one can of no-salt added diced tomatoes) and stir. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Place the lid on the saute pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Collard Greens and Pinto Beans | Thrifty Below

Add 1.5 cups of cooked pinto beans (or one can), stir, and replace the lid. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until collards are tender and the pinto beans are heated through. Remove from heat and serve. My husband and I eat big bowls of these yummy Collard Greens and Pinto Beans as a main course, but smaller portions could be served as a side-dish.

Collard Greens and Pinto Beans | Thrifty Below


Collard Greens and Pinto Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A fresh and healthy vegan version of Southern-style collard greens, featuring pinto beans, tomatoes, and onions.
Recipe type: Vegan, American
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound collard greens, chopped and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped (or one 15-oz can of no salt added diced tomatoes)
  • 1.5 cups cooked pinto beans (or one 15-oz can)
  1. Spray a 5 quart saute pan with cooking spray, heat to medium-high.
  2. Saute onions for 1-2 minutes, add minced garlic and saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Add chopped collards and stir.
  4. When collards have wilted and reached a bright green color, add in tomatoes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in pinto beans, return lid and simmer for 5 minutes or until collard greens are tender and pinto beans are heated through.
  6. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 144 Fat: 0 Saturated fat: 0 Unsaturated fat: 0 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 43 Sugar: 4 Sodium: 21 Fiber: 25 Protein: 13 Cholesterol: 0

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43 Responses

  1. Wow! That is what we call healthy. Wow

  2. Looks like Yummy food. Health is wealth. This combination looks alright.

  3. It’s so hard for me to eat healthy because I’m so picky! I’ve been trying harder though. That salad looks yummy though.

    • Gina, just keep an open mind and I’m sure you’ll find things you like! There are tons of delicious fruits and veggies out there, you might surprise yourself!

  4. I have never had a collard green but am willing to try! Love the pinto beans but gotta be careful cause I tend to eat too much!

    • Collards are my favorite green! Since it’s vegan, you can eat as much of this as you want without having to feel guilty! :)

  5. I like collard greens.. as long as they are cooked correctly (for me) great recipe and it is so healthy!

  6. I’m going to have to try this! I follow Dr. Fuhrman’s way of eating, too!!! The rest of my family eats meat, so I share all different kinds of recipes on the blog. My menu is mostly greens and beans! Pinning!

    • That’s awesome, Alli! I’m trying to be more strict with his plan. I’ve tried before, but after a while my 90/10 would slip into an 80/20, then 70/30… not good!

  7. I LOVE both pinto beans and collard greens! I need to try this recipe ASAP!!

  8. Great share, thank you. I love beans and pinto are tasty!

    • I love beans too, Natosha! My husband and I have tried this recipe with black beans, kidney beans, and white beans, but pintos are our favorite.

  9. michele d

    I bet my husband would love this. I will have to make it for him one day. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. i love greens! i eat them before my main dish. to make me feel full so fast and start my meal with healthy options

    • Jane that’s such a smart idea! It’s kind of like starting with a salad — less room for junk!

  11. Your pictures are awesome! My mom would definitely love this recipe as it’s easy to follow.

    • Thanks Roch! I’ve been trying to work on my photography. The pictures with the blue bowls were actually taken with the light box I just made. Coincidentally, the tutorial will be on the blog Wednesday morning.

  12. This looks really healthy. I’ll
    definitely give it a try.

  13. Oh yum! I love, love, love collard greens and pinto beans and I have never thought of the two together. What a super food powerhouse. It looks delicious!

  14. That’s really healthy stuff there and it looks so easy to do.

  15. I recently moved to the South and have never tried collard greens but this looks like a recipe I would definitely eat!

  16. I have never had collard greens before. This looks really good.

  17. This looks like a really healthy dish. Perfect for those going on diet.

  18. This looks really good, and delicious to boot!

  19. That looks yummy! Great pictures!

  20. Looks like a yummy recipe!

    Thanks for sharing the complete recipe

  21. I think this would hit my boyfriend’s heart! Sounds amazing!

    • Thanks Liz! You can’t go wrong with a man who appreciates beans and greens! 😉

  22. Oh! This looks super healthy but good! Yum! If I could eat this every day …

  23. I love collard greens AND pinto beans! I could eat a whole pot of pinto beans by myself. Lol I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad. Looks delicious!

    • Thanks Artney! I think it’s okay, there are definitely worse things than pintos that you could binge on.

  24. It looks really good.. though am not sure where i can get pinto beans..

    • I purchased the dry beans at my local grocery store, but you can used canned beans as well. I’m not sure where you’re located, but most grocery stores by me have lots of varieties of canned and dry beans.

  25. Too funny! My mom LOVES collard greens now that she lives in NC!

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