Any fresh, leafy greens could be substituted here, depending on what is in season and what you like, from spicy escarole to delicate spinach. Serve over a bed of whole grains with some crusty bread to sop up any delicious broth still left on your plate or in your bowl.
Brown rice (I start this in my rice cooker about an hour before we want to eat)
2 center-cut bacon slices
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more only if your family likes things 'spicy!')
1 - 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth (I usually use vegetable broth, but this time I used some home-made chicken broth and yes, it was delicious!)
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) cans organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
4 cups chopped fresh kale (remove from thick stems and chop - our dog loves to eat the kale stems or I save them to make vegetable broth)
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
4 lemon wedges (optional)
1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon, and crumble. Add 1 cup carrot and chopped onion to drippings in pan, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and red pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken broth, 1 cup water, and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add 4 cups kale to bean mixture. Cover and simmer for 2-5 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Ladle some of the rice or other grains into a bowl or onto a plate. Add a hefty scoop (about 1 1/4 cups) of the bean mixture on top of the grain, and then top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt. Sprinkle with bacon, and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Makes 3-4 servings, depending on what else you serve with the meal. For us, it made 2 nice-sized dinner servings with enough left over for one lunch serving.
We only eat bacon as an infrequent and very special treat. I knew we had some delicious locally-produced bacon in the freezer. Again, just like using chicken broth in this recipe, topping the dish with just a few pieces of crumbled bacon was the perfect final taste touch. Even though the final dish was just at the edge of spiciness for my husband, the added bacon made him smile and gave him a contented feeling. :)
This recipe was eaten before photos could be taken. It is a simple but complete and a delicious, delicious dinner. Instead here is a great image to help us all remember to eat our locally-grown greens from FarmerPal's Facebook page:Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD