Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens

by Meg Cotner on June 25, 2010

balsamic garbanzos mustard greens

I’m a big fan of leafy greens – kale, chard, collards. I just love them! However, I’ve had a hard time warming up to mustard greens – they are often just too peppery-spicy for me, and eating a whole plate of them can be a challenge.  We got mustard greens in this week’s CSA share, so I wanted to find a way to prepare them in a tasty way.

mustard greens

While searching the internet, I came across a recipe from a most unlikely source: the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen website. While I am neither a vegan nor a fan of fat free cooking, the idea of ameliorating the peppery mustard greens with balsamic vinegar was appealing. And I love chickpeas. I decided to see what I could do to take it out of the “fat free vegan” realm and make the dish healthier and more nourishing.

greens onions garlic

Turns out it was pretty easy! I replaced the vegetable broth with pastured chicken broth I had made earlier in the spring, added some olive oil, and made sure to use naturally fermented soy sauce. I also used coconut sugar in place of refined sugar, or agave (which I don’t use or trust).

The balsamic vinegar really does help out with the peppery-ness of the mustard greens.  The garbanzos are sweet and mild, and the sauce was really yummy -tangy and a little sweet. The whole combination is really delicious.  I would make this again for sure.

It was also great the day after – I took it for lunch topped with a couple of fried eggs.  It was so tasty!

Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens
Adapted from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces mustard greens
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons chicken broth, preferably home made
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon naturally fermented soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Remove any large stems from the greens and discard. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

In a large skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onion until it softens, 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of broth, and cook, stirring, until greens are wilted but still bright green, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the salt, if using. Remove greens and onions from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish, leaving any liquid in pan.

Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and coconut sugar to the liquid in the pan (if there is no liquid, add 2 tablespoons of broth). Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Spoon the chickpeas over the greens and drizzle the sauce over all. Finish by drizzling another tablespoon or so of olive oil over the dish.

Serve warm, with additional balsamic vinegar at the table.

Servings: 2

This post is participating in Fight Back Friday, hosted by Food Renegade, and the Two for Tuesday Blog Hop hosted by A Moderate Life.

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{ 12 comments }

charity dasenbrock June 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Yummy! That will show those lowfat vegans. I love the idea of the egg on top.
.-= charity dasenbrock´s last blog ..New USDA food guidelines =-.

Meg June 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Thanks, Charity! Leaving the egg yolk runny (only with pastured eggs) adds extra richness to the dish, too! Yummmm…

Christy June 26, 2010 at 1:56 am

Oh, you are in trouble – messing with a vegan recipe ;o)
What a yummy recipe!
.-= Christy´s last blog ..W is for Whipped Cream, Coconut Whipped Cream that is. =-.

Meg June 26, 2010 at 11:45 am

Ha! A number of my vegan friends have converted non-vegan recipes to their liking, I figured why not do the reverse! I may make this a regular series – considering certain vegan recipes that have delicious flavors but are lacking nourishing fats, or could be enhanced with animal protein of some kind. It is an intriguing and fascinating challenge idea for me!

alex@amoderatelife June 27, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Hi Meg! I have a whole bunch of mustard greens in my fridge, so I will certainly be trying this recipe out! Awesome! You could link this to our Two for Tuesday recipe blog hop! :) I grabbed your feed and tweets! Alex
.-= alex@amoderatelife´s last blog ..Presence and Weight Loss Guest Post =-.

Meg June 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Hi Alex, thanks for stopping by! I’ll definitely plan to add this to your Two for Tuesday blog hop – thanks for the invite! :) Hope you enjoy the recipe, I thought it was mighty tasty.

girlichef June 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

This sounds awesome…I’m a huge fan of any greens (even mustard) and chickpeas…and balsamic…so, what’s not to love!? Two questions for you (I’m a curious sort)…what is coconut sugar? and…why don’t you trust agave? Thanks!!

Also, thanks so much for sharing it with us at Two for Tuesdays this week =)
.-= girlichef´s last blog ..Im going on a PICNIC- and Im bringing =-.

Meg June 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Hi girlichef, thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the dish, and let me know how you like it!

As for your questions, coconut sugar is a traditional sweetener made from the nectar of the coconut palm flour. It’s got a low glycemic level, is gently sweet, and has a bit of a maple syrup flavor to it, or a caramelized flavor. I wrote a post on coconut sugar back in April, and it has a lot of information there. I’ve used it in brownies and that little bit in the greens recipe. I would love to try it in rice pudding – I think it would be fantastic!

As far as agave syrup, some brands have as much fructose as high fructose corn syrup! That fructose can be hard on the liver. Agave syrup is actually made from the starch of the agave plant’s root, not from the flower nectar, which is what I originally thought. It’s also not a traditional sweetener, and was developed in the late 20th century. It’s also highly processed. This post by Food Renegade gave me some food for thought.

Plus, I think agave being marketed as “healthy” and “low glycemic” has made a lot of us (including me at one point) think that we can use it freely without any health repercussions. I am of the mind that it is best to limit one’s sugar – whether refined or unrefined/natural – intake to a minimum. I don’t think any sweetener is something to eat a lot of or even regularly.

Hope that helps!

Penny June 30, 2010 at 7:12 am

This sounds like a perfect combination. The chard in my garden is ready to be picked and I bet your recipe would be great with it. Thanks for sharing. I am enjoying 2 for Tues.
.-= Penny´s last blog ..Scalloped Tomatoes =-.

Meg June 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I think it would be really nice with chard! Would probably be a bit richer because the chard isn’t as bitter as the mustard greens, but nothing wrong with that! :) Let me know how it works out!

Bethany June 30, 2010 at 10:24 am

This recipe sounds wonderful! I totally agree with you about fatfree – I say bring on the fat! And agree with you about not trusting agave (I wrote a post all about natural sugars recently and agave was just a bit too suspect for me). Thanks for sharing this great recipe on our Two for Tuesday blog hop! I’m so glad you did!

Meg June 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm

It’s taken a bit of time for me to become comfortable with eating fat – I was impressed with the low-/no-fat way of eating for most of my life. It’s been liberating to grow less and then not afraid of fat, and truly enjoy it. I mean, I don’t eat it by the handful or anything, but in the grand scheme of my overall diet, everything seems pretty well-balanced – am especially liking the whole raw milk and its creamline (yummy). Fried eggs also have become one of my true go-to breakfasts, especially since I run a lot. That protein and fat is a help. Anyway, thanks for your comments about agave, too. I’ll check your website and look for your article on agave and other sugars, too!

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