Real southern food does not always come from a deep fryer; it’s simmered on the stove, baked in a cast iron skillet, and pulled straight from your grandmother’s garden. The real food plate is a nutritious eating approach that shifts the focus from an entrée to the four corners of the real plate; fruits, grains, legume, and vegetables. These foods are packed with nutrients and are all staples in southern cuisine. This is what our southern real food plate would look like:
In the vegetable corner, collard greens are the green, nonstarchy star of this southern plate. Packing in 5 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber in each 1 cup serving of cooked greens; this nutrition powerhouse also has 26% of your Daily Value (DV) of Calcium and 57% of your DV of Vitamin C. Check out our recipe below.
Black Eyed Peas:
We recommend including a ½ cup of legumes everyday and this new years day tradition is the perfect option. Black eyed peas are best when prepared simply, with onions and garlic sautéed in a teaspoon of olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt, then simmer with water over low heat till tender. In a half-cup of these lucky legumes there are 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 10% of your DV of Iron.
Brown Basmati Rice:
No southern plate is complete without rice to soak of the pot likker. This aromatic rice is packed with whole grain goodness. The fluffy drier texture is the perfect partner to soak up the black-eyed peas’ and collards’ flavorful broths.
Whether fresh or frozen, we’re happy to be able to enjoy this Georgia staple year round. For an easy and nutritious dessert, place 1 cup of fresh or frozen peach slices sprinkled with cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second intervals until peaches are heated through. Top these “microwave baked” peaches with a dollop of greek yogurt for the perfect desert year round.
Southern Collard Greens
Smoked paprika replaces the traditional ham hock to retain that smoky flavor without the additional salt and fat. These southern style collard greens will make your guests say, “you sure there ain’t meat in these?”
• ½ small yellow onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic minced
• 2-3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes
• 2 lbs collard greens, washed and chopped into 1 in wide strips
• black pepper and hot sauce to taste
• Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp vegetable oil and diced onion, sauté until translucent. Add garlic and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until fragrant but not burnt.
• Add 2 cups vegetable broth, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer.
• Add collard greens to simmering pot and reduce heat to low, simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours until greens are dark and tender. Check every 30 minutes and add additional broth if needed.
• Add hot sauce, black pepper, or additional red pepper flakes to taste and serve hot.
• Servings: 4
• Calories: 87
• Fat: 2.8m
• Saturated Fat: 0 g
• Cholesterol: 0mg
• Sodium: 580mg
• Carbohydrates: 16.2g
• Fiber: 8g
• Protein: 5g
Katie is a culinary nutrition educator born in bred in the heart of Cajun country. Starting life with a unique culinary upbringing with Sicilian, Syrian, and French grandparents, she finds ways to adapt traditional dishes to fit current nutrition recommendations. Katie is currently completing her dietetic internship at Emory University Hospital. Connect with her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mkatiemoses.