One of my favorite restaurants in Philly, Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen, has one of the craziest, "weird good" sides I have ever tasted: peanut butter greens. I actually tried them on a dare, and I'm so happy that I did because I can't get enough! The peanut butter sauce completely masks the bitterness of the greens, the spice gives the greens a surprising kick, and the resulting flavor/texture is like nothing I had ever tasted before.
Recently I was craving them, so I decided to create my own version. I had nothing to go by other than knowing that I needed greens, something spicy, and peanut butter, so I hopped onto Google and did a little research. Here's what I learned:
- Peanut Butter Greens are considered by some to be a modern take on West & South African peanut butter one-pot stews.
- In the States, you can find Peanut Butter Greens in the Southern States, where it is cooked by the local descendants of West Africans brought there as slaves. I found a really good read & incredibly well-done video on the history of Gullah cuisine and this particular dish, linked here (article) & here (video).
- In doing my recipe research, there were actually quite a few variables in preparation: some preparations were pretty in depth (these seemed to be fancy and/or "new" takes on the dish) while others were quite simple (this was the route I decided to take). To be transparent, I didn't actually see the video linked above until after I created my version, although I wish I would have because it is exactly what I had been looking for! Definitely give it a watch.
In the end, I decided to attempt to create something that was true to the recipe's roots (to the best of my knowledge via my research; if you have any comments, please share!) and incorporated a bit of spice through the use of red pepper flakes (and a squeeze of Sriracha). I served these alongside sprouted tortillas, blackened barbecued seitan (a favorite in our house), and cooling, creamy avocado crema for a makeshift dinner party, and they were a hit!
Below is the recipe that I came up with. It satisfied my craving, got rave reviews from my boyfriend, and there were zero leftovers (always a good sign). I went with a half cup of peanut butter for a strong peanut flavor, although this did create a bit of an oily finish. I drained them twice before serving (unfortunately only seen in the above photo), which made a world of a difference. I opted to use an entire can of coconut milk, although my suggestion is to start with 2/3 of the can and add more if you'd like them to be a little more saucy (you can also just add more greens). We love sauce in my house so I'll continue to use the full can in the future, although I'm not sure this is exactly the way they are traditionally made. Lastly, I only bought one bunch of collards for this recipe, but will definitely buy and use two bunches in the future.
Spicy Peanut Butter Greens
Vegan, Gluten-Free // Serves 2-4
- Two Big Bunches of Greens (I used Collards and they were perfect. You can use your favorite or a combination, but if you do, do a quick Google search for your new cook time!)
- Big Handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved OR 1 Large Tomato, diced
- 1 Can Full-Fat Coconut Milk
- 1/2 Cup Natural Peanut Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
- 1-inch Knob Ginger, minced
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1-2 Teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes, 1 Teaspoon Turmeric, Black Pepper & Sea Salt to taste
- Optional: Big squeeze of Sriracha
1. Wash and de-stem your greens.
2. Warm a sauté pan or skillet with high sides over medium heat + add coconut oil, onions, and garlic.
3. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, ginger, and spices (you can save the salt and pepper to the end, if you'd like) and continue to sauté/stir. Cook until onions are fragrant and slightly translucent.
4. Add the peanut butter and coconut milk to the mixture and stir to combine. If you'd like a bit more bite, add a big squeeze of Sriracha. Bring to a low boil. From here, you can do one of two things: 1) transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender and blend to combine for a smoother sauce (be sure to let the mixture cool a bit first if you choose this route!), 2) leave it in the pan and go to step 5 (this is what I did).
5. Add greens and stir to combine. I also added a few extra shakes of red pepper flakes for more pop. Cover, lower heat, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
6. Add tomatoes, stir, and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until greens are fully cooked.
7. Taste! Adjust seasonings as needed, and remove from heat.
8. As mentioned above, mine were a bit oily from all of the peanut butter, so I drained mine twice before serving.
I served mine family-style with fun taco ingredients, but this is also great as a main with a grain or as a side dish. They're fantastic warm, but are still delicious cold! What's your favorite way to eat peanut butter greens?