Healthy Southern Cooking
Southern-style food for some people is the ultimate comfort food. For those who are on a diet, however, it’s not quite as easy to sit down and find something to make that tastes delicious. Whether you prefer “meat and three,” or Texas-style BBQ, here are some southern classics made with healthier ingredients.
Collard Greens & Black-Eyed Pea Soup
Time Needed: 45 minutes
Black-eyed peas can be found in abundance throughout the southern United States. In some cultures, black-eyed peas are considered good luck. This recipe requires the use of a Dutch oven, which will allow you to cook everything in one pot. It also contains chicken broth with reduced sodium and plenty of vegetables for flavoring.
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic (4 sliced and 1 whole), divided
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp. of crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 4 cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 5 cups of collard greens, chopped
- 15-oz. can of black-eyed peas
- 6 1/2-inch-thick slices of baguette
- 6 tsp. of shredded Swiss cheese
- 2 slices of cooked bacon, finely chopped
- Add oil and apply medium heat to your Dutch oven.
- Add onion, carrot, and celery. Stir until tender, about five to seven minutes.
- Add sliced garlic, thyme, and crushed red pepper. Stir rapidly for about 15 seconds.
- Increase heat. Add broth and tomatoes.
- Bring to a boil while scraping up any brown bits.
- Stir in collard greens and reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook and stir occasionally, until greens are tender, about five to ten minutes.
- Discard the thyme sprig.
- Stir in black-eyed peas; let the Dutch oven cool down on a table with a towel beneath it. Let it stand for ten minutes.
- Once you get the Dutch oven out, preheat your oven’s broiler.
- Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet on the top rack and broil until lightly toasted, about two to four minutes.
- Rub each slice with your garlic clove. Discard the garlic once you’re done.
- Turn baguette over and add Swiss cheese.
- Once the cheese melts, take the baguettes out and serve with your soup.
Time Needed: 15 minutes
Looking for something besides shrimp cocktail to serve at your next gathering? Crawfish are low in fat and high in protein, making them a great alternative to shrimp. Create this easy-to-make crawfish remoulade to bring a taste of the bayou to your next event.
- 2 tbsp. light mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. plain fat-free yogurt
- 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
- 2 tbsp. mustard (Creole or grainy)
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lbs. of cooked Louisiana crawfish
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together everything but the crawfish. Add seasoning if your mixture tastes bland.
- Add crawfish and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.
Smoky Pork Stir Fry
Time Needed: 20 minutes
Use a large skillet to create a healthier version of a stir-fry. This one in particular uses low-sodium soy sauce for additional flavor.
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 10 oz. pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt
- 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
- 1-1/2 cups of thinly sliced orange bell pepper
- 1 cup of snow peas
- 1 tbsp. of minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. of low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp. of sugar
- 1 tsp. of chili garlic sauce
- 3 cups of tricolor coleslaw
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- Put your skillet on high heat.
- Add canola oil and swirl the skillet around so all surfaces are coated.
- Sprinkle paprika and salt onto your pork. Put pork in the skillet.
- Sauté for three minutes or until browned and put cooked pork on a plate. Cover to keep warm.
- Reduce heat on skillet to medium-high heat.
- Add sesame oil and swirl to coat.
- Add bell pepper, peas, ginger, and garlic.
- Stir-fry for three minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
- Combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and chili garlic sauce in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Add pork and soy sauce mixture to your pan and cook for one minute.
- Serve coleslaw on the side, sprinkle with green onions and rice vinegar, and enjoy!
Grilled Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Grilled Okra
Time Needed: 5 hours (cooking time is around 30 minutes)
Southern food sometimes is attributed to poor heart health. This recipe is heart healthy, but still is rich in flavor.
- Lemon juice from three to four lemons (1/2 cup)
- Six to eight cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. of minced, fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. of garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. of canola oil, divided
- 1-1/2 lbs. of boneless, thinly sliced chicken breast
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3 lb. of okra
- Add lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, garlic powder, and one tablespoon of oil into a small bowl. Add chicken to a large Ziploc bag along with marinade. Seal the bag, and let chicken marinate
- in the refrigerator for at least three hours, but no more than twelve.
- After you let it marinade, discard and wipe it off the chicken.
- Season chicken with salt and place on the grill. Chicken should cook in about seven to ten minutes and register at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, add okra. Season with one tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
- Add okra to grill in the opposite direction of the grates (to prevent them from falling through). Grill until blistered and tender on each side.
- Serve chicken with okra and enjoy!