August 05, 2023

Comfort Food: Jerry's Beans & Greens Recipe

Even if you aren't interested in my recipe posts, please still watch the video in this post. It's kind of perfect for this ;)  I'm definitely feeling better today than yesterday! My dad came over for help with a woodworking project and it was nice to talk to him for a while. Since I've been talking about Jerry's Beans & Greens lately, I wanted to share the story behind my comfort food and his recipe for this.

When people think of comfort food, I imagine them thinking of foods like macaroni and cheese, Mom's chicken paprikash, Grandma's meat pie, etc. Before becoming vegan, my favorite comfort food was "Jerry's Chicken Casserole Surprise"--I guess he thought that the name of the casserole had to have "surprise" in it because that's what we grew up hearing ;)  (Spoiler: There was no surprise.)

(You MUST watch this wholesome 11-second video clip at this point. Please.)

When I was very early in my pregnancy with Noah, I had some spotting and I was sure I was going to have a miscarriage. Being my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect. It was also the weekend, so my doctor's office was closed. I wasn't hemorrhaging, so I just spent the evening feeling sad and worried. Jerry said he would make dinner.

I think he took one of the heritage recipe books (remember the series I did on those in 2021?) and made a creamy chicken and noodle dish. (Everything turned out to be just fine when I saw the doctor on Monday.)

[Side note/funny story about that: The doctor did an ultrasound and he pointed out the gestational sac on the monitor (the sac just looked like a black spot the size of a grape). Jerry said with so much excitement, "Oh look! There's its eye! It's blinking!" I'm sure my doctor was dying inside, but he hid it well with a hint of a smile. I, however, burst out laughing. And now it's a story that makes us laugh. I'm sure my gynecologist shares that story when appropriate, haha.]

Anyway, Jerry's Chicken Casserole Surprise turned into a comfort food for me. I can remember everything about that evening: sitting at the dining room table, eyes red and sore from crying, the delicious aroma from the oven, the ambient lighting, and just a general warm feeling in our new home. (We had just moved in.) Even though the circumstances weren't good, I took comfort in those moments--and the food was a big part of it.

And thus, it became my comfort food.
Jerry and I watched that over and over and laughed and laughed. So sad and funny at the same time. (By the way, American Housewife--where I got the clip above--is the best sitcom of all time!)

Now, being vegan, I have new comfort food (that I like even more than the casserole)--Jerry's Beans & Greens. He was visiting a friend in NYC a couple of years ago and ordered it at a restaurant (I thought it was such an odd thing for him to order; I never would have guessed he'd pick that). He texted me to tell me just how delicious it was and he wanted to try to recreate it when he got home.

I'm not a "greens" person--I don't like salad and the only time I ever really ate greens was when I stirred spinach into a hot meal (even then, I would use about half the amount called for). Jerry found a recipe online and tried it--it tasted pretty good, but I definitely didn't like the greens (I think maybe it was kale?). I suggested trying collard greens, because I'd wanted to try them after going to a soul food restaurant in Detroit one time (they were popular). He switched out some other things and tried a second time.

The Beans & Greens were absolutely DELICIOUS. I never, in a million years, would have guessed that this dish would become one of my very favorite foods, let alone a comfort food. And now, when I have a bad day, he likes to make this. He loves that he has a dinner that he can make and I love. He's tweaked it here and there, but it only gets better each time.

I didn't do progress photos as he cooked, but I wanted to share his recipe. 

I put the recipe in a printable format, which you can find here!

Jerry's Beans & Greens

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots (diced small, because Katie doesn't like the texture of undercooked carrots)
2 celery stalks (also diced small, because Katie doesn't like celery if she can feel the strings or crunch)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (or more, because everything can use more garlic)
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp. sea salt (plus more if needed after tasting at the end)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 cans of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. white miso paste (found in the Asian food section of the grocery store in a little tub--even my Kroger has it, and they don't have much variety of anything!)
4 cups vegetable broth* (see note below)
1 small bunch of collard greens**
1/2 tsp. lemon juice, to finish

*Note about vegetable broth: We make our own vegetable broth powder ("chickenless bouillon powder") and we LOVE it. We use it any time something calls for chicken broth or vegetable broth. The recipe we use can be found at Plant Power Couple. The only "weird" vegan ingredient in it is nutritional yeast (thankfully, it can be found at most grocery stores now--even my Kroger--but I can't recall what section it is usually in. I *think* it's with the baking stuff, like cocoa powder, baking powder, etc.You probably already have the other ingredients for it.

We use so much of it that I buy it in bulk on Amazon. I do leave out the turmeric when making the powder, only because of the color--we use the powder when making seitan, and we don't want the seitan to be yellow). To use this for broth, like called for in the Beans & Greens recipe, use one tablespoon of powder for each cup of water. (So, you'd use 4 Tbsp. of powder + 4 cups of water in this recipe.) I wouldn't substitute this broth, because it's part of what makes it so good!

**Note about collard greens: I buy them in a bundle (not chopped in a bag) because I like to remove the the thick stem in the middle. It takes a little longer, but I cut each leaf in half, removing the entire stem that runs down the center. Then I stack all the leaves and chop them on the small side--about the size of a quarter--because they fit on the spoon easier when you're eating.


In a large sauce pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Then add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until they are soft, about five minutes (lower the heat if needed so they don't burn). Add the garlic and cook another minute or two (don't burn the garlic), stirring frequently.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a slow boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the collard greens are the texture you like. (If you like your collard greens on the firmer side, don't add them until after about five minutes.) Remove the bay leaves (it takes some searching sometimes, with the collard greens in there!).

Add the lemon juice and stir, then taste and add more salt if needed.

I really hope that you love this as much as I do! It makes me feel loved, and that's the best comfort food there is.


  1. Thank you! I want Ed to try this. And that video is everything. Hugs.

  2. I'm still SO bummed about American Housewife being cancelled. Any time we see the name Gregg.....we can't help but thing of Katie yelling out "GREGGG!!!"


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