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Caribbean Black Eyed Pea & Collard Green Curry

Happy new year, everyone! Hoping that 2019 has gotten off to a gentle start for you all.

As the Eve approached–right after sharing these thoughts about resilience–I found myself feeling a little tender. No amount of resistance to NYE hype stops me from feeling lonely for companionship at this time of year. I started to wonder if maybe my buoyant words had been a stretch.

Then I woke up yesterday, on an unusually warm and winter morning in NYC. I felt keenly aware of how lucky I was to be in the city, facing a new day and even a whole new year. I watched the sunrise–it looked like someone had painted a watercolor outside my window–and took time to reflect on all of the good stuff: family, friendship, connection, words, food. I thought back to some wise words that a close friend had offered me about patience the night before, and to a particularly sweet text exchange I’d had with Ashley. Everything seemed different than it had the night before, which isn’t to say that both set of feelings weren’t equally OK, or equally true. It felt like resilience in action.

This morning, I got a hilarious comment on my last weekend reading post from a friend and reader who mentioned having a “mini meltdown” over “cornbread technical difficulties.” I laughed so hard that I nearly spit out my coffee, thinking back to the many times when cooking glitches have sent me into panic mode. It was such a good reminder that resilience and flexibility are things that many of us have to practice–and that we’re all in it together.

Anyway, moving to the topic of food, this is a recipe that I made over the weekend, so that I’d have it for Jan 1 and beyond (since collards and black-eyed peas are traditional good luck food for a new year, at least in the American South). I wanted to treat the ingredients a little differently this year, so I settled on the idea of a curry. It’s a Caribbean inspired curry, which I made with Jamaican curry powder (any curry powder you have is just fine), coconut milk, coriander, and a touch of cinnamon and allspice.

The dish is perfect served over rice, which is how I’ve been eating it, but like most stew-like food, you could scoop it over any favorite grain, or even serve it over a baked potato (or sweet potato) or with some sort of flatbread. It’s flavorful, easy to make more or less hot depending on the type of peppers you used (I used jalapeno) and whether you’d like to add a pinch of cayenne. And it’s a one pot dish that freezes well, which, when I recently did an IG poll to see what type of recipe people wanted more of in the new year, was the clear winner. That’s good news for me, as it’s the type of meal I need most when the DI hours are in full swing!

Here it is.


  • 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil, such as safflower or grapeseed
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (use serrano for extra heat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican curry powder (or whatever curry you have)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 14.5- ounce can regular or fire-roasted, diced tomatoes (substitute 1 large, fresh tomato, chopped)
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and chopped (6-7 ounces)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper, if desired
  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and sliced into ribbons
  • 1 cup full-fat, canned coconut milk or cashew cream
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste
  • cooked rice, millet, quinoa, or another favorite grain, for serving


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and peppers. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and clear. Add the garlic, curry, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, and a few tablespoons water. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic and spices are very fragrant.
  • Add the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, potato, and broth or water to the pot, along with salt to taste (I used 3/4 teaspoon) and cayenne if you’d like. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk and collards to the pot. Stir everything well, then re-cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste, add lime juice as desired, and serve over rice or your favorite grain!


*Substitute a few tablespoons vegetable broth for a no oil version.

It’s been so nice to start 2019 with this flavorful meal (a few servings of which are already in the freezer, where they’ll keep for up to six weeks). I haven’t been putting much pressure on myself to cook since my hospital rotation wrapped up, but–maybe unsurprisingly–I’ve been aching to be in the kitchen, especially since I have more time and more space in which to dream up recipe ideas. Hoping I’ll be able to revisit some favorites from Power Plates in the next few weeks, along with other, new meals.

Wishing you a wonderful first week of the year, friends. Till Sunday.


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