BBQ Beans & Greens

If you miss the tangy, sweet flavor of BBQ sauce, but not all the salt and sugar, you will love this recipe. It’s easy to make and uses pineapple as its secret ingredient.

This is a guest recipe by Katie Mae, whom I teach with at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA. Katie Mae is a nutritionist and culinary educator. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University. Katie Mae’s goal is to support and inspire people interested in adopting a plant-based diet and lifestyle. You can read more about her services and recipes at Plant-Based Katie.

water to sauté
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 entire bunch of greens (kale, chard, collards), chopped into bite-size pieces
1 can cooked pinto beans (or 1-1/2 cups), drained and rinsed
1 can cooked white beans (cannelini or white Northern) (or 1-1/2 cups), drained/rinsed

3/4 cups water
5 dates, pitted and chopped
1 can (6-oz.) of tomato paste
1 can (8-oz.) of chunked pineapple, including juice (in juice, not corn syrup), or 1/2 cup each of juice and diced pineapple
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground paprika (plain or smoky flavor)

1. Place the pitted and chopped dates into a blender with the 3/4 cups water to soften.

2. In a large soup pot or skillet, sauté the onion in a tablespoon or two of water, just enough so that it does not stick, for 2 minutes until soft. Turn heat to medium-low and add the chopped greens and beans and cook for a 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In the blender, add to the water and dates: the tomato paste, pineapple and juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, granulated onion and garlic, and paprika. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the sauce to the pot of onions, beans and greens, and stir until evenly mixed. Cook on low for 5 to 10 minutes to incorporate the flavors, then serve.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6


Spice it up: If you like a hot and spicy sauce, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or other hot-n-spicy blend of your choice.

Baked Beans: You may also transfer the finished recipe into a baking dish for “baked beans.” Bake covered for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Above: By using a rotary cheese grater, you can grind a few unsalted pistachos (or any nut) over the top to add a little richness.

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  1. Dennie says

    Just made it – very good. Followed recipe exactly except I only had a 20 oz can of pineapple and I used the whole can. Excellent flavor.

  2. Rebekah says

    This was so good served over brown rice. I’m excited I could use kale successfully. And after chopping the bunch of it, I have half left over.

    • says

      Hey Rebekah, I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe. I just wanted to mention how the kale cooks down a lot. So I usually add a whole bunch or as much as I can. I’m always surprised at how what seems like a lot can end up to be a much smaller amount.

  3. Charlie Dain says

    I learned to make this at True North. Since coming home I make this every 7 – 10 days. It is still my favorite.

  4. says

    I made this a few nights ago and it’s the first recipe I’ve made from this blog that I didn’t like. I found it a little too acidic/vinegary for my tastes. Maybe it was due to the type of apple cider vinegar I used (Braggs) or maybe it’s just me! My husband really liked it so it’s possible it’s just not for me. I will definitely keep trying recipes from straightupfood though, because everything else I made was delicious!

  5. Kris McCormack says

    Thank you Katie for this delicious recipe! And thank you, Cathy, for sharing your blog space to pass it on to us!

    Some changes I made: I did not have any canned pineapple, so I cut a fresh one. I prepared it early and let it sit for a few hours, hoping it would ooze juice as they sometimes do. This one didn’t — at least, it did not give me nearly enough for the 1/2 cup the recipe called for. I just doubled up on the pineapple, added a touch more water and a tiny bit more apple cider vinegar. My tomato paste comes in 7 oz. glass jars, so I had slightly more of that than is called for, too. Also, I like garlic, so I pretty much doubled that.

    I think this would make a fabulous meal over some baked or oven roast potatoes, with Cathy’s coleslaw on the side.

    Thanks, again, Katie and Cathy!


  6. Angela W. says

    This stuff is wicked good. I didn’t have a can of pineapple, so I simply used frozen. I slightly adjusted the water and it turned out great. I have very diligently been following the McDougall diet for many years. I’ve been listening to Chef AJ extol the virtues of SOS in her recent recorded conference calls with Wendy from “Healthy Girls Kitchen”. As a result, I’ve decided to refine my diet a bit by trying the SOS approach. Thanks so much for this blog and all of the great tips and recipes.

  7. Natasha says

    This recipe was delicious! I followed it exactly as written, and I had great results. Next time, I might only use 4 dates (medjool), but otherwise, it is perfect as written for me. Thank you Katie and Cathy!

    • says

      Hi Nancy, it means salt, oil and sugar free. I do not add any refined salt, oil or sugar to my recipes, I just rely on whole foods for flavors of sodium, fat and sweetness. :)

  8. says

    I really love this recipe I’ve tried it several times and I really enjoy it!
    Question,is it okay to eat eggs I’m following your SOS diet

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