Slow-Cooked Chickpeas and Kale

With all the cookies and sweets coming out of my kitchen this month, it’s a wonder that Dan and I haven’t gone into diabetic shock.  So my new goal for the month is to come up with some light, healthy and protein-packed meals to balance it all out.  Eggs scrambled with diced tomatoes and Swiss cheese.  Tuna sandwiches with a side of carrots and hummus.  Whole wheat pasta topped with homemade marinara or pesto and vegetables I froze this summer.  And now, BBQ beans and kale, served over brown rice.

The best part is, of course, that the bulk of this dish takes 5 minutes to put together, and cooks all day while you work or bake or decorate for the holidays.  All you have to do at the end of the day is add the kale and cook the rice.

Slow Cooker 1w

Slow-Cooked Chickpeas and Kale

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Yield: 4-6 servings

Slow-Cooked Chickpeas and Kale

Ham hocks can often be found at the butcher’s counter for a very low price. If you can’t find a smoked hock, add an extra 1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika when you cook the beans. These beans are best served over rice. For this dish, I recommend cooking 1 1/2-2 cups dry brown rice in twice as much water (3-4 cups). That should be plenty of rice for everyone.


  • 1 pound dried chickpeas
  • 7 cups water or low-sodium stock
  • 1 large smoked ham hock
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 bunch kale
  • Rice and BBQ sauce, for serving


  1. Combine the chickpeas, 6 cups of liquid, ham hock, onion, garlic, paprika and chili powder in a medium to large slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours. By then, the beans should be fork-tender.
  2. Slice the kale in half lengthwise, the chop crosswise into 1″ to 2″ pieces. Remove the ham hock from the slow cooker and discard. Add the kale and 1 cup of liquid to the slow cooker. Stir and cover to cook on HIGH for another 30-40 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, cook rice according to package instructions. Typically, I prepare 1-2 cups brown rice in twice as much water (2-4 cups).
  4. Dish the cooked rice into bowls, and top with the beans and kale. Drizzle with some of your favorite BBQ sauce.


Slow Cooker 3w

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


Last Friday, I won tickets to the Pride of New York Harvest Fest from Ithaca’s Food Web. We’ve had so much to do around the house and I’ve had so much work lately that I was unsure about going to Syracuse for a day. Dan convinced me that we needed a date and a day away from our house projects (more on that soon), so we had our tickets put in Will Call and planned to head up to Syracuse on Saturday.

After getting a bit side-tracked doing some things around Ithaca, we made it to Syracuse by noon. On the drive, I worked on my new knitting project (my first in years) and we listened to the Ben Folds episode of the Nerdist podcast.

Side note: The interview with Ben Folds is entertaining and fascinating. I highly recommend it.

Once on the State Fair grounds, where the Harvest Fest was being held, we spent a few hours traveling from booth to booth, sipping wine and beer, nibbling on cheeses and tasting various sauces. Though we had fun, I have to say it wasn’t quite as awesome as the Madison Food & Wine show (very old post alert!).

However, we did come home with a bottle of an excellent sauce: Tom’s Bootleg BBQ Sauce. Tom, the friendly creator of the sauce, totally sold us on this sauce with a sample of it served over shredded chicken. I’m not usually a huge fan of BBQ sauce, but I love this one. Pulled pork for dinner just a few days later was a given.


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: PT6-8H

Yield: 10-12 servings

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


  • 7 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce, plus more for serving


  1. Trim the pork of all visible fat. Place the onions on the bottom of the crockpot and put the pork shoulder on top. Cover with the BBQ sauce, cover and cook on High for 6-8 hours. In the last half hour, reduce the heat to low so that the meat will be cool enough to handle.
  2. Transfer the meat to a large heat-safe bowl and shred the pork using two forks. Remove any gristle and the bones, then return the meat to the crockpot. Serve with additional BBQ sauce on a sandwich or over rice.

Make Ahead and Storage

The pork can be frozen in freezer bags with the air squeezed out for up to 6 months.