BBQ & Greens

By Rip Esselstyn

Recipe by Katlin Mae

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


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 cup water
5 dates, pitted and chopped
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (8 oz.) 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 cup 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.


Rip Esselstyn is a mission-driven man. As a swimmer at the University of Texas at Austin, he was a three time All-American. As a professional athlete, he was one of the premier triathletes in the world for more than a decade. As a firefighter for the Austin (TX) Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin’s Engine 2 ate to save firefighters’ health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, he is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health. Recently, he has teamed up with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Partner to raise awareness for Whole Foods Market team members, customers, and all of America about the benefits of eating a Plant Strong diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Rip comes from a family steeped in medicine. His great-grandfather, George Crile, co-founded the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, where his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., was chief of the breast cancer task force and completed one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on the relationship between the heart and diet–proving that a plant-based diet can stop, prevent, and even reverse heart disease.  

Rip serves on the Board of Directors for The Wellness Foundation, EarthSave’s Meals For Health Program, and the AllergyKids Foundation.

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