Easy Vegan Dirty Rice and Collard Greens

Easy vegan collard greens with rice

​The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
217 Calories
2g Fat
42g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 217
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 682mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 6g
Calcium 101mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Not everyone enjoys eating leafy green vegetables (especially those who live north of the Mason-Dixon line), but when collard greens are spiced perfectly and cooked properly, the result is simply scrumptious. This vegan rice and greens recipe gets its roots from the Deep South where collard greens were traditionally boiled in water alongside bacon or pork scraps. Here, vegetable stock is substituted for a meat-flavored broth and vegan margarine provides the medium for sautéing. The garlic, paprika, and cayenne top off the dish with a kick of spice for an updated recipe that's perfect for a vegan weeknight meal. If you're not eating vegan, substitute butter (in lieu of vegan margarine) for a satiating bit of fat.

Dirty rice and collard greens can be served as a vegetarian side dish paired with fried or baked tofu. And meat eaters can enjoy it with grilled white fish or chicken for a well-balanced meal. Or keep it a one-pot dish by tossing in some Italian sausage. This low-calorie meal is also a great option for anyone cooking on a budget. Rice—one of the cheapest foods you can buy—makes it a filling meal (even without the tofu) and the vitamins contained in the collards provide the fuel to get you through the day.

For a gluten-free option to this recipe, check the label on your vegetable broth. Or better yet, make your own stock from scratch so you know exactly what's in it. 


  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup white basmati rice (or similar long-grain variety)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt​
  • 2 cups collard greens (rinsed and chopped)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: Dash of cayenne

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegan collared greens
    ​The Spruce 
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the vegan margarine over medium heat.

    Melt vegan butter
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  3. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for two minutes or until the onion turns translucent.

    Add the onion and garlic
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  4. Add the rice and cook for one minute more.

    Add the rice
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  5. Add the vegetable broth, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt. Bring to a simmer. 

    Add broth
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  6. Add the collards and reduce the heat to low.

    Add the collard greens
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  7. Simmer for 15 to18 minutes until the rice is cooked through. Add additional stock, if necessary.

    ​The Spruce
  8. Remove the pot from the heat, taste the dish, and add black pepper or cayenne, if desired.


  • Most recipes call for the rice to be cooked al dente (still firm when bitten). However, this dish tastes best when the rice is just slightly overcooked and soft.
  • For an even spicier dish, mix in a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or a dash of hot sauce) before serving.
  • This recipe tastes even better as leftovers, so make sure you make enough to pack along for a work lunch the next day.