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)
138 Calories
4g Fat
23g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 138
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 616mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 20mg 98%
Calcium 158mg 12%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 275mg 6%
*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 basmati rice, or another long-grain rice

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups chopped collard greens, rinsed

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 dash cayenne, optional

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 2 minutes or until the onion turns translucent.

    Add the onion and garlic
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  4. Add the rice and cook for 1 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.