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Rice and Beans and Collard Greens

June 22, 2010

Rice and Beans and Collard Greens

I believe I’ve talked about rice and beans quite a lot here on this site. It’s one of my staple dishes: filling, cheap, and easy to make enough for lunch all week. And even better: It is very versatile. Just change up the herbs and spices you throw in the mix and you have a whole different dinner on your hands. Last week I got a bunch of collard greens in my CSA share, and as I thought about what to do with them, I realized a Cajun-style rice and beans dish might be in order. I originally thought of making some kind of jambalaya, but I’m not sure it’s quite right to call a dish jambalaya unless it contains shrimp and/or andouille sausage. I used beans instead of meat, and whether or not it’s properly jambalaya, it is pretty darn good.

Collard greens are usually slow cooked with some kind of pig parts: a ham hock or at least some bacon to impart a rich smokiness to the sometimes bitter greens. I figured out awhile ago that smoked paprika adds that smoky flavor without adding meat, so I usually use it with any tough, bitter greens. I suspect it might fool even a true Southerner. Maybe.

I used cuban-style black beans in this dish, but any basic black beans should work just fine. Perhaps you can add some canned hatch chiles to approximate the style, if you want. I figured Cuban was close enough to Cajun (which shows that I’m truly not from the South).

Cajun-style rice and beans with collards

These would be delicious with any kind of greens, I’m sure, so if you’re still awash in them this spring (or is it early summer now?), give them a try. If you’re using tough greens like kale, beet greens, mustard greens, or collard greens, cook them with the rice. If you’re using more delicate greens, you might want to saute them separately and stir them in at the end, so they don’t disintegrate. Arugula might be really nice here, in which case, you could just stir it in at the end, uncooked, and it will wilt up just enough.

Cajun-Style Rice and Beans with Collard Greens

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large hunch of collard greens, stems removed, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 cup wild rice or brown rice
  • 1 14-ounce can of black beans
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. When it’s hot, add the onion and saute for about a minute. Then stir in the green pepper and saute for a few minutes more. Add the collards, and stir well, then sprinkle in the smoked paprika and Cajun seasoning. Saute until the collards begin to wilt. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add beans, tomatoes, and broth, cover the pot, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is done, about 40 minutes. Stir well, and serve.

If you’re using a more delicate green, saute the greens and the smoked paprika separately, with a little extra olive oil, in a large skillet, and stir into the rice and beans when the rice is cooked through.

See what I’m saying? Easy as pie.

Rice and Beans and Greens

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2011 7:14 am

    That looks so good! My wife, from the south, usually cooks the collards with both ham hocks and fatback, which really gives it a good flavor.

  2. CSA monster. permalink
    March 21, 2011 5:32 pm

    lived in New Orleans since 1998, & this is delicious. while Cuban & Cajun are pretty different, Cuban & Creole are close, & of course Cuban, etc. was a huge influence on Creole cuisine, so you were right on track. we are vegetarian, get LOTS of collards from our CSA, & think the smoked paprika is genius. thank you for a truly wonderful dish. (o:

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