Beans and greens are a match made in vegan heaven. Pairing them in dishes like this simple skillet is cheap, nourishing, and with the right seasoning, so tasty and appealing. Subtly flavored with barbecue seasoning, this can be a side or main dish, depending on what you serve it with.
Favorite greens for this dish are collards and lacinato kale, but use whatever greens you prefer or have on hand, including chard, escarole, mustard greens, spinach, arugula, or a combination.
What to serve with skillet beans and greens
This sweet and smoky beans and greens preparation goes well with so many other dishes, and is a great way to add protein to the plate.
It pairs well with pasta, potato, and grain dishes, with which it’s not so much a side dish but a side-by-side dish, pulling its own weight in all ways. You can serve it on a simple bed of grains or even soft polenta. Consider serving as a side-by -side dish with:
- Golden and Sweet Potato Salad
- Salsa Quinoa and Corn Salad
- Simple Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes
- Lemony Bulgur Pilaf with Green Beans and Mushrooms
Or, if you don’t want to keep it simple with out adding another recipe to follow, you can serve this on a bed of rice or other grain and green salad; another way to complete the meal is with corn on the cob and/or baked sweet potato and a simple slaw.
Discover barbecue seasonings
Barbecue seasoning is what I call a “flavor bomb” — something that, even in modest quantity, adds a big burst of flavor to simple preparations like this one.
You’ll find these kinds of seasoning blends in the spice section of most supermarkets. One of the major brands is McCormick®. The original Barbecue and the Mesquite flavors are my favorites, though there are several others.
To be honest, I much prefer these kinds of barbecue seasonings to liquid smoke, which is not only harder to find, but, to my palate, not nearly as flavorful. And the aroma that liquid smoke sends throughout the house, beyond the kitchen — don’t get me started.
Recipe adapted from Plant Power by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, ‘BittersweetBlog.com.
Sweet and Smoky Skillet Beans and Greens
Beans and greens are a match made in vegan heaven. Pairing them in simple dishes is cheap, nourishing, and, with the right seasoning, tasty and appealing.
- 6 to 8 collard or lacinato kale leaves (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (reduced-sodium and/or gluten-free if desired)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons good-quality ketchup
- 3 to 4 cups cooked or two 15-ounce cans beans, drained and rinsed (see Notes)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons barbecue seasoning, or to taste (see Notes)
- Freshly ground pepper or dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste
Cut the collard or lacinato leaves fairly neatly away from the stems with kitchen shears. Stack 4 or 5 similar-sized leaf halves atop one another. Roll up snugly from one of the narrow ends, then slice into very thin ribbons. Chop the slices in a few places to shorten the ribbons.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the greens and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until bright green and tender-crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. If any water is left in the pan, drain it and remove the greens to a plate.
In the same skillet, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, syrup, and ketchup. Stir together, then add the beans and stir to coat.
Add the seasoning to taste, followed by pepper or dried hot red pepper flakes. This is a season-to -taste kind of dish, so you can make it subtle or bold to your liking. Adjust the vinegar, soy sauce, syrup, and ketchup as well.
Continue cooking until the beans are hot and nicely glazed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the greens. Serve at once, or cover until needed.
Honestly, you can use whatever greens you prefer or have on hand — regular kale, chard, spinach, arugula ...
Shortcut! When you don't feel like chopping, you can always use a package of fresh baby greens — arugula, spinach, baby kale, or power greens.
Look for barbecue seasonings in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets. As I mentioned, the original Barbecue blend and Mesquite by McCormick® are my favorites.
Use your favorite variety of beans, or whatever is on hand! It’s especially nice to combine two different varieties. Try chickpeas with red or pinto beans; navy beans with black beans; or cannellini with kidney beans.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 804mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 19gProtein: 7g
Nutrition data is always an estimate depending on program used to calculate and exact products used.
Here are more delicious vegan recipes featuring collard greens
See more casseroles & skillets, and main dishes.
Wow, this was one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in a long time!!! I used kidney beans & fresh spinach, added some and subbed BBQ sauce instead of the seasoning. Next time I’m doubling the recipe!
Thank you so much, Sophie! This simple recipe is very flexible, and I’m glad you enjoyed it with your tweaks.