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.
Discover barbecue seasonings: Lately, I’ve fallen in love with barbecue seasonings — the kind you find right 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.
Barbecue seasoning is what I call a “flavor bomb” —something that, even in modest quantity, adds a big burst of flavor to simple preparations.
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.
Perfect pairings: 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. Or, you can serve it on a simple bed of grains, or even soft polenta.
Recipe adapted from Plant Power by Nava Atlas.
- 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.
Photos (except lacinato kale) by Hannah Kaminsky