Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dirty Rice with Collards, Chickpeas, and Savory and Spicy Seasonings

I like to search for delicious recipes and often adapt ones I see on the Internet to satisfy my culinary and health needs. Several months ago I had the good fortune to convert a Cajun/Southern Dirty Rice Dish which originally featured animal protein into a Plant-based, Gluten Free, Main Dish Delight. The ingredients I use are top-notch, rich in plant-based calcium, protein, flavor, and antioxidants.

I’d never heard of “Dirty Rice,” until I spotted a vegan rendition from Letty's Kitchen. She eats this dish as a simple supper with a salad.

My hubby and I have made several changes to the basic recipe, and use it as a go to dish when we crave spicy, wholesome, and filling. Please let me know what you think about my version.


3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup long grain brown rice (I used brown Basmati for the aroma and taste)
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) approximately 1 ¾ cups
1 bunch collards greens (about ten leaves) middle stalk (stem) removed from each piece
1 chopped red or yellow onion, or a bunch of scallions to equal 1 cup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium non-GMO gluten free soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper up to 1/4 teaspoon depending on how hot you like it
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

What to do:

1. In a sauce pan, bring 2 cups vegetable stock to a boil. Add the rice, bay leaf, and turmeric. Cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 to 40 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Let the rice sit for a few minutes. Then, fluff it with a fork.

2.While the rice is cooking, prepare the collard greens, (one cup contains 10% of the RDA of protein and 27% for calcium). For additional information about health benefits see What's New and Beneficial About Collards. Wash collards in cool water. Place one leaf on your cutting board at a time. Remove the tough stalk that runs down the leaf by slicing down each side of the stalk. Save the stalks for your compost pile. Stack the collard leaves one on top of each other, with the leaf tips all at the same end. Roll the stack tightly in a long tube. Starting at the thick end, slice the collards as thinly as possible to make spaghetti like strands. Then cut the strands across into ½ in. pieces.

3.Place raw pumpkin seeds in a roasting pan in the oven. Pumpkin Seed Health Benefits from Medical News Today. Set temperature to 450° F. When that temp is reached, remove the seeds from oven and let sit.

4.Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion or scallions. Sauté until tender, which will take approximately 5-7 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and grated ginger and sauté another two minutes.

5.Pour in the last cup of vegetable broth and add chickpeas into the mixture. I enjoy eating chickpeas as this pulse is full of flavor. Half a cup provides 6g of protein, 6 g of fiber, and 10% of the DV for Iron. Then, stir in the collard strands and cover the skillet. Cook over medium-heat about 15 minutes, until the collards are just tender and chickpeas are hot. Transfer to a colander and drain well.

6.Combine collards, chickpeas, roasted pumpkin seeds, Bragg Liquid Aminos, cayenne, and nutritional yeast with the rice and mix well. Grind in a generous amount of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve piping hot or at room temperature. This recipe will serve 4-6 hungry people. The picture below illustrates this fabulous dish being served with a tossed green salad, one topped with beets and creamy bean dressing.

Notes About this Recipe: 

I grow and shop for organic ingredients and prepare them as often as I can. I usually don't label food as organic in the recipes I post, but want you to know organic foods taste better and are better for you than conventional ones. Read Organic Oven Baked Cottage Fries and a Full Explanation About Why Organic is Best.
The first time I made a dirty rice recipe, I used a leek instead of an onion (see Letty’s recipe at the link above). It tasted delightful, though it was labor intensive and more expensive than using onion. Leeks require a lot of prep, as dirt hides in every layer. I like simple and cost effective so I tried onion the next time I tested my recipe, and scallions the third. Feel free to use what you like as the flavor is good each way.
Nutritional yeast is inactive yeast, most often enriched with Vitamin B-12. It adds a savory layer of flavor and contributes to the pleasing golden yellow color of the dish. Nutritional yeast is available in the bulk section of most markets.
Bragg Liquid Aminos is a non-GMO Project Verified liquid protein concentrate  and 1/2 teaspoon supplies 290 mg of soy protein. It can replace soy sauce or tamari sauce in many recipes. I like its bold flavor, and feel good that it doesn’t contain gluten, MSG, or ingredients that are genetically modified.

Ginger helps digestion and acts as a stomach aide. It adds a kick, a spicy, pungent yet invigorating note to dishes. Facts About Ginger. 

Turmeric (especially an element in it called curcumin) is a miracle spice that adds tang, color, and powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties to foods. My research and cooking experience shows that it heightens flavor and increases the meals’ health benefits. Be mindful to use it in recipes where you can also use black pepper and oils like those found in flax, olives, or avocados to increase the body’s ability to absorb it. See Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. Also see What's New and Beneficial About Turmeric.

Please don't forget to let me know whether you're going to try this recipe. Do you often experiment with new recipes? Are you willing to learn something new, as well as take advantage of a meals' good taste and health enhancing benefits? After you comment below, please remember to click on the word publish.

Our quote for the day follows: "My mom's collard greens. No one else in the world can make them like hers. I'm not just saying that because she's my mom. She's got some Mississippi secret. I could seriously eat them every day." Santigold at Brainy Quotes.

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  1. HI Nancy,
    Sounds so tasty and healthy with all those spices and herbs. I have eaten collard greens - no sure why. I actually never see them at any of the farmers produce stands that we go to. I guess their more of a southern vegetable and grow better in the climates that are warmer all year round. Thanks for sharing this recipe and I will share it on google, twitter & pin it.

    1. Hi Marla, Thanks for the comment Marla. I checked on growing conditions that are suitable for collards, but didn't put a link in my post. Here's one to clarify things https://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-collards/. I'm going to plant some in late summer, because I just love collards bold flavor and health benefits.

    2. Hi Nancy,
      Great looking recipe and beautiful picture displays! I also appreciate the links to good nutrition. I'll definitely share!

    3. Thanks Marianne Cannon. I'm happy I supplied info you can use. Wishing you a great weekend.

  2. I like your version Nancy. Will share. <3

    1. Thanks Letty. I appreciate the help. Keep on blogging dear one. I love your style.

  3. Hi Nancym
    Since I already commented I will just say that I Congratulations on being featured on Healthy Happy Green & Natural blog hop.

    1. Thanks Marla. Congrats on your featured post too. I'll comment there and share your post as well. Here's wishing you a blessed day.

  4. Nancy,
    I am a big fan of greens- the darker and more bitter the better! This recipe looks delicious and I love your presentation.

    1. Thanks Judee. If you're a big fan of greens, you must be a healthy eater. It continues to amaze me how many taste and nutrition factors are in leafy greens. More and more studies show a plant-based meal plan with plenty of greens either prevents or help cure serious illness like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.


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