Red Beans and Rice combines vegetables like yellow onion, green bell pepper, and celery with garlic, white rice, and andouille sausage to create the perfect New Orleans-inspired dish.
Red Beans and Rice is a simple recipe to pull off that exudes the excitement associated with New Orleans and French Louisiana. The trick is to blend together a colorful variety of vegetables and spices and transform a simple pairing of protein-rich legumes and starch-heavy carbs into a stew that’s utterly symbolic of Southern culinary tradition. With a total cook time of three hours, this dish might take a while but it’s well worth the wait.
Historically, the long cook time, along with the classic ingredients made this dish a popular choice for Monday night dinner. People would typically use their ham bone from Sunday night dinner to make the dish. It’s a great way to create wonderful flavor while using what you already have on hand. Monday was also typically wash day so the meal could be prepared, then set to simmer for a long time on the stove while laundry was done.
Making Red Beans and Rice at home is always a great idea, even if it isn’t a Monday or a wash day. There’s nothing better than walking into your home with a delicious smelling dinner on the stove. The smell of Red Beans and Rice that will fill your kitchen and the rest of your place will have everyone’s mouths watering.
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How to Cook Red Beans and Rice
- Prep: Soak the kidney beans overnight in water. Discard any floating beans the next day. Drain the water, and pick through the beans – making sure there are no rocks present.
- Cook: In a large dutch oven on medium heat, add the oil, celery, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for five minutes until softened, then add in the beans, chicken broth, bay leaves, cayenne, oregano, and Cajun seasoning. Reduce heat to medium-low, cooking uncovered for 2 ½ hours.
- Sausage: Add in the sausage and cook an additional 30 minutes. Remove each bay leaf from the stew, then serve over rice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Red Beans and Rice
Most people think of beans and rice as a side dish. However this dish is versatile enough to be both a main and a side! Serve it up however you like. Sometimes you’ll see it in restaurants as a main dish and that will work well at home. This dish could also be a co-star alongside a beautiful salad.
As you can see in this recipe, beans take a while to cook. The cook time is 3 hours for Red Beans and Rice! However, that cook time would be even longer without soaking the beans. They begin to soften up while soaking, and it also helps ensure the beans cook evenly, and aids in digestion!
The spice in this dish comes from a teaspoon of cayenne and a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. Those alone will not create a super spicy dish, but it will have a nice, warm, mild spice flavor. You can decrease or increase the seasonings if you like a little more or less spice.
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Looking for More Spice?
Anyone who has this dish as an entrée is more than welcome to add black pepper or Tabasco hot sauce to taste. Not only that, anyone who is making this dish from scratch can make slight variations to the recipe without having to sacrifice any of the “je ne sais quoi” that comes with the meal.
For example, creole seasoning tends to focus more on bringing out the flavor of tomatoes and herbs far more than Cajun spices, which emphasize the effect peppers have on a dish. You can choose either approach to the recipe, and it will still come off as authentic, so feel free to experiment with whatever strikes your fancy.
If you are out of something, or don’t like it, chances are you have options. Use olive oil over vegetable oil for an easy substitution that’s also healthier! If you aren’t a fan of white rice, why not try Brown rice or long-grain rice. If you don’t like kidney beans try black beans or even pinto beans – anything is fair game! Along that same line, if you don’t have andouille sausage, you might be wondering what substitutes will work in the dish. Well, any meat will do in this recipe.
If you try it with andouille sausage this time and don’t like it, next time, you can try ham hock, Italian sausage, or any other type of meat including meat substitutions. You can also switch it up to use chicken or turkey sausage. Think of this recipe as a base. As long as the meats you are using pair well with tomatoes and peppers you’ll be set to go! Try something new and if you don’t like it, try something different!
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How to Store Red Beans and Rice
- Serve: Don’t leave Red Beans and Rice out for longer than 2 hours.
- Store: You can store Red Beans and Rice in the refrigerator and it will stay good for about 4 days. Make sure you cool it down before placing in the fridge.
- Freeze: Store in an airtight container in the freezer and Red Beans and Rice will keep for about 6 months.
- 1 pound dry red kidney beans
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion , chopped
- 4 stalks celery , chopped
- 1 green bell pepper , chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 pound andouille sausage , sliced
- 4 cups white rice , cooked
- Soak the kidney beans overnight in water. Discard any floating beans the next day.
- Drain the water, and pick through the beans, making sure there are no rocks present.
- In a large dutch oven on medium heat, add the oil, celery, onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
- Cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Then add in the beans, chicken broth, bay leaves, cayenne, oregano, and cajun seasoning.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cooking uncovered for 2 ½ hours.
- Add in the sausage and cook an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove each bay leaf from the stew, then serve over rice.