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Red Beans and Rice

Posted by memeinge
January 26, 2015
Featured in: Frugal Feasts
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This recipe for Red Beans and Rice is an inexpensive vegetarian meal that doesn't skimp on flavor!

Red Beans and Rice, a customary Monday evening meal, is a delicious, spicy, and filling frugal feast.

by ~

 

Happy Monday Red Beans and Rice Day!

Red Beans and Rice, a quintessential New Orleans dish, is usually served on Mondays.

On Mondays, or wash day, people would take their leftover bones from Sunday supper and throw them in a pot with some beans to cook all day long. The beans would simmer nice and slow for hours while the women were washing clothes.

Even though it's no longer customary to spend Mondays washing clothes, Red Beans and Rice is still a popular dish. It's spicy, comforting, and oh so filling. Plus, it's easy on the wallet.

This recipe for Red Beans and Rice is an inexpensive vegetarian meal that doesn't skimp on flavor!

Beans, especially dried beans, are extremely budget friendly. For one pound of dry red beans you'll spend $2 and get about 90g protein. For one pound of ground sirloin, you'll spend about $6 and get around 95g protein. Meaning beans are 2/3 of the cost for almost the same amount of protein! Yay for saving money.

You can always make your Red Beans and Rice vegetarian, but I personally prefer to have a little sausage in there. That's how we ate it growing up, and that's how I'd like it to stay.

However, if I'm going to eat sausage I'm going to get the good stuff but just not have as much. I bought 12 ounces of andouille sausage {made without preservatives, artificial ingredients, or added nitrates or nitrites} for $6.

This recipe for Red Beans and Rice is an inexpensive vegetarian meal that doesn't skimp on flavor!

The very first thing you need to do is soak your beans. This couldn't be easier. Just dump the dry beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or at least 8 hours. You don't want to skip this. Beans that aren't done are so upsetting and unpleasant.

Once you've soaked the beans, you need to give yourself a good three hours to make this. But these three hours require very little work, and the reward is well-worth the time.

To start, you'll cook the sausage in a soup pot or Dutch oven and transfer to some paper towels to drain off excess fat. In the same soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions, bell peppers, and celery. Stir in the garlic and spices. Pour in the water, your soaked & drained red beans, cooked sausage, and a few bay leaves. Then you just let this simmer and thicken for hours. Literally, hours.

These hours matter. This is not a quick dish. It's not a hard dish, but it isn't a 30 minute meal. It's slow cooked, and there's just no rushing it. Correction: I'm sure you could figure out a way to make this "quick" -- maybe by using canned beans and already cooked rice or something. But just no. No. Please don't do that. Please.

Unlike the original recipe from The Plantation Cookbook {from the Junior League of New Orleans}, I only used andouille sausage {well, I used a cajun style andouille sausage that wasn't full of scary ingredients}. I also bagged the ham and the ham bone because I just don't have ham hanging around my house. Plus, I don't find it necessary as this is extremely flavorful and delicious without it. You'd never even know it's without.

It's spicy & warming but not overpowering. It's thick & creamy but not mushy. It's hearty & filling but not ridiculously unhealthy. It's perfect.

This recipe for Red Beans and Rice is an inexpensive vegetarian meal that doesn't skimp on flavor!

An easy vegetarian meal that doesn't skimp on flavor! Red Beans and Rice.
This recipe for Red Beans and Rice is an inexpensive vegetarian meal that doesn't skimp on flavor!

Red Beans and Rice

Yield

Serves 8 {Makes about 8 cups}

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry red beans
  • 12 oz. sausage, sliced {preferably andouille}
  • 2 medium onions, diced {about 2 cups}
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced {about 1 1/4 cup}
  • 4 stalks celery, diced {about 1 cup}
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced {about 4 tsp}
  • 4 cups water + more as needed
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Soak red beans in water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

  2. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté sausage until browned. Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess grease.

  3. Sauté onions, bell peppers, and celery for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic.

  4. Pour in water, and add red beans, sausage, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until beans are cooked and mixture is thick and creamy. Feel free to add extra water if needed {add about 1/4 cup water at a time}. Add salt, and taste to adjust seasoning as needed. Remove bay leaves.

  5. About 30 minutes before serving, prepare rice. {I use this method and it works perfectly every single time!}

  6. Serve red beans over rice, and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!

    Notes: *You can use regular paprika in place of the smoked paprika.
    *My red beans took just about 3 hours to get to my perfect consistency. You can mash some of the beans to make this creamier if desired.

Click for nutritional information
Calories 375
Carbohydrates 56g
Fiber 16g
Sugar 3g
Fat 6.6g
Protein 24.5g
Sodium 400mg
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memeinge

memeinge
Meme Inge is the author of the FRUGAL FEASTS Feature on HealthyAperture and is a registered dietitian/nutritionist living in sunny San Diego, CA. Growing up surrounded by a family of cooks, Meme has always been a lover of food. She started the blog Living Well Kitchen as an outlet for sharing her kitchen creations and nutrition knowledge with others. Living Well Kitchen is busting with recipes, practical nutrition advice, local restaurant reviews, fitness fun, and any other ramblings she may have. Join her as she waxes poetic about fruits & veggies and tries to make southern staples just a little bit healthier
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