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7 January 2019

Red Beans and Rice is a classic Cajun comfort food recipe, with perfectly spiced beans simmered slowly in a pot with smoked andouille sausage, onions, bell peppers and celery, served up with rice for surprisingly complex flavor.

Red Beans and Rice is a dish that needs a special place in your go-to recipe box. Huge on flavor, easily adjustable, and infinitely satisfying, it works as a simple weeknight meal, a hearty weekend side dish, or a way to fill up the bellies of your hungriest party goers.

It also freezes wonderfully, so you can make an extra large batch like I do and freeze some for quick lunches and dinners throughout the week.

Bonus for me! And you!

Red Beans and Rice - in a pot

The great thing is that everything sits in a pot and simmers until the beans are soft and creamy, and all those amazing flavors mingle and develop.

There is hardly any work for you. Isn’t that great? I’ll take an EASY recipe any day of the week.

The Story of Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice is traditionally cooked on Mondays in the south, where southern cooks were able to use some of the leftover stew meat and/or bones from their Sunday night suppers.

It’s really transformed over the years, where now Red Beans and Rice is made with smoked andouille sausage and/or smoked ham, though other meats are certainly welcomed in this dish.

It truly is a southern staple dish, so hearty and satisfying, a signature of New Orleans and Cajun cuisine.

Let’s talk about how we make it, shall we?

Red Beans and Rice - in a pot with a serving spoon

How to Make Red Beans and Rice – the Recipe Method

First, heat a large pot to medium heat and add the olive oil.

Add the onion, peppers and celery and cook them until softened, about 5 minutes.

Cooking down the Cajun Holy Trinity in a pot

Add the garlic and smoked ham and cook another minute, stirring, until fragrant.

Ham added to the pot to make our Red Beans and Rice - Recipe

Add the andouille sausage, Cajun seasonings, thyme, sage, red beans and chicken broth. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat.

Andouille added to the pot to make our Red Beans and Rice - Recipe

Simmer for 90 minutes, or until the beans are tender and slightly creamy. It could take longer. Just keep testing to your desired doneness.

Stir in the vinegar and mash up the beans a bit with a spoon.

Serve over rice and garnish with chopped parsley.

Red Beans and Rice - plated and ready to serve

I always serve it with some hot sauce on the side for those who want to spice it up a little. So good with hot sauce!

Recipe Variations

  • Recipe Variations. I used smoked andouille sausage and smoked ham for my recipe, though other meats are welcomed here. Try smoked turkey or leftover turkey. Bacon is good, as well as boudin, or ham hocks, or pickled ham. It works great with chicken, too.
  • Ham Bone. Try simmering the whole pot with a ham bone for some outstanding flavor. You can also vary up your seasonings here, with your favorite Cajun or Creole seasoning blend.
  • The Beans. Also, red beans are traditional here, per the recipe name, but you can make this with other beans, such as kidney beans.
  • Dried or Canned Beans. Regarding the beans, I like to use dried beans, then soak them overnight. See below for how to do that. However, canned beans will work for this recipe as well. You just won’t need to simmer the pot as long.
  • The Rice. I cook mine without rice and serve it over rice, sometimes as the meal, though you can cook the rice into the pot the last half hour or so. When serving as a side, I cook the rice into the pot.

NOTE: Pickled pork is an often used ingredients with Red Beans and Rice, but it’s hard to find. Instead, just add a bit of apple cider vinegar to add some vibrancy to the flavor, though this is not required. Purely optional for you.

How to Soak the Beans

First, sort and rinse the beans. Add the rinsed beans to a pot with 6 cups of water. Leave it overnight, 6-8 hours for a long soak.

For a quick soak method, add the rinsed beans to a pot with 6 cups of water, then bring to a quick boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover and soak for 1 hour. Be careful not to over-soak the beans, or they can split.

NOTE: A 1 pound package of dried beans will result in 5-6 cups of cooked beans.

To Soak or Not to Soak the Beans?

Big discussion here, with opinions for both methods. Soaking can reduce cooking time and softening of the beans.

However, if you drain the beans, you may be losing some of the nutrients from the beans that have leached into the water. Soaking does help to soften the tough bean skins.

I like to add about 3 tablespoons of salt to the water for more of a brine when soaking, which helps soften the beans and adds a bit more flavor and creamy bean interiors. Also, some people report experiencing bad gas from unsoaked beans, so consider and decide accordingly.

Cooking time for soaked beans is about 1 hour, to soften them up, though it can take longer depending on a number of factors, including the age of the beans.

That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your Red Beans and Rice! Let me know how it turns out for you!

Try Some of These Other Popular Southern Recipes

Red Beans and Rice - plated and ready to serve

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Red Beans and Rice - Recipe
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4.67 from 6 votes

Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Andouille - Recipe

Red Beans and Rice is a classic Cajun comfort food recipe, with perfectly spiced beans simmered slowly in a pot with smoked andouille sausage, onions, bell peppers and celery, served up with rice for surprisingly complex flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 40 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cajun, recipe, spicy
Servings: 8
Calories: 581kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped (optional – I like it for a bit of extra heat)
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 pound chopped smoked ham Or use a ham hock instead
  • 1 pound andouille sausage sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 pound dried red beans sorted through, rinsed, soaked and drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth or more as needed
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups cooked white rice for serving
  • Chopped parsley for serving

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot to medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • Add the onion, peppers and celery and cook them until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and smoked ham and cook another minute, stirring, until fragrant.
  • Add the andouille sausage, Cajun seasonings, thyme, sage, red beans and chicken broth. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat.
  • Simmer for 90 minutes, or until the beans are tender and slightly creamy. It could take longer. Just keep testing to your desired doneness.
  • Stir in the vinegar and mash up the beans a bit with a spoon.
  • Serve over rice and garnish with chopped parsley.

Notes

Serves 8 as a main course. Calories calculated with rice.
Heat Factor: Mild

Nutrition

Calories: 581kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1640mg | Potassium: 1320mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 980IU | Vitamin C: 27.1mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 6.3mg
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