A bowl filled with Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans And Rice is pure comfort food — Andouille sausage with veggies and red beans in a luxuriously creamy and flavorful sauce. This makes an ultra-filling meal.

A bowl filled with Red Beans and Rice

 Recipe Origins– Red Beans And Rice

An authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe can take quite a bit of time. From soaking beans overnight to lengthy simmer times, it’s a time commitment to make!

Traditionally, this dish of Creole cuisine was made on Mondays with red beans, vegetables, spices, and pork bones left over from Sunday dinner. The ingredients were cooked together slowly in a pot, simmering all day on the stove, and then served over rice. Meats like ham and sausage (usually andouille) are also frequently used in the dish.

QUICK TIP

Why Red Beans and Rice on Monday? Back in the day, Monday was wash day and women spent most of the day by a pond or a river, scrubbing clothes on a washboard or even on rocks. Being so busy with the laundry left little time for cooking dinner. Once beans were soaked and simmering, they could be left to cook on their own while the ladies tended to the washing. Nowadays, we don’t have such things to contend with. That’s progress!

Red Beans And Rice With Canned Beans

So while this recipe for Red Beans And Rice isn’t completely traditional, it’s inspired by a New Orleans recipe with similar flavors and ingredients.

This recipe, though, is easy, quick, and requires a fraction of the simmering time! It’s perfect for when you’re craving this classic dish, but don’t have all day to make it! There are a few shortcuts in this recipe– the biggest one being that we use canned red beans instead of dried ones! Also, we boil the rice — yes, really — the best shortcut!

This meal is rich and indulgent tasting with so much flavor, a whole lot of protein and fiber, and makes a great dish to have for leftovers throughout the week or a freezer-friendly meal–eat half today and save the rest for another time.

Process shots: brown sausage; drain and remove; add onion, celery and bell pepper to the same pan.

How To Make Red Beans And Rice

The full printable recipe is below, and here I’ll share some top tips for making this recipe:

  • Take time to sauté the veggies. The bell pepper, onion, and celery create a heightened flavor dimension.  Take the time to sauté them well to develop that extra zing. Plus, you won’t end up with crunchy onion in your Red Beans and Rice!
  • Rinse and drain the beans. Otherwise, the dish will be too salty; we’ll add in our own liquid of flavorful chicken stock!
  • Mash a portion of the beans. For an ultra-creamy and comforting dish, we like to blend up a portion of the beans and veggies. This is totally optional, but our favorite way to enjoy this dish. Alternatively, you can leave the dish as is, or use the back of a large fork to mash some of the beans against the side of the pot.

VARIATIONS

  • Red beans and rice for a crowd. This recipe makes quite a bit, but can easily be doubled or tripled. When making bigger batches, add the sausage in separate batches instead of throwing it all in together at the same time. This will ensure the meat gets a nice sear instead of being “stewed” in the rendered fat.
  • Vegetarian red beans and rice. To make this recipe without the sausage, use a vegetarian sausage or just leave it out entirely. Without the sausage, the dish is missing a bit of flavor, but nothing a few extra spices plus some extra salt/pepper can’t make up for! Just play around with the flavors a little, adding extra spice until the flavors sing.

Process shots: sauté onion and pepper until tender; add garlic, tomato paste and seasonings; continue to cook; add beans, sausage, bay leaf and broth.

What Kind of Sausage Should I Use?

Traditionally, this dish is made with andouille sausage, a smoked pork sausage popular in Louisiana. If you can’t find this sausage, any type of smoked pork or beef sausage will work great.

The sausage is the biggest variable in this recipe — depending on the type used, this dish can be fairly mild or quite spicy. It will also play a big part in the flavor. We’ve made this dish quite a few times, trying all the available andouille sausages and it ends up a little different every time.

So, when making this dish with sausage, play around a little with the salt, pepper, and spices. If the sausage is pretty hot, you may want to leave out any additional hot sauce or cayenne pepper. If it’s mild, you may want to amp up these hot flavors. And depending on how salty it is, you may want to season a little less or more.

Process shots: simmer the pot covered and later uncovered; remove some of the mixture and blend to thicken the sauce.

Is Red Beans And Rice Spicy?

It can be — it all depends on the ingredients you use. The heat level really depends on the sausage used (usually the package will indicate the heat level). 

  • For more heat, add in some cayenne pepper and/or hot sauce. Use a medium or spicy sausage
  • For less heat, leave out the optional hot sauce and cayenne pepper. Use mild sausage.

Is Red Beans and Rice Good For Weight Loss?

One of the great things about this dish is how much protein and fiber are in it!

Both are important parts of a balanced diet, and, among many other benefits, they are linked to reducing food intake and appetite. This is because high-fiber and high-protein foods are more satiating than low-fiber/low-protein foods– meaning you will likely stay satisfied for longer while eating less.

For a lower fat recipe, replace the andouille sausage with smoked turkey sausage.

Process shots: return the blended mixture to the pot and stir in parsley; mix well and serve over rice.

STORAGE

Storing Leftover Red Beans And Rice

For leftovers throughout the week, divide the cooled leftovers into several single-portion containers. Refrigerate for 5-7 days, warming leftovers in the microwave or stovetop. This dish only gets more flavorful as it sits!

To freeze, allow leftovers to cool. Again, divide into single-portion containers (it’s easier to thaw that way) or in airtight freezer-safe bags (seal without air and flatten bags to set on a shelf in the freezer). Freeze for up to 3 months, thawing in the fridge overnight. Warm thawed leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Closeup view of Red Beans and Rice in a bowl.

What Vegetables Go with Red Beans And Rice?

One of the nice things about this Red Beans and Rice is there are quite a few veggies already in the recipe! Here are some other ideas:

What To Serve With Red Beans And Rice:

 

Red Beans And Rice

Red Beans And Rice is pure comfort food — andouille sausage with veggies and red beans in a luxuriously creamy and flavorful sauce. This makes such an ultra-filling meal.

Red Beans And Rice

Red Beans And Rice is pure comfort food — andouille sausage with veggies and red beans in a luxuriously creamy and flavorful sauce. This makes such an ultra-filling meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 pkg. (13 oz.) smoked andouille sausage, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 sweet onion, diced (~1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (~1 cup)
  • 1-1/3 cup diced celery (~3 large ribs)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (~3-4 cloves)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 3 cans (15 oz. EACH) red beans, drained and rinsed (Note 2)
  • 3 cups good quality chicken stock (like Swanson)
  • 1 bay leaf, optional
  • 1-1/4 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, hot sauce and/or cayenne pepper for more heat! (Note 3)

Instructions

  • SAUSAGE: Add 1 tbsp oil to a large stockpot or cast iron pot over medium heat. Add thinly sliced sausage in a single layer, and cook, stirring frequently until sausage is lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage to a paper-towel-lined plate and tent with foil. Leave any grease behind; if there is an excess of 2 tablespoons drain off the surplus.

  • VEGGIES: Add 1-1/2 cups diced onion, 1 cup diced bell pepper and 1-1/3 cup diced celery to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and onion is translucent, about 7-10 minutes.

  • FLAVORING: Add in 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tbsp. garlic, 1-1/2 tsps Cajun seasoning, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp oregano and salt & pepper to taste (I add 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper). Stir until very fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

  • SIMMER: Finally, add in 3 cans (drained and rinsed) red beans, 3 cups chicken stock, and 1 bay leaf. Return the sausage to the pot. Bring to a boil and then cover the pot with a lid; reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

  • PREPARE RICE: Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Here’s how we do it: Fill a large pot with water and set it to boil. Once the water is at a rolling boil, salt the water and add in 1-1/4 cup uncooked rice. Cook without, reducing the heat, for 6 minutes (Taste test to ensure it is tender.) and then drain and fluff with a fork. Set aside for now. (See note 3.)

  • OPTIONAL MASH BEANS: After the dish has finished simmering, you can mash some of the beans. Two ways to do this: either use a wooden spoon to mash beans until slightly thickened or remove 1-1/2 cups of the beans and surrounding liquid (avoiding pieces of sausage) and blend until smooth. Use a spatula to scrape all blended beans back into the pot. If desired, mix in 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley. Stir and taste, seasoning with additional salt and pepper (I usually add another 1/4 up to 1/2 tsp salt) if needed (Note 3).

  • FINISHING: Serve with hot sauce and cayenne pepper, if desired. Serve over cooked rice and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sausage: Traditionally, this dish is made with andouille sausage; if you can’t find this sausage, any type of smoked pork or beef sausage will work great. This ingredient is the biggest variable in this recipe — depending on the sausage used, this dish can be fairly mild or quite spicy. It will also play a big part in the flavor and saltiness of the dish. (We’ve made this dish quite a few times trying all the andouille sausage available to us and it ends up a little different every time!) 
Note 2: Red beans: Not to be confused with kidney beans– the two are different! Be sure to drain and rinse beans before using.
Note 3: Finishing touches: Depending on the sausage used, you may need to play around a little with the salt, pepper, and spices. If the sausage is pretty hot, you may want to leave out any additional hot sauce or cayenne pepper. If it’s mild, you may want to amp up these hot flavors (start with 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp hot sauce and increase from there). And depending on how salty the sausage is, you may want to season a little less or more.
Note 3: Rice: This recipe uses basmati rice. The cooking technique only works with this type of rice. If you’re using long-grain white rice or any other rice, use your traditional cooking method instead of this boiling technique.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.8g | Protein: 20.6g | Fat: 14.1g | Cholesterol: 23.4mg | Sodium: 756.1mg | Fiber: 10.5g | Sugar: 3.8g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.