Tender red beans and spicy Andouille sausage are cooked into a rich dish that’s heavy on aromatics and authentic flavor. It’s that classic Southern comfort food, Louisiana Red Beans and Rice!
Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe
Red beans and Rice is one of my favorite bean dishes. Some bean recipes trend more on the lighter side of the spectrum, but this dish tastes like an absolute indulgence. It’s full of deep, rich, spicy Creole flavor, and my version here is straightforward and just simple to make.
As you may know, Red Beans and Rice stands as a testament to the culinary traditions of the South, with its roots deeply embedded in Louisiana’s rich history. This dish is not just a meal, but it’s an experience that satisfies all your senses. The inclusion of the hearty red beans and zesty Andouille sausage, complemented by a blend of spices will transport you straight to New Orleans and the heart of Creole cuisine. Every bite is a taste of Southern hospitality, or a comforting hug of flavors that feels a little nostalgic, and a bit traditional. Whether you’re seeking comfort or just something different to try, this version of red beans and rice is fantastic!
Why You’ll Love Red Beans And Rice
- Hearty and Filling: The combination of beans and rice makes for a substantial meal that will keep you full for hours.
- Rich in Flavor: The mix of spicy Andouille sausage gives the dish a depth of flavor and texture that’s hard to resist.
- Simple and Straightforward: No complicated steps or hard-to-find ingredients; it’s a recipe that even beginners can tackle without issues.
- Authentic Taste: This recipe captures the classic Southern comfort and Creole essence, making red beans and rice a beloved dish.
- Versatile: It works as a main dish or a side, and pairs well with various foods, from cornbread to greens.
- Budget-friendly: Made primarily with pantry staples, this dish offers a flavorful meal without breaking the bank.
- Perfect for Leftovers: The flavors meld and deepen over time, so it tastes even better the next day!
How To Make Red Beans And Rice
To make red beans and rice, you’ll need to start in the morning or even the night before, to soak the beans. From there, it’s a straightforward process of sautéing veggies and sausage, adding broth and beans, and simmering until done. You should also cook the rice separately, and according to the package directions.
Ingredients For Red Beans And Rice
To develop the flavors and complexity of this classic dish, this recipe calls for a colorful medley of veggies, herbs, and spices.
- Red Beans: You will need a pound of dried red beans.
- Olive Oil & Butter: For sautéing.
- Andouille Sausage: You’ll need 12 to 14 ounces of Andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices.
- Onion: I like to use a yellow onion, but a white or a Vidalia would be fine, as well.
- Celery: You’ll need 2 celery ribs, diced.
- Bell Pepper: I generally dice up one small red bell pepper and one small green bell pepper.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best here, but if you need to, you can substitute about ⅛ of a teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove.
- Salt & Pepper
- Oregano, Thyme, Paprika & Cayenne: If you want a milder dish, feel free to reduce the cayenne or omit it altogether. Add more cayenne if you like a spicy dish.
- Broth: You’ll need 6 to 8 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth. I use low-sodium broths. Homemade is also great!
- Bay Leaves: Two whole bay leaves add fragrance and pungency to the dish.
- Green Onions: Chopped, plus more for garnish.
- Parsley: Chopped parsley is the perfect garnish for red beans and rice.
- Rice: You’ll need your favorite cooked long grain rice for serving.
- Soak Beans: Put the dried red beans in a large soup pot and cover with two inches of water. Soak for eight hours or overnight.
- Brown Sausage: Heat cooking oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until browned on both sides. Remove the sausage and set aside.
- Sauté Veggies: Melt the butter in the same pot, stir in the onions, and cook over medium heat for until soft. Add the celery and bell peppers; cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
- Add Seasonings & Broth: Season with salt, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Pour in the vegetable broth and stir, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add Beans, Sausage & Bay Leaves: Drain and rinse the soaked beans, and then add them to the pot, along with the andouille sausage and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the beans are soft and tender.
- Continue Cooking: Discard the bay leaves. Transfer a cup of the beans to a bowl; using a fork, mash the beans well. Return them to the pot and stir to incorporate. If the dish is too thick, add up to one cup of water. Taste for seasonings, and adjust accordingly. Stir in the parsley and green onions, and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Enjoy! Serve your veggies, sausage and red beans over hot cooked rice.
Are Red Beans and Kidney Beans the Same Thing?
What do we mean by “red beans”? Well, they aren’t quite the same as kidney beans. Red beans are smaller, and they have a reddish pink color, while kidney beans are larger and more of a reddish brown. Both will work fine in this recipe, but kidney beans tend to have thicker outer skin than red beans, so some cooks prefer not to use them.
Do I Have to Soak the Beans?
This is really up to you. There are two main reasons to soak beans: on the one hand, it is supposed to shorten the cooking time by about ten minutes. Secondly, soaking the beans is supposed to make them easier to digest. So, if that’s important to you, go for it!
What is Andouille Sausage?
Andouille sausage in the U.S. (as opposed to France, where it originated) is a smoky, highly seasoned, flavorful sausage. Like hard salami and prosciutto, it’s somewhat dry. In Louisiana, it’s a very traditional and popular ingredient, used in all kind of ways. Like in this Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. If you don’t have Andouille, feel free to substitute chorizo, or even kielbasa.
Tips for Success
Working with red beans is fairly easy, even for an inexperienced cook. But, I would like to share these tips and tricks for making the process as easy (and delicious) as possible!
- Pick Over the Beans: Dried beans are like any other raw vegetable product; they need to be cleaned properly before using. With beans, it is possible that small pebbles or bits of dirt got into the beans during the harvesting and packaging processes. So run your hands through the dry beans, turning them over to see if you find any bits of rock or dirt. Then rinse them in clean water before soaking.
- Beans Options: For authentic Red Beans and Rice, this recipe uses dry red beans. If you opt for canned beans, there are a few adjustments to note. One, you will not need to soak canned beans. Two, you’ll likely require about 2 cans (15 ounces each) of red beans. Third, since canned beans are pre-cooked, the cooking time is reduced to approximately 30 minutes.
- Add Vinegar or Lemon: When making any soupy dish and any bean dish (and red beans and rice are kind of both), I will taste the mixture before serving, and if I feel like it’s a little flat, even with the appropriate seasonings, I add a spoon or two of vinegar or lemon juice. It is a great way to boost the flavor without adding more salt or too much spice. Try it!
- Change Up the Protein: It’s not necessary to have Andouille sausage on hand to make this dish. Like many beans and rice dishes, it’s a basic way of preparing basic ingredients, and traditionally cooks would use all kinds of leftover pork meats, such as ham, ham hocks, and homemade pork sausages. Smoked turkey, too! Use what you like and what you have.
What To Serve With Red Beans and Rice?
A classic comfort food meal like this one calls for some fool-proof side dishes to go with it. Here are some of my favorite things to serve with red beans and rice.
- Green Beans: Another comforting dish, this green beans and mushrooms in cream sauce, is full of veggies, and it would go perfectly alongside hearty red beans and rice.
- Sweet Potato Wedges: These sweet potato wedges are good for you, and the taste is out of this world! I think sweet potato is a perfect side for any comfort-food entree.
- Corn: A buttery corn on the cob would be a delicious and rustic addition.
- Salad: A cool, crisp coleslaw can add a refreshing contrast.
- Dessert: This easy raspberry jam puff pastry dessert pairs nicely with spicy dishes, thanks to the refreshing raspberry flavor. You should also try this fresh berries cobbler.
- To Refrigerate: Store the beans mixture separately from the rice. Place the beans in airtight containers, and cover them tightly with a lid; store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Leftover rice should be used within 24 hours. You can make fresh rice as needed to serve the leftover beans.
- To Reheat: Place leftover beans and rice in a covered saucepan with a splash of water or broth and cook over medium heat until heated through. You can also microwave the dish for 1 minute at a time until heated through.
- To freeze, cool the beans and rice to room temperature. Place single portions of rice into freezer bags, and top with the appropriate amount of beans. Press as much air as possible out of the bags before freezing. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen.
More Creole Inspired Dishes To Try
Louisiana Red Beans And Rice
- 1 pound dry red beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 to 14 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 to 7 cups low sodium vegetable broth, you can also use chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped fresh green onions, plus more for garnish
- 1 ½ cups long grain brown rice or white rice, cooked according to the directions on the package
- Put the dry beans in a large soup pot or a large bowl; cover in water and soak for 8 hours or overnight. Water should come up about 2 inches over the beans.
- When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or a heavy pot over medium heat.
- Add the sausage slices to the heated oil and cook until browned on both sides. Stir frequently.
- Remove browned sausages from the pot and set them aside.
- Add butter to the pot and let it melt. Stir in the onions and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until starting to soften.
- Add celery and bell peppers; continue to cook for 4 minutes. Add a little more butter if needed. Stir in garlic and cook for 15 seconds.
- Season with salt, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper; continue to cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and stir, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Drain the soaked beans and rinse; add the beans to the pot and stir in the browned andouille sausage.
- Add the bay leaves, increase the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 1-½ to 2 hours or until beans are soft and tender. Start checking for doneness around the 1-½ hour mark by mashing or squeezing the beans between your fingers. The skin should be a bit resistant to pressure, but the interior should be the consistency and appearance of a baked potato.
- When beans are cooked through, remove the bay leaves from the pot and discard.
- Remove 1 cup of beans to a bowl; mash the beans with the back of the fork, and then return to the pot and stir until blended.
- If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1 cup of water.
- Taste for salt and seasonings and adjust accordingly.
- Stir in parsley and green onions and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Serve over cooked rice.
- Beans: Check the dry beans for debris like pebbles or dirt, then rinse before soaking.
- Enhance Flavor: Boost the dish’s taste with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice if it feels flat, without adding extra salt or spice.
- Variety in Protein: While Andouille sausage is standard, you can also use ham, ham hocks, homemade pork sausages, or smoked turkey. You can use what’s available and preferred.
- Canned Beans: In this recipe, we use dry red beans for an authentic take on Red Beans and Rice. If you have to use canned beans, one, you won’t have to soak them, and two, you’ll probably need around 2 (15-ounce) cans of red beans. Also, remember that you won’t have to cook the dish for over an hour because canned beans are already cooked through. Thus, skip step #1, and step #14 should be adjusted to around 30 minutes if using canned beans.
- To Refrigerate Leftovers: Store the beans mixture separately from the rice. Place the beans and soup in airtight containers, and cover them tightly with a lid; store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.