Get A Taste Of New Orleans With Red Beans And Rice

As I begin to explain the recipe for vegan red beans and rice, I can’t help but recall the magical aromas that wafted through my grandmother’s kitchen as she prepared this comforting dish for our family. My mouth waters at the mere thought of it!

Red beans and rice are a beloved staple in many households, and they hold a special place in my heart because they remind me of home. This vegan twist on a classic dish is sure to delight your taste buds with its smoky, savory flavors that will make your mouth water and your heart sing.

Not only is this meatless recipe healthy and budget-friendly, it’s also incredibly easy to make. With a few simple ingredients and a little patience, you can create a delicious meal that will satisfy your hunger and warm your soul. Whether you’re observing Meatless Monday, following a plant-based diet, or simply looking for a new comfort food recipe to add to your collection, this dish is sure to become a crowd-pleaser in your household.

So why not pour yourself a glass of sweet tea or lemonade, put on some jazz music or blues – or whatever gets you in the mood – and get ready to experience the magic of vegan red beans and rice? Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Red Beans and Rice (Vegetarian)
Red Beans and Rice (Vegetarian)

There are countless reasons why you’ll fall in love with this recipe for Vegan Red Beans and Rice. Whether you’re a vegetarian or just looking to enjoy a plant-based meal, this classic comfort food is sure to hit the spot.

For starters, it’s incredibly easy to make. With just a handful of ingredients and a bit of time, you can whip up a batch of smoky vegetarian red beans and rice that rivals anything served up in New Orleans. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you don’t have the time or energy to cook an elaborate meal.

But just because this recipe is quick and easy doesn’t mean it lacks flavor. In fact, the combination of red kidney beans, paprika, red pepper flakes, and liquid smoke creates a deliciously smoky taste that’s impossible to resist. Add in some fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste, and you’ve got a dish that’s bursting with flavor.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s incredibly versatile. Want to make it your own? You can easily switch up the ingredients based on your preferences or what you have on hand. Add in some vegan sausage for a little extra protein, or toss in some diced bell pepper or red onion for added crunch.

Finally, there’s something undeniably satisfying about digging into a big bowl of warm and comforting red beans and rice. It’s the perfect meal for cozying up on the couch with a good book, or enjoying with friends at a casual dinner party.

Trust us – once you try this recipe for smoky vegetarian red beans and rice, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Ingredient List

 A delightful comfort food for a cold, rainy day.
A delightful comfort food for a cold, rainy day.

Here are the ingredients that you will need to prepare delicious red beans and rice:

  • 1 pound of red kidney beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 0.5 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 32 oz of vegetable broth or seasoned water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp of liquid smoke
  • Cooked brown rice (1:2 ratio of rice and water)
  • Optional: vegan sausage, butter or margarine

Note that you can also add other types of beans to this recipe such as pinto beans or canned beans. The amounts and cooking times might vary in that case. Also, since this is a plant-based recipe, we use vegan versions of butter or sausage, but feel free to replace them with non-vegan options if you prefer.

The Recipe How-To

 This hearty meal will keep you fueled and satisfied for hours.
This hearty meal will keep you fueled and satisfied for hours.

Preparing the Beans

To ensure that the beans would cook tenderly, I soaked them overnight. To do this, I rinse and sort through 1 pound of red kidney beans to remove any stones or debris. Then, I covered the beans in water (with 2 inches of water above the bean line). After soaking overnight, I drained and rinsed them clean.

Sautéing Vegetables

I heated 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, I added 1 medium diced yellow onion, 1 cup chopped red pepper, and 1 diced green bell pepper. I sautéed it until the onion is translucent and soft. Then, I added 4 cloves of minced garlic and sautéed for another minute until fragrant.

Cooking the Beans and Rice

After that, I added the soaked red kidney beans to the pot with 5 cups of water, followed by 1 tablespoon of paprika, ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper, and 2 bay leaves. Then I stirred everything together before bringing it to a boil.

Once boiling, I reduced heat to low and let simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half until the beans are tender but not mushy. Depending on your preference and how long you soak your beans.

Once the beans are cooked through, add salt to taste – which usually took about a teaspoon or two for me. Then remove bay leaves.

At this point, if you’re making rice with your dish already cooked through (cooked brown rice was used in my case), then you can simply stir it into your pot with your cooked red beans or serve it atop plain rice as desired. However, if you haven’t made your rice or would like to have freshly cooked, then start cooking your rice according to instructions while simmering red beans.

Serving Your Dish

Spoon piping hot rice onto each serving bowl; top generously with red bean mixture—creamy richly-flavored red sauce over fluffy rice makes cajun-style vegan red beans and rice outstanding! For an extra finishing touch garnish with green onions.

If you prefer stronger depth flavor to smoky vegetarian style vegan red bean recipe – add two teaspoons of liquid smoke or vegan sausage crumbles!

Substitutions and Variations

 The bold colors of the dish are a feast for the eyes and the stomach.
The bold colors of the dish are a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

Inexpensive and versatile, this red beans and rice recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. And with a few simple substitutions and variations, you can customize it to your liking. Here are some ideas to experiment with:

– Add vegan sausage: Looking for a meaty texture without actual meat? Try adding some vegan sausage to your red beans and rice. There are many plant-based options available in grocery stores and online that mimic the taste and texture of traditional sausage.

– Use pinto beans instead: If you don’t have red kidney beans on hand, or you simply prefer pinto beans, this recipe can easily be adapted. Simply use one pound of cooked pinto beans instead of red kidney beans.

– Try different types of rice: While brown rice is the classic choice for this recipe, you can also experiment with other varieties such as white rice, jasmine rice or basmati rice. Just follow the cooking instructions on the packaging for the best results.

– Make it spicy: If you love heat, add extra red pepper flakes or some hot sauce to your dish. You can also use cajun seasoning instead of paprika for a more fiery flavor.

– Swap out the veggies: Bell peppers and onions make a classic combo in this recipe, but feel free to switch them up. Other vegetables that work well include celery, carrots, mushrooms, or zucchini.

– Use canned beans: While we recommend soaking and cooking dry beans, if you’re running short on time or don’t have any dry beans on hand, canned beans will work as well. Just make sure to rinse them thoroughly before using them in the recipe.

Whether you follow the recipe exactly or make your own customizations, this vegan red beans and rice is sure to become a favorite comfort food in your household. And with its smoky vegetarian flair reminiscent of New Orleans-style cuisine, it’s perfect for Meatless Mondays or anytime you’re craving a hearty plant-based meal.

Serving and Pairing

 Elevate your rice and beans game with this deliciously spiced recipe.
Elevate your rice and beans game with this deliciously spiced recipe.

Red Beans and Rice is a dish that offers so much comfort to the soul. It’s perfect for a lazy Sunday when you just want to curl up on the couch, eat some good food, and watch your favorite show. It is also a classic dish for Meatless Mondays, which makes it an excellent option for those who are trying to reduce their meat consumption.

When serving Red Beans and Rice, I recommend adding some extra vegetables to make it even more nutritious. You can serve it with cooked broccoli, green beans or sautéed bell peppers. A fresh green salad with simple vinaigrette dressing also pairs well with this dish.

For a more substantial meal, consider pairing Red Beans and Rice with cornbread or a warm slice of whole wheat bread. The sweetness of the cornbread complements the heat of the beans nicely, while the bread helps to soak up all those flavorful juices.

If you are looking for a lighter option, consider serving red beans and rice over cooked brown rice. This will give you a complete protein meal without any need for meat. You can also top it off with some chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley as it adds some color and freshness to the dish.

Whether you’re serving Red Beans and Rice as a main course or as a side dish, it’s one of those dishes that just gets better as you eat it. So grab yourself a bowl of smoky vegetarian Red Beans and Rice today – your taste buds will thank you!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A vegetarian twist on a classic Creole dish.
A vegetarian twist on a classic Creole dish.

As with any hearty meal, making extra Red Beans and Rice to have as leftovers is a fantastic idea. This flavorful dish can be stored in the fridge for up to four days or frozen for up to three months. If you are prepping for a busy week, consider doubling this recipe, making lunches and dinners incredibly easy.

For reheating leftovers, simply scoop out the desired amount of Red Beans and Rice from the container and warm it in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can reheat it on the stove over low heat with a splash of water or vegetable broth to keep it from drying out. Avoid overheating as this may cause the rice to become too soft.

If you’re planning on serving this dish at a later time, it can be somewhat prepared beforehand for added convenience. You can cook the brown rice ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. The red kidney beans can also be soaked overnight, cooked ahead of time, then refrigerated or frozen in their cooking liquid. This makes assembling the dish much easier on the day of.

With its combination of protein-packed beans and hearty grains, Red Beans and Rice is an excellent make-ahead option suitable for busy lifestyles. It is also suitable for meal prep efforts during Meatless Mondays or even weekly family dinners. You will undoubtedly appreciate having leftovers available that are healthy, affordable, and packed with flavor!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Perfect for meal prep or a quick weekday dinner.
Perfect for meal prep or a quick weekday dinner.

When it comes to cooking red beans and rice, there are a few tips that can help ensure you get the perfect result every time. Here are my top recommendations for preparing this comforting and delicious dish.

Firstly, make sure to soak the beans overnight. This step is essential as it helps to soften them, which reduces the cooking time and improves their overall texture. If you forget to soak them overnight, don’t worry! You can also use the quick-soak method where you bring the beans and water to a boil and then let them sit for an hour before draining.

Another important tip is to sauté your veggies well before adding the rest of the ingredients. This helps to bring out their flavors more fully and adds depth to your dish.

You should also be mindful of how much liquid you’re using in your recipe. If you want a thicker, creamier consistency, reduce the amount of liquid or skip the lid during cooking. Alternatively, if you prefer a soupier texture, add additional vegetable broth.

For those who would like a more smoky flavor in their vegetarian red beans and rice recipe, I recommend using liquid smoke for an authentic Cajun-style taste that will make your mouth water. Just be sure not to add too much as a little goes a long way!

Lastly, keep in mind that this recipe is quite versatile, and you have many options for substitutions and variations depending on your preferences. You can swap out brown rice for white rice or even quinoa for a healthier twist.

By following these tips and experimenting with different ingredients or cooking methods from time to time, you’ll be able to create the perfect vegetarian red beans and rice dish that’s satisfying and flavorful every time!


As you explore the world of vegan cooking, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the ingredients and techniques used in your recipes. Once you know these details, it’s time to get curious and ask questions about what you’re preparing. To help answer some of those burning questions, I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about this Red Beans and Rice (Vegetarian) recipe for your convenience. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan chef or a beginner at plant-based cooking, these FAQs will provide you with some useful tips and tricks that will help you achieve the best results possible.

What veggie goes with red beans and rice?

When it comes to pairing side dishes with red beans and rice, sometimes simplicity is the key. Steamed vegetables make for a healthy addition without stealing the show from the bold flavors of the main dish. Consider trying broccoli, cauliflower, or peas to accompany your red beans and rice.

Is red beans and rice healthy?

The fusion of rice and beans is a comfort food that is widely celebrated in Latino, Caribbean, and southern American cultures. This culinary duo is not only delicious but also a great source of plant protein, packing in at least 12 grams per cup. Additionally, it is loaded with essential nutrients, including the often overlooked fiber – making it a nutrient-dense and satisfying meal option.

What is traditionally served with red beans and rice?

When it comes to pairing with red beans and rice, the options are quite straightforward. Cornbread and beer are the perfect matches for this hearty dish. Additionally, you can complement it with a side of collard or mustard greens, green beans, or corn on the cob.

How to make beans taste good without meat?

Looking to enhance the flavor of your vegetarian beans? Try infusing them with the rich taste of dried mushrooms by first steeping them in boiling water to create a savory broth. Then, use this mushroom broth to simmer your beans, incorporating it as part or all of the cooking liquid for optimal flavor. To further ramp up the taste, chop the soaked mushrooms and add them to the beans in the cooking process. This simple technique will elevate the taste of your beans to new heights.

Bottom Line

After considering everything I have presented to you, I strongly encourage you to give this vegetarian red beans and rice recipe a try. Not only is it easy to make, affordable, and packed with flavor, it is also vegan and plant-based, making it an excellent option for those who are looking to cut down on their meat consumption or follow a strictly plant-based diet.

With the substitution and variation options I have provided, this recipe is versatile enough to suit any palate, and the serving and pairing suggestions should be more than enough to help you prepare a delicious meal that will satisfy your hunger and taste buds.

Overall, this recipe is perfect for anyone looking for a comforting, flavorful dish that is both healthy and satisfying. Whether it’s Meatless Monday or any other day of the week, this red beans and rice recipe will become a staple in your kitchen once you try it. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds (and your health) will thank you!

Red Beans and Rice (Vegetarian)

Red Beans and Rice (Vegetarian) Recipe

A veggie, and slightly spicy version of red beans and rice.
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Prep Time 6 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Louisiana Creole
Calories 871.7 kcal


  • 1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans (including liquid)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 0.5 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans (including liquid)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (quick cooking version is fine)


  • Cook the brown rice. Add the 1/2 can of light red beans (including liquid) to the cooked rice and set to one side.
  • Melt the butter and add all the remaining ingredients (excluding the rice with 1/2 can of beans).
  • Simmer the bean mixture for 45 minutes.
  • Stir every 10 mins or so and mash the light red beans with the back of a wooden spoon (you don't have to mash them all, just be sure to give those beans a good mashing!).
  • After 45 mins remove from the heat and add the cooled cooked rice and the additional 1/2 can of beans mixture.
  • Stir it all together until the rice is warmed through again and serve.
  • Reheats really well if you would like to make this ahead of time.
  • Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 586gCalories: 871.7kcalCarbohydrates: 127.6gProtein: 34.9gFat: 26.6gSaturated Fat: 15.2gCholesterol: 61.1mgSodium: 1337.3mgFiber: 30.2gSugar: 1.9g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Beans
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