Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice

Years ago, I had red beans and rice in New Orleans, and it was simply delicious. Then, in 1998, I became a vegetarian, and I've tried my hand at making a vegetarian version, but it was never very good. I think the bean mixture wasn't saucy enough, so it always ended up kind of dry and pasty.

Anyway, I stumbled across this Serious Eats recipe, and adapted it in two ways: this version uses vegetarian sausage as the meat substitute, and it uses a pressure cooker to cook the beans and rice, so the timing had to be modified significantly. I also added my own spin on the amounts of some of the ingredients. It turned out really tasty, and was the first vegetarian version I've actually liked.


  • 1 pound (450g) red beans of your choice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Other aromatics of your choice

Sausage and Veggies:

  • 1 pkg of vegetarian spicy Italian sausage, frozen or thawed (Should include 3-6 large sausages, depending on brand)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 12 ounces; 340g)
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (about 8 ounces; 225g)
  • 4 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 8 ounces; 225g)
  • 4-10 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon (3 to 15g) ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon (about 4g) ground sage
  • Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp Apple cider vinegar (optional - adds a pickled taste characteristic of some variations)


  • 2 or so cups of rice of your choice
  • Hot sauce to taste


  1. Cook beans, bay leaves, and other aromatics in a pressure cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions for that bean type. 
  2. While the beans are cooking, put the oil in dutch oven along with the sausages. Defrost/cook, turning occasionally. When the sausage has thawed, use the tip of a spatula or a knife to cut sausage into ½” disks. Continue cooking until nicely browned.
  3. While the sausages are cooking, chop the onion, pepper, celery, and garlic. Add the vegetables except for the garlic to the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes until softened and browning at the edges. 
  4. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, then add the cayenne, sage, thyme, and black pepper to taste (but there should be lots of it) and cook for another minute or so, until everything is fragrant.
  5. Add Beans:
    • Slower method: When the beans are done, release the pressure (don’t wait for an NPR; the beans will still be al dente), add the beans and the bean liquid (along with bay leaves) to the vegetable/sausage mixture in the dutch oven, cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until the beans are tender, perhaps another 30 minutes or so (depending on bean type and age).  
    • Faster method: let the beans cook fully in the pressure cooker (including the natural pressure release) then add the contents of the pressure cooker to the Dutch oven.
  6. While the beans are simmering in the Dutch oven, cook the rice.  
  7. Remove the lid from the bean mixture and continue to cook until the liquid becomes creamy. If the stew looks dry before it becomes creamy, add additional water, and repeat until the mixture seems thick and creamy. The bean mixture will be a little soupy when it is done.
  8. Add salt to taste, and if using, the vinegar (some styles call for pickled elements)
  9. Serve over rice, and add hot sauce as needed

No comments:

Post a Comment

Neither spam nor mean comments are allowed. I'm the sole judge of what constitutes either one, and any comment that I consider mean or spammy will be deleted without warning or response.