Red beans and rice is the definition of comfort food just like grandma’s. It is made with small red beans and andouille sausage. This Southern staple makes for a perfect side or a meal by itself.
I don’t know when red beans and rice isn’t a good thing. I have always loved them and one of my favorite parts about making them is how much I could make especially on a budget. Right after college this used to be one of my go to meals not only because it was relatively easy to make but it was very tasty. It is also a great idea for those that like to meal prep as it makes a bunch and it reheats well.
In this recipe
One of the reasons that I have always liked this dish is that almost everything in it is already in your kitchen and pantry. Also, it is a very cost-effective way to feed a group of people.
Trinity: this is the Southern version of mirepoix. It is a combination of onion, celery, and green peppers.
Andouille sausage: is normally the protein added to red beans and rice. If you want to make a vegetarian version then remove this and switch to vegetable stock.
Red beans: the main star of the dish and if you buy them dried then allow time for soaking. See some of my soaking tips below.
Red Beans vs Kidney Beans
When you go to the store you might see red kidney beans or even dark and light red kidney beans. These are going to differ from red beans. While they are both similar kidney beans are larger and will normally come in a dark and light red color. Red beans are smaller and have a nuttier flavor. Red beans also retain their flavor better than kidney beans that will start to take on the flavors they are cooked in. They are also denser than kidney beans once cooked.
Canned vs Dried Beans
When I make red beans and rice I prefer to use dried beans and soak them instead of use canned beans. Canned beans are great in a pinch because you don’t have to take the time to soak them like you would dried beans. I do think that canned beans will have a slightly different flavor due to how they are processed. If you use the canned version also make sure to rinse them off well.
Soaking Red Beans
One of the biggest steps in making any dish with beans in it is to allow them to soak. This will cause them to double in size as they absorb water but also will shorten cooking time and give you a nice, tender bean. You would normally do this buy placing the beans in a large bowl of water and letting them soak for about 8 hours or overnight. If you are in a pinch you can bring a large pot of water to boil, add the beans and let boil for 2 minutes, cover and remove from the heat, and allow to soak for at least 1 hour.
Thickening Red Beans and Rice
This is completely optional as some people like their red beans closer to a gravy and others like all of the beans still whole. If you want to thicken your red beans to a more gravy like consistency you can do one of two options, I tend to use the second. Either you can smash the beans, not all of them, on the sides of the pot to release the starch inside, or you can use an immersion blender and pulse it in the red beans a few times in the same place to release the starch. The more red beans you crush the thicker your end result will be.
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Red Beans and Rice
- Dutch oven
- Slotted spoon
- 1½ cups white rice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 pound red beans dry
- 2 cups onion diced
- 2 cups green bell pepper diced
- 2 cups celery diced, about 3-4 stalks
- 14 ounces andouille sausage sliced into rounds
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil other flavor neutral oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt more to taste
- 2 bay leaves
Soaking the beans
- Place the red beans in a large bowl and cover with 3 inches of salty water and let soak for 8 hours. If soaking overnight place in the refrigerator.
Making red beans
- Drain the red beans.
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage rounds to the hot oil. Cook the sausage until brown, about 5 minutes, and using a slotted spoon place into a bowl and set aside.
- Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery and cook until soft and the onions are translucent. About 7 minutes.
- Add the paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the stock, water, bay leaves and red beans. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to medium low. Cook for 60 minutes stirring in 15 minute increments.
- Using a spoon smash some of the red beans against the side. You can also use an immersion blender and pulse 3-5 times in the same location. Add the sausage and cook for another 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.
Making the rice
- While the beans and sausage are cooking prepare the 1½ cups rice according to package instructions.
- Serve the red beans on top of the rice garish with chopped parsley if desired.