A Southern Red Beans & Rice recipe combining two versions of red beans recipes I grew up enjoying —with a Caribbean twist.
I am a true Louisiana boy and I can honestly say that I grew up eating red beans and rice (and white beans) on the regular. I had the opportunity to be raised by two grandmothers that made this dish constantly and even though they had their own spin, it was delicious in either home.
Beans and rice is an iconic dish in Louisiana and depending on which parish you grew up in, you would either find the red or white variety. Where New Orleans is known for its red beans, you’ll find white beans to be the staple side dish at spots across Southern Louisiana. I’m sharing my red beans recipe this time around.
What type of bean should I use?
For my beans and rice recipe, I generally opt for red beans or kidney beans. Although they both result in a great tasting pot of beans, they are slightly different. Despite their subtle differences in size and texture, they are both great options.
Red beans are small and oval in shape. They have a mild flavor and the texture is much creamier in comparison. You’ll find these beans used heavily in Caribbean cuisine and generally the bean of choice when making Southern and Creole red beans and rice.
Kidney beans, on the other hand, are slightly larger, and they have a grainy texture. However, because of their firmness, they are difficult to overcook. They also maintain their shape and tend to absorb flavors well.
Do I need to soak my beans before cooking them?
When you buy beans they are typically dried. Because of this, they will need a little rehydration. If you consider the cooking time, you can opt to simply cook them longer, or you can hydrate them beforehand. This is the way I go.
This route ensures your red beans are not overcooked. Basically, soaking beans will reduce the cooking time and the texture of the beans will be ideal. But don’t worry, if you are pressed for time, you can certainly cook your beans without soaking them at all.
Can I use canned beans for this recipe?
Alternatively, you can use canned beans and omit the soaking step. You’ll want to drain any excess liquid beforehand. The remaining steps are the same and you’ll simply adjust the cooking time to 30 minutes (versus 1-2 hours). This allows the seasonings and spices to soak in.
To put my spin on this traditional recipe, I decided to add some Caribbean spices and coconut milk. The coconut milk brings a wonderful velvet texture to the resulting broth.
I don’t eat pork, but I grew up with red beans that incorporated ham hocks for added saltiness. Now I’ve replaced that with beef sausage to bring this recipe full circle.
If you need a good southern Louisiana recipe to satisfy the family for dinner give the Southern Red Beans & Rice a try and you will look forward to eating leftovers for days.
For more options, check out my other Southern side dishes:
This Southern Red Beans & Rice recipe is a mixture of the two versions of red beans recipes I grew up enjoying!
32oz. Small Red Beans
3/4cup Chopped Yellow Onion
3/4cup Chopped Celery
3/4cup Chopped Green Pepper
3/4cup Chopped Green Onion
2 tbsp. Parsley
26oz. Beef Sausage
27oz. Reduced Fat Coconut Milk
3 tsp. Minced Garlic
2 Whole Bay Leaves
1 tbsp. Ground All Spice
1 tbsp. Ground Thyme
1 tbsp. White Pepper
2 tbsp. Paprika
1/2 tbsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Red Pepper
3 tbsp. Butter
Begin by soaking the red beans in a large bowl of water for 8 hours then remove from water.
In a large cooking pot, heat to medium and add butter. Add minced garlic, chopped yellow onion, celery, green pepper, parsley, and green onion to pot and cook for 7 minutes. Add paprika, ground allspice, ground cumin, ground thyme, and bay leaves then cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Slice the beef sausage then set to the side.
Add red beans, chicken broth and coconut milk then bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and cook covered for 30 minutes. Add beef sausage, red pepper, white pepper, and sea salt then stir and cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 more minutes.
Cook rice according to cooking instructions and set to the side. Once the red beans are done cooking allow them to cool then serve with rice.
Soaking the red beans prior to cooking significantly reduces the cook time.
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