Vegan Red Beans and Rice
In need of a comforting, flavorful meal but don’t have much in the house? This pantry-staple based Vegan Red Beans and Rice recipe is a healthier take on the Cajun classic packed with red kidney beans and brown rice for an easy, balanced meal.
Classic Cajun Red Beans and Rice is one of my favorite cold night meals. It’s flavorful and slightly spicy. The saucy red kidney beans mix into the white rice in the most addictive, way. And the classic flavors or Cajun cuisine – the peppers, onions and celery from the holy trinity that starts the cooking, the smoky andouille sausage – just shine.
My idea for this veganized version of Red Beans and Rice comes from my desire to create more simple, pantry-staple based recipes to make cooking on a whim easier! At least in my house, I nearly always have brown rice, a can of kidney beans, an onion, some broth and Cajun seasoning in the cabinet. Celery and green pepper are nearly always in the veggie drawer, but if you’re out of either, skip it!
Though the pepper, onion and celery make up the base components of nearly every Cajun recipe we love (hence why they’re lovingly called the holy trinity), if you must go on without one of the fresh ones because you don’t have it on hand, all will be well.
I also swapped out the traditional white rice of Cajun cuisine for long-grain brown rice here. Brown rice is a whole grain, as compared to white rice, which means that it has overall more nutrients in it.
Brown rice packs more fiber, protein and vitamins, including:
Manganese (for energy production and antioxidant function)
Selenium (for thyroid hormone and immune function)
Magnesium (for blood coagulation, muscle contraction and bone development)
And lastly, I left out the traditional Andouille sausage – a smoky, slightly spicy cured sausage highly associated with Cajun cuisine. Here’s the thing: I actually do prefer Red Beans and Rice with Andouille. Deep down, I just love those little snappy, smoky bites in and amongst the beans — texturally, they’re wonderful. So, if you happen to have a link or two of andouille on hand – and you’re not going for vegan here – please add it in!
But in the name of a pantry-staple recipe, we will do without it. And the resulting saucy red beans will still be packed with flavor and texture and bite. I promise, it’s worth every bite. Especially in a can’t/don’t wanna go to the store pinch.
How to Make Vegan Red Beans and Rice:
Get your brown rice cooking. Saute up the holy trinity of green pepper, onion and celery. Add in some seasonings, red kidney beans and broth then let it simmer down for a while.
Once slightly thickened, mash the beans a bit to further thicken the sauce, then serve with a big spoonful of brown rice!
How to Store Vegan Red Beans and Rice:
This Vegan Red Beans and Rice will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge and up to 1 month in the freezer. I suggest storing the rice and red beans separately, or at least on separate sides of the container. Reheat in the microwave or in a saute pan over medium heat.
Other Simple Vegan Recipes from Your Pantry:
15-Minute Italian Greens and Beans Risotto
Quick Weeknight Two-Lentil Soup
Spicy Black Bean Salad
Quinoa and Brown Rice Salad with Black Beans and Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
Jeweled Wild Rice with Pecans and Cranberries
- 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ green pepper diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce of your choice
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 bay leaf
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add in brown rice and a pinch of salt. Cook for 35-40 minutes, until all water is evaporated and rice is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Toss in diced onion, pepper and celery. Stir and cook for 5 minutes until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add in minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add in tomato paste and cajun seasoning. Stir well and let cook for 2 more minutes. Add in drained beans, broth, hot sauce, soy sauce and bay leaf. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, then remove lid and let cook an additional 10-15 minutes until thickened.
Serve beans over the rice with a sprinkle of parsley.