Smoky, savory and delicious vegan red beans and rice recipe seasoned in delicious cajun spices. Filling and satisfying, these New Orleans style red beans will keep you full for hours. Perfect food to feed a group of people or to bring to a party.
I first made these red beans and rice about a year ago and have been tweaking the recipe every time I make it. After a year of testing, I finally perfected this recipe.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- My favorite part when cooking this simple meal is seeing all the beautiful colors while sautéing the bell pepper, celery and red onion. Aren’t plants so beautiful? I’m always mesmerized by their rich colors.
- Full of healthy plant based protein
- Great to meal prep for a quick and easy lunch or dinner and it tastes better each day, when the flavors have had a chance to sit and mingle.
- Works great as a main course or side dish.
🧂 Ingredients and substitutions
I love that this recipe is made with simple ingredients that are easy to find.
- Red kidney beans - dark or light dry kidney beans both work for this recipe. Use whatever are your favorite. You can also use small red beans or pinto beans.
- Aromatics - celery, onion, garlic and green bell pepper. I love adding red bell pepper as well.
- Seasonings - use a mixture of cajun seasoning like smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground sage, ground thyme, onion powder, cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like spicy food, bay leaves, black pepper and salt.
- Vegetable stock - to save some money, just use vegetable bouillon cubes and water instead of veggie broth.
- Vegan sausage - I love using Beyond Italian Sausages in this recipe. Field roast also has some delicious plant-based sausage options. If you can't find any sausage, this recipe also tastes great without any.
- Liquid smoke - this helps give the smoky flavor that traditional sausage provides in this recipe, without having to use meat in this vegan version.
- Frank's red hot sauce - adds a nice vinegar balance and heat at the end
- Apple cider vinegar - helps balance the earthy flavor of the beans and brings out even more flavor
- Rice - you can use brown rice or white rice.
- Soy sauce - this adds a nice savory and salty element to the beans.
- Cilantro - this isn’t traditionally in New Orleans style red beans and rice. You will find it in Dominican red beans and rice though. The addition of fresh cilantro plays really well off of the smoky, earthy beans.
👩🍳 Pro tips
- Wait until the beans are cooked to add the salt since adding the salt too early slows the cooking of the beans down. Adding it at the end also makes it so you don’t have to add as much.
- This is a great dish to have for a dinner party, or to bring to a potluck. You only have to bring two pans, one for the beans and one for the rice, and it feeds a lot of people.
- If you don't want to soak for 8 hours, just do a quick soak by bringing the beans to a boil for 5 minutes, then taking them off the stove and letting them sit for an hour.
- If you want to learn how to cook more dried beans in the instant pot, stove top or slow cooker, check out my article on how to cook dried beans from scratch.
Make sure to scroll to the recipe card for full step-by-step instructions.
- Add the kidney beans to a big pot and cover with 3 inches of water. Soak overnight for 8 hours, strain and rinse in the morning.
- In a large pot, sauté the onions, green pepper and celery.
- Add the seasonings and sauté for one minute to let the flavors bloom.
- Add the beans, vegetable broth and all of the ingredients except the hot sauce, salt and vinegar. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 hours, checking on it every half hour to see if it needs more liquid and to stir and make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the cilantro, a splash of hot sauce and vinegar and give it a good stir. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.
I highly recommend you do. Soaking the beans makes them more digestible and prevents excess gas for people who get gassy when eating beans. It also cuts down the cooking time significantly. It's best to soak the beans when you go to bed, and rinse them in the morning. The cook time will be significantly longer if you don't soak.
Yes! These beans go great in a pressure cooker. Directions are listed in the recipe card.
Kidney beans should not be cooked in a slow cooker according to research from the FDA. They contain a toxin called phytohemagglutinin that can lead to food poisoning if they are undercooked. Kidney beans need to be soaked overnight, rinsed, boiled for a minimum of 15 minutes at a temperature of 180 degrees f to kill this toxin. Then you can cook them in a slow cooker for 5-8 hours on high. Slow cookers don't reach this high temperature on their own, so the kidney beans need to be cooked a bit before hand.
♨️ Serving suggestions
These beans are great as a main course on their own. They also go great with a salad, southern collard greens, corn bread or corn on the cob.
❄️ Storing tips
Fridge - Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Freezer - These beans freeze well, but become slightly more soft when they thaw. Store in a freezer-safe containers or bags for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
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New Orleans vegan red beans and rice
- 1 lb bag dry red kidney beans (soaked overnight)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 stalks of celery (diced)
- 1 medium red onion (diced)
- 1 red or green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground sage
- 1 tablespoon ground thyme
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like spicy food)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 6 cups vegetable broth (plus more if needed)
- 2 Beyond Italian sausages (or Field Roast)
- 2 tablespoon Frank's red hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or whatever you have)
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- rice (to serve)
Stove top instructions
- Soak beans overnight or for 8 hours - drain and rinse the next day1 lb bag dry red kidney beans
- Heat oil in a big pot on medium heat (3 minutes). Add chopped onions, bell pepper and celery to pot. Cook for 7-8 minutes until veggies soften1 tablespoon oil, 3 stalks of celery, 1 medium red onion, 1 red or green bell pepper
- Add ground thyme, sage, cayenne and smoked paprika and cook for 1 minute1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon ground sage, 1 tablespoon ground thyme, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add beans, broth, soy sauce, bay leaves, black pepper, and garlic - stir. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium low heat and simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours. Check every hour to make sure water doesn't run out.½ teaspoon black pepper, 2 bay leaves, 5 cloves garlic, 6 cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 lb bag dry red kidney beans
- Once beans are about ready to serve, fry your sausages in a separate pan. Chop up and add to beans2 Beyond Italian sausages
- Add Frank's red hot sauce, salt, liquid smoke, vinegar and cilantro once the beans are cooked.2 tablespoon Frank's red hot sauce, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1-2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Cook white rice separately. Serve beans over the rice. Top with chopped onions, cilantro and more hot sauce¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, rice
Instant pot instructions
- Soak beans overnight or for 8 hours - drain and rinse the next day
- Heat oil in instant pot on medium heat (1 minute). Add chopped onions, bell pepper and celery to pot. Cook for 7-8 minutes until veggies soften
- Add ground thyme, sage, cayenne and smoked paprika and cook for 1 minute
- Add beans, broth, soy sauce, bay leaves, black pepper, and garlic - stir. Cover with lid and set to seal. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes then let it natural release for 15 minutes, then quick release the remainder of the pressure.
- Add Frank's red hot sauce, salt, liquid smoke, vinegar and cilantro once the beans are cooked.
- Once beans are about ready to serve, fry your sausages in a separate pan. Chop up and add to beans
- Cook white rice separately. Serve beans over the rice. Top with chopped onions, cilantro and more hot sauce
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.