Classic red beans and rice is a hearty, flavorful Cajun meal. Small red beans are cooked with Andouille sausage and aromatic vegetables into a saucy stew that tastes amazing when spooned over hot white rice.
There's hardly a version of BEANS + SAUSAGE that I don't enjoy. There's something about the spice and fat in any type of sausage that coats and marries so well with any variety of the humble bean.
In Italy, we have Pasta Fazool with ground sausage containing fennel. The resulting bowl of white beans and sausage is such a flavorful dish, that it has been a staple dish for ages.
In Mexico, we have Charro Beans made with bacon, which is not quite the same as sausage, but I will argue that the fat and dark cut of meat provides the same benefit as sausage.
And now we have Red Beans and Rice, studded with slices of Andouille sausage.
Andouille is a pork sausage that is smoked. It is flavored with onions, garlic, and sometimes wine. The casing is edible, and the flavor is usually from medium spice to heavily spiced.
However, this recipe is a classic Cajun dish that is more than just beans plus sausage simmered together. Almost every Cajun dish starts with the holy trinity: onions, bell pepper and celery.
The spices used in red beans and rice is also unique to most bean stews that simply rely on salt, pepper and one herb. This recipe has plenty of Cajun seasoning, extra ground thyme, and dried parsley.
First and foremost, Cajun spice is not interchangeable with chili powder. Full stop. While they are both seasoning blends, they're wildly different. Cajun seasoning is a blend of paprika, garlic, onion, cayenne for heat, black pepper and thyme. Occasionally, Cajun spice contains oregano.
The resulting pot of red beans and sausage is served over rice. It's a cozy, comforting meal that tastes great leftover, too. Let's gather what we need to make it!
- Andouille Sausage. We need a pack of andouille smoked sausage, anywhere between 12-14 ounces. Brands vary on weight.
- White Onion.
- Celery. Two stalks of celery, sliced, preferably with the leaves still on the stalks.
- Green Bell Pepper. Absolutely critical in Cajun cooking--do not substitute. Slice it in half, remove the seeds and stem, and then dice it.
- Bay Leaf.
- Tomato Paste.
- Cajun Seasoning. Buy a store-bought blend of this. Scan the ingredients to make sure it contains salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, peppers and thyme. Because Cajun seasoning contains salt (a lot of it), I'm not calling for any additional salt in this recipe. You can add more to taste at the end of cooking, if you think it needs it.
- Dried Thyme. Dried thyme leaves, not ground thyme.
- Dried Parsley.
- Red Beans. Three 15-ounce cans of red beans, rinsed and drained.
- Chicken Sock.
- Rice. For serving the red beans and sausage over.
- Butter. For mixing with the rice before serving.
How to Make Red Beans and Rice (easy)
- Gather all of the ingredients for red beans and rice, and have a large stockpot ready to go.
2. Place the large stockpot on a burner, turn the heat to medium and add the sliced sausage. Cook for 7-9 minutes, until it starts to become golden brown and crisp around the edges. Once the sausage is golden brown around the edges, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan and set it aside in a bowl while you cook the rest of the recipe.
3. Add the diced onion, celery, bell pepper and bay leaf to the pan that the sausage was cooked in, and saute for 7-9 minutes.
4. Next, add the tomato paste, Cajun seasoning blend, thyme and parsley. Saute for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to toast and cook the tomato paste.
5. The resulting mixture is the glorious flavor base. Look how beautiful and delicious it looks. You can almost smell it!
6. Now add the rinsed and drained red beans to the pan along with the chicken stock.
7. Finally, add the cooked andouille sausage back to the pan, and cover the pot. Simmer on low to medium-low for one hour.
8. Just before you want to serve the red beans and rice, it's time to make the rice! Combine the rice with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring the rice to a simmer, immediately reduce the heat to LOW, and then place the lid on the pan and cook for 19 minutes. After 19 minutes, remove from the heat, open the lid, place a kitchen towel on top, and place the lid back on. Allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes off the heat like this. Before serving, stir in the butter and salt, and serve
If you're looking for a vegetarian version, don't miss my Vegetarian Jambalaya with similar flavors and no sausage.
- 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 medium onion, small diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 3 cans of rinsed and drained red beans
- 3 cups chicken stock
- More salt, to taste
For the rice:
- 1 cup of white rice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Gather all ingredients needed to make this recipe, and have ready a large stock pot for cooking.
- In a large stockpot, turn the heat to medium and add the sliced sausage. Cook for 7-9 minutes, until it starts to become golden brown and crisp around the edges.
- Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Add the diced onion, celery, bell pepper and bay leaf. Saute for 7-9 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, thyme, and parsley. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to toast the tomato paste.
- Add the rinsed and drained beans and chicken stock.
- Add the sausage back to the pan, and then cover the pot and simmer for an hour.
- To make the rice: combine the rice with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to LOW, cover and let cook for 19 minutes. After 19 minutes, turn off the heat, place a kitchen towel over the pan, and place the lid back on. Let rest for 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid, stir in the butter and salt and serve with the red beans and rice.
Please note that Cajun seasoning contains salt, so I'm not calling for any salt in this recipe. If you taste the final product and think it needs more, add it ¼ teaspoon at a time.
Andouille Sausage: One pack of andouille smoked sausage can weigh anywhere between 12-14 ounces.
Cajun Seasoning: Buy a store-bought blend that contains salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, peppers and thyme.
Dried Thyme: Dried whole thyme leaves, not ground thyme.
Red Beans: Three 15-ounce cans of red beans, rinsed and drained.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1308mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 14g