This Smoky Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice recipe is loaded with up melt-in-your-mouth vegetables that are tender and packed with flavor.
If in the US, I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day. Sure feels like it switched from rainy spring to hot hot hot sunny summer vibes overnight for us Midwesterners. Most of the flowers in my neighborhood are shriveling fast and I picked as many as I could this weekend to enjoy their colors before the summer heat drops them and leaves all the bushes just lush green.
At the beginning of May, I made it a goal to post more entree and meal type recipes around VV as I was starting to notice my go-tos are breakfast and sweets recipes. Since then I’ve posted about Chorizo-Spiced Chickpea Fajitas, Vegetarian Spring Curry Ramen, and Green Tomato Stacks. And today I’m here with one of our all time favorite Sunday night meals: Red Beans and Rice! I started making this beyond easy recipe two winters ago when I saw Guy Ferrari (you know, the guy with the great hair) make it on a Food Network special. He managed to take a relatively simple item (beans) and pack them with an extraordinarily amount of flavor – we were hooked from the first bite. Since making it that first time, I’ve adjusted this recipe dozens of times until I found the perfect balance of savory, spice, and texture.
The secret ingredient in this vegetarian red beans and rice recipe is chipotle peppers in adobe sauce; they are smoky, spicy, and my go-to when wanting to add an extra depth of flavor to any soup or stew. You only use one or two in recipe so lay the remaining out, leaving space between each pepper, on a parchment lined baking sheet and stick in the freezer until frozen. Then wrap the peppers in that parchment paper, transfer to a sealable freezer bag, and stick into the freezer. Freezing the leftover peppers guarantees you’ll always have them on hand when needed and it cuts down on waste since you never actually need that entire jar in one sitting.
The other thing that makes this vegetarian red beans and rice recipe so flavorful is that the beans cook in the spices for several hours. I know, that sounds like a long time to make dinner but I promise it’s all hands-off time. You could be simmering the beans in the background while you go off and read a book, do some laundry, take a nap with your pup, or chill out with some Guy Ferrari television. It’s my favorite recipe to make on a Sunday afternoon when I know I’ll be around the house lounging for a few hours.
Last but not least, keep in mind that salt slows down the cooking process for beans and could even make them tough so resist the urge to add it until after they’ve cooked.
Smoky Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice recipe below:
- 1 pound dried red beans, soaked in water in the fridge overnight
- 2 Tbsp peanut oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch kale, rinsed and torn, with stems removed
- 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (depending on your heat preference), chopped
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1-2 bay leaves (mine was huge so I only used 1)
- 1 Tbsp. tamari sauce
- Salt / Pepper, to taste
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- Micogreens or green onions, for garnish
- Drain and rinse beans that have been soaking over night and set aside.
- In a large dutch oven or saucepan, heat peanut oil over medium heat.
- Add diced onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, five to seven minutes.
- Add, add in garlic and saute for another thirty seconds.
- Add in kale, chipotle peppers, paprika, oregano, chili powder, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, drained red beans, and 8 cups water.
- Bring to a boil, let boil for five minutes and reduce heat so that the beans are at a low simmer (medium-low).
- Add water as needed and cook until the beans are tender, about and hour and a half to two hours.
- Remove from heat and stir in the tamari. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- To serve: divide the rice and beans between four bowls. Garnish with micogreens or green onions. Serve right away.