Red beans and rice
Red beans, plant sausage, veggies and spices make this a totally plant based and healthier version of the classic soul food. No compromise in yumminess though! Vegan, gluten free, oil free.
I was thinking about doing a post on ‘soul food’ for a while. At a point, I even thought of naming my blog “whole food – soul food”. That wouldn’t have been totally suitable though! Because that is not the only kind of food I am about. Also, all the soul foods are not what you can label as ‘whole food’ so to speak. But the rhyme of the words sounds nice, huh?
Anyways, we were talking about soul food. Usually, when they say “soul food”, they mean the African American food culture mainly found in the deep south of USA. You know? Louisiana, low country regions of Georgia and South Carolina. Actually, this food culture was originated by the enslaved plantation workers of these regions. Most of the slaves then were brought to the United States from West Africa. Their food habits mixed with the native American influences gave birth to this wonderfully hearty dishes. The word ‘soul’ was habitually used to denote anything related to the African American culture. So, the term “soul food” was coined to designate this type of food.
‘Red beans and rice’ is one typical soul food of mainly the Louisiana region. And do you know a fun fact about this dish? Mondays were usually the designated laundry days down there. Mammas and grandmas had to wash a lot of clothes and there was not much time left for cooking on the Mondays. So, some very intelligent person thought of putting rice, beans, veggies and meat all in one pot and put on the low fire. While you were at the river washing your loads, the simmering pot would make a delicious, hearty dinner! No constant attention needed. Smart, eh?
In my version of ‘red beans and rice’ we had to tweak a little bit though. I for one, can’t afford that much of simmering time (and I also don’t own a slow cooker!). And I had to make it sans the meat. So, I used plant- based sausages here. Along with that, my special spices and things do make it absolutely delightful! It’s healthier than the original version too!
I say, this is elevated soul food. I bet you’d agree once you taste it!
About the dish :
Course – Entrée
Servings – 4
Difficulty level – Easy
Recipe type – Vegan, gluten free, oil free
Does it keep – Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
What you need :
1 medium onion
2 stalks of celery
1 medium bell pepper
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper (optional)
2 cups cooked red kidney beans (if you use canned, it’s about 1.5 cans)
2 plant-based sausages (I used Beyond meats), cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon blackening spice* (you can use store bought. See below for the recipe of a homemade version)
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 tablespoon dry parsley
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon hot sauce (or less if you want less spicy)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or any other vinegar except for balsamic)
2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1.5 cups of vegetable broth or water (If you’re cooking beans from scratch, you can use the bean cooking liquid)
3 cups cooked rice
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
* Blackening spice
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
Pinch of garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon dry thyme
½ teaspoon celery salt
Mix all the ingredients together. Store in an air-tight jar for up to 6 months.
What you do :
1. Chop the onion, celery and bell pepper. Mince the jalapeno or serrano, if using. I like my food on the fiery side, so I use Thai chilies.
2. Put a large skillet on medium heat and sauté the chopped veggies with a little bit of water. If you are not oil free, you can use your choice of oil or oil spray.
3. When the veggies are softened and slightly brown, add cooked red kidney beans [See here how to cook beans from scratch]. Mix well with the veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the plant-based sausages. With the back of a wooden spoon break the sausage pieces into almost a crumble.
5. Add garlic powder, blackening spice, and black pepper. Mix well.
6. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, hot sauce and 1/2 cup broth or water. Cook for 2 minutes.
7. Stir in oregano and parsley.
8. Add vinegar and liquid smoke and 1 more cup of broth or water. I usually reserve the bean cooking liquid and use that instead of water. That gives a very nice depth of flavor.
9. Put the lid on and cook at medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit. It won’t be too thick though. You’re looking for a stew-like consistency.
10. Turn the heat off. Add cooked rice to it and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt.
11. Now comes a step that is actually a top secret from none other than ‘Nana’! Mind you, it’s as weird as only a Southern grandma’s secret can be!
After you add the rice to the pot, add 1 teaspoon of onion powder. You don’t need to cook it any further!
You surprised enough? If it feels too bizarre to you, you can skip this step of course. But if you ask me, in the world of home cooked love, grandmothers’ secrets are usually the things that make the dishes!
12. Now put the lid on and let the rice absorb the sauce for 15-20 minutes.
13. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and serve hot.
Nutritional info per serving :
Calories – 340 Cal
Carbohydrate – 51 g
Protein – 18 g
Fat – 8 g
Saturated fat – 3 g
Sugar – 6 g
Sodium – 413 mg
Dietary fiber – 9 g
If you like this one, you might also like these recipes :
I did tell ya what history says about the coining of the name of this food guys. But to me, soul food is food with soul. Cooked from the soul and also eaten with a lot of soul! Soul food to me, is food that reminds you of home after a long hard day. It’s the food that you share with your loved ones, gathered around the table. It’s the food that you eat while exchanging laughter, love and warmth of the heart. In today’s world those are the things we need the most! How could I not do a post about it?
Light, peace and avocados; from my heart to yours!
**This is not an affiliated post.
Do you have any questions? Any feedback after you’ve made it? I’d surely like to hear from you! Feel free to comment below.
8/6/2020, at 4.04 AM
Exciting as ever! Now tell me why balsamic vinegar is to be avoided?
8/6/2020, at 8.44 AM
Thank you so much Kam-Al! Balsamic vinegar is slightly sweet and it has a very distinct strong taste that doesn't go well with the other flavors in this dish. So we try to avoid it and rather use apple cider, red wine or any other vinegar. Hope that helps.