Red beans and rice is a historic staple in Louisiana cuisine.
The ease with which red beans and rice comes together made it the ideal wash day meal. Women could let the red beans simmer and the rice cook while getting the laundry done for the week. It was an easy meal that didn’t require babysitting.
The idea behind this low maintenance dinner is just as attractive today.
With a few seasonings, fresh herbs, veggies, and meatless add-ins, red beans and rice becomes a vegan meal that’s full of flavor, but still comes together quickly. In about 45 minutes, to be more precise.
Untraditional Red Beans and Rice
This isn’t a traditional red beans and rice recipe. Rather, it has some traditional elements. In a standard red beans and rice dish, the beans are served over the rice. But in my vegan red beans and rice, I mix the beans and rice together. Fresh thyme adds a classic flavor, while paprika and smoked paprika add color. Sautéed onion, bell pepper, and celery add more flavor and moisture, while Beyond Meat Sausage and Morningstar Meatless Crumbles make this a filling meal that stays with you.
This red beans and rice dish is named after the legendary trumpeter and jazz musician, Louis Armstrong. Louis is best remembered today for his classic (and original) rendition of “What a Wonderful World.”
Louis’ favorite dish was red beans and rice. He was even know to sign autographs with the phrase:
“Red beans and ricely yours, Louis Armstrong”
Make Vegan Red Beans and Rice
Think of Louis, and listen to some of his timeless music while you make my vegan red beans and rice. It’s a weeknight meal to get excited about.
Watch Louis with his band and Bing Crosby in High Society (1956).
Paprika and smoked paprika are major flavor components of this dish, and bring color to the rice. Here’s my favorite paprika and smoked paprika by Simply Organic on Amazon [aff. links]. You can also find them in my Amazon store here.
Louis' Vegan Red Beans and Rice
For the Beyond Meat sausage:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 3 Beyond Meat sausage links, cut to half moons (I use Hot Italian flavor)
For the Morningstar Farms Veggie Griller Crumbles:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz Morningstar Farms Veggie Griller Crumbles, or your favorite meatless ground beef substitute (note: you may need to add salt if you use a different ground beef substitute.)
For the veggies:
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, cut to half moons
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
For the rice:
- 4 cups cooked white rice, I prefer Basmati (in my rice cooker, 4 cups cooked white rice equals 1 ½ cups dry white rice)
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ cup parsley or cilantro, minced
- ¼ cup scallions, chopped
- 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1-3 tsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
Make the rice
- If you haven't already, now is the time to cook your rice. Let the rice cool for at least 10 minutes after cooking. This will keep if from clumping together when we add it to the other ingredients.
Cook the Beyond Meat sausage
- Add the Beyond Meat sausage, olive oil, and salt to a large skillet. Turn the heat on to medium, and cook the sausage for 10 minutes, flipping occasionally. Sausage is done. Transfer the sausage from the skillet to a large mixing bowl.
Cook the veggie crumbles
- To the same skillet you cooked the sausage in, now add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the Morningstar Crumbles. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the Morningstar is nicely browned. Transfer the Morningstar to the mixing bowl with the sausage.
Cook the veggies
- In the same skillet you cooked the sausage and Morningstar in, now heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and ½ tsp sea salt. Cook for seven minutes, until the onion turns translucent and slightly browns.
- Turn the heat down to medium, and add the bell peppers and an additional 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. The bell peppers will be just starting to soften, but still have a bite to them.
- Now add the celery, the remaining ½ tsp sea salt, and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, then add the fresh thyme. Cook for 3 more minutes. Veggies are done, transfer them to the mixing bowl with the Beyond Meat Sausage and Morningstar.
Add the rice and rice seasonings
- Add the rice to the mixing bowl with the Beyond Meat, Morningstar, and veggies. Roughly mix everything together. Now add in the dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion salt, paprika, and smoked paprika. Mix until the seasonings coat the rice, veggies, and meat substitutes.
- Last, mix in the red beans, scallion, parsley/cilantro, and 1 tsp lime juice. Taste, and add more lime juice, if desired.
Serve and enjoy!
- Serve as a one bowl meal, or with a veggie side, like sautéed kale.
Interesting! This recipe is a cross between dirty rice and red beans…I love it! So I lived in south Louisiana for a while, and I absolutely fell in love with everything about that state…the history, the food, the football. You name it! We absolutely love Cajun and Creole recipes around our house, and this one sounds delicious. What a fun way to combine two classic recipes together into one!
Thank you so much David! Louisiana would be such a fun place to live, sounds like you had a blast during your time there! I’ve yet to visit New Orleans, but it is one of the cities at the top of my list!
This is a lovely dish Shannon. Lynne and I do enjoy our beans and rice. And I’m with you totally when it comes to preparing nice and easy healthy dishes when time is short. I’ll have to make this whilst playing my favourite Louis Armstrong tracks! Lovely!
Haha I love that idea Neal! Thank you so much! Can’t go wrong with beans and rice, right? Hope you have a lovely week!
Your Satchmo’s Red Beans with Rice does indeed look mighty tasty and as Satchmo is one of my favorite singers, it’s a must-try in my book. I thinking if old Louie was still around, he’d be singing “What a wonderful world” after eating a bowl of your Red Beans with Rice.
Awww thank you Ron! Such a kind comment. I’m with you, Louis is one of my very favorite musicians. No one sings “What a Wonderful World” quite like Louis!
Oh I love Creole and Cajun food, and don’t make it often enough. Thanks for a good reminder. I’m not vegan, and I wouldn’t mind a little chorizo or andouille in this, though I’m sure it’s fabulous with the substitutes. Happy New Year!
Oh for sure!!! Those would be excellent substitutions! I love classic dishes like beans and rice that are so easily adaptable for many different ways of eating. Thank you so much for commenting Mimi! (And of course, I adore your name!)
How fun was Satchmo’s autograph? I should definitely incorporate my favourite food into mine! This looks fabulous, Shannon. We don’t cook creole food at all but we loved it when we travelled the US, so I will give it a go! Thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks so much Katerina! I totally agree, isn’t it fun that Louis made beans and rice part of his signature? I think it speaks to what an awesome and fun guy he must have been!
What an interesting recipe, Shannon! I love this kind of food, but have never made it at home.