Easy Louisiana Red Beans & Brown Rice

Easy Louisiana Red Beans & Brown Rice | Teaspoonofspice.com

Between the recent Super Bowl in NOLA and Mardi Gras fast approaching, there’s a plethora New Orleans, Cajun, Creole recipes floating around and this Southern Wannabe is loving them all.

This got me in the mood to make a big pot of red beans and rice (though I realize an East Coast gal can’t truly produce the real thing but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?)

Some Red Beans and Rice tidbits:

  • Red beans and rice has been a Monday meal tradition for decades in New Orleans. On wash day (Mondays), women would put a big pot of beans on the stove to cook all day as they did the laundry. The beans were seasoned with leftovers from the Sunday ham and served over rice.
  • The “Holy Trinity” of Cajun and Creole cooking is onions, celery and bell peppers and is the base for this dish.
  • Cajun/Creole seasoning is a savory spice mix – with a little kick – usually paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, oregano and thyme. Zatarians is a popular brand.
  • The red beans used are smaller and a bit sweeter than large kidney beans (locals swear by Cameilla Red Kidney Beans for this dish.)

Easy Louisiana Red Beans & Brown Rice | Teaspoonofspice.com

I made a few healthy tweaks while still keeping that Cajun flavor:

  • swap in whole grain brown rice (I used brown basmati )
  • swap in turkey kielbasa for andouille (less fat but still lots of heat and spice)
  • cut back on the Cajun seasoning (as salt is usually the first ingredient) and add in smoked paprika for some extra smoky flavor

My lazy way shortcut to make keep it simple is to use canned red beans instead of dried beans (if you can’t find a low sodium version, always drain and rinse canned beans thoroughly.) I used a canned version of the smaller red beans under the Westbrae organic label.

Easy Louisiana Red Beans & Brown Rice

Makes 8 servings


  • 2 cups uncooked basmati brown rice
  • 13 ounces turkey kiebalsa (or chicken andouille)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 large green pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 large celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15 ounces) cans red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Your favorite hot sauce


  1. Cook rice according to package and set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook kielbasa or sausage to sear, stirring frequently for 4 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  3. Reduce to medium heat and add oil. Add onion, pepper and celery; saute for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika and salt; saute another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in beans and water; bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the broth. Add the sausage back in, stir well and cook another 15 minutes.
  6. Serve over brown rice and with your favorite hot sauce.

Easy Louisiana Red Beans & Brown Rice | Teaspoonofspice.com

For more tastes of New Orleans, here’s a post professing my love for the city and a recipe for Baked Beignets (I realize this is a bit sacrilegious, kind of like used canned beans and turkey kielbasa for authentic red beans and rice!)

No matter. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Have you ever made red beans and rice? What’s your favorite Cajun, Creole or Louisiana dish?

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  1. Love your red beans and rice tidbits! One of my favorite dishes but I haven’t had it in so long. Gotta make this soon!
    EA-The Spicy RD recently posted..10 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Almonds + A Fabulous Almond Giveaway!My Profile

  2. harinnyc says:

    OMG; This recipe is the BEST! My hubby & I both just LOVE this recipe; Better than Zatarain’s and so much lower in salt. Have to admit that I used “real” kielbasa, but only half a link, @8 oz. Did use dry beans and homemade creole seasoning to cut down on the salt; my creole seasoning is a combo of http://allrecipes.com/recipe/creole-seasoning-blend/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/emerils-creole-seasoning-essence minus the salt; super easy.
    Thanks so much for this delicious recipe.

    • Thanks so much for sharing! I use real kielbasa too here and there and love the idea of your homemade creole seasoning – will need to check that out next time I whip up a batch :)

  3. Excellent recipe used portuguese chorizo and 2 and a half cups chicken broth instead of water everyone is raving! thanks again for this great recipe!

  4. As a boy growing up in new orleans, I can remember our school lunch on mondays was usually red beans and rice.
    They were some of the best! This recipe closely resembles the taste I can remember. One thing you lack however is allspice and ground clove. These two spices, used in small amounts will give you that”somethings missing” flavor. Try it and see!


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