Do you like Creole inspired dishes?
As I mentioned before in my Jambalaya with Tofu Ham recipe, Creole and Cajun dishes are very popular in our house! If I’m not preparing one, we’re probably dreaming of our next visit to The Palace, one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara that serves delicious Creole and Cajun food. (It also happens to have been one of President Reagan’s favorite places to eat!)
Vegan Red Beans and Rice: An Easy Dish to Prepare!
I love Jambalaya, but it can take time to prepare. That’s what is so great about this vegan red beans and rice recipe. You get those delicious Creole flavors, but the meal is made and ready to serve in about 45 minutes. Pretty awesome!
And historically, that’s kind of what red beans and rice was all about. Back in the day, Mondays were wash days in Louisiana cultures, so women wanted a really low maintenance meal for Monday nights, a dish they wouldn’t have to think about while getting the wash done. Enter red beans and rice! The women could just let those red beans simmer away without too much thought while getting the laundry done for the week.
My Vegan Red Beans and Rice recipe borrows from the red beans and rice meal idea, but it’s also reminiscent of dirty rice: I like to mix the red kidney beans and rice together, along with veggie sausage, ground beef substitute, and yummy Creole spices. So the white rice in this recipe turns the color of all these delicious seasonings, which is where the term “dirty rice” comes from.
Who is Satchmo?
And for anyone unfamiliar with the name “Satchmo,” let me explain.
“Satchmo” was the nickname of the legendary trumpeter and jazz musician, Louis Armstrong. I’m sure you’ve heard Louis’ music, even if you aren’t familiar with his name. (Think “What a Wonderful World.” That’s him!)
Louis’ favorite dish was red beans and rice. So much so that he was known to sign autographs with the phrase
“Red beans and ricely yours, Louis Armstrong.”
How cool is that?!
So this is dish is my tribute to the great Louis Armstrong! I’m sure Satchmo himself wouldn’t have been able to resist a bowl of this vegan red beans and rice! Make it for dinner this week, preferably while listening to some of Louis’ showstopping jazz. (Here’s my favorite Louis Armstrong album [aff. link] if you’re interested in getting better acquainted with his music!)
A Quick Note on Paprika!
As you can imagine, the spices are a huge part of what gives this dish it’s amazing flavor!
I use two types of paprika here, good old paprika, as well as smoked paprika. If you’ve never cooked with smoked paprika you’re in for a treat! It truly infuses this dish with a wonderful, smoky sweetness you just can’t get from any other spice. Simply Organic is generally my favorite spice brand, and I absolutely love their paprika [aff. link] and smoked paprika [aff. link].
If you’re in the market for either, I highly recommend going with Simply Organic for both! Here they are on Amazon:
...And a Fun Clip!
Satchmo’s Vegan Red Beans and Rice
For the veggie meat substitutes
- 3 veggie sausage links, cut to half moons (I like Trader Joe’s Veggie Italian Sausage)
- 8 oz ground beef substitute, frozen (I like to use Morningstar Veggie Crumbles, but use whatever your favorite ground beef substitute is)
For the rice:
- 2 ¼ cups dry white basmati rice, rinsed
- 3 cups water
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 seasonings
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup parsley, minced, plus extra for garnish
- ½ cup scallions, chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 30 oz dark red kidney beans, drained (or 2 cans)
- ½-1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Make the rice
- To your rice cooker, add the rice and water. Start the cooker, and let the rice cook as you prepare the rest of the dish ingredients!
Cook the onion
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil, followed by the onion and ½ tsp sea salt. Cook for 7 minutes.
Add the bell peppers
- Now add the bell peppers and an additional 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. The bell peppers will just be starting to soften, but still have a bite to them.
Add the celery
- Add the celery, the remaining ½ tsp sea salt, and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook for 6 more minutes over medium heat, then turn the heat down to medium low, and add the fresh thyme.
- Cook for 9 more minutes, until the bell peppers and celery are cooked through but not mushy. Veggies are done!
Cook the veggie sausage
- While the veggies cook, make the veggie sausage and crumbles. Start with the veggie sausage.
- To a medium sized skillet, add the veggie sausage and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook over medium heat until browned, about 7 minutes. Flip on occasion to allow all sides of the sausage to brown, then set the veggie sausage aside on a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Cook the veggie crumbles
- In the same skillet you cooked the veggie sausage, now cook the veggie crumbles. Add an additional 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the skillet with the crumbles, and cook over medium heat until cooked through and slightly browned, about 7 minutes. Flip on occasion.
Bring it altogether
- Once the rice, veggies, veggie sausage, and veggie crumbles are all finished cooking, it’s time to bring it all together!
- To a large mixing bowl, add the veggies, veggie sausage, and crumbles. Use your spatula to mix them together.
Add half of the rice and seasonings
- Now add half of the cooked rice to the mixing bowl, followed by ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion salt, ¼ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp paprika, and 1 tsp sea salt. Mix to combine.
Add half the beans and herbs
- Now add half of the kidney beans, half of the parsley, and half of the scallions. Mix again to combine.
Add the rest!
- Next add the rest of the rice, and the remaining ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion salt, ¼ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp paprika, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and ½ tsp smoked paprika.
- Mix to combine, then add the second half of the kidney beans, parsley, and scallions.
- Mix everything until it is completely incorporated, then add ½-1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix again, then taste.
- Adjust seasonings as desired, and serve!
- This dish is a meal all by itself, but you could also serve it with or over a bed of greens.