Day after Christmas–I survived! If you’re like me, some easy cooking is probably sounding really good right now.
Let’s do a Creole vegan slow cooker red beans and rice recipe! Red beans and rice originates from Louisiana. Unlike some other famous dishes from the region, it’s not meant to be too spicy, so it’s served with plenty of hot sauce for the table. My recipe is, however, well-seasoned for depth of flavor. The rice is prepared separately, and if you’re feeling fancy you can mold it before you ladle the red beans and sauce over top.
Traditionally the red beans and their sauce would be simmered on a stove top for quite a long time. The slow cooker makes this process so much easier! Red beans and rice usually also has Andouille sausage, but no worries–you can make a fantastic vegan version from my jambalaya recipe.
You do not need to pre-soak the beans, and the original recipe does not say to do so either. One time when I made this recipe, I tried soaking the beans the night before. This did not help them cook more evenly; in fact, all it did was rob the finished dish of a lot of flavor. If you’ve always been told that you have to pre-soak dried beans, check out a recent news story about how this is changing!
I adapted Southern Living’s New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe.
How I Made It Vegan
The only non-vegan part of the Southern Living recipe was the Andouille sausage. I used my homemade vegan Andouille sausage instead, from my vegan jambalaya recipe. This sausage is so good that I usually make a double batch and refrigerate or freeze what I don’t use right away. Believe me, once you try it, you’ll want a stash in your home too! It’s great in this recipe or in pizza, gumbo, jambalaya, or pasta sauce. But if the holidays have left you exhausted, feel free to just leave the sausage out.
I’ve also changed the original recipe so that you pan-fry the sliced sausage before adding it to the slow cooker. This gives it great texture and makes it look exactly like meat sausage. I recently brought this to a potluck and had people fooled!
Other Changes that I Made
The Southern Living recipe was too soupy for my taste, so I decreased the water and replaced some of the water with vegetable stock, as recommended by some of the reviewers of the original recipe. I also added greater quantities of vegetables and sausage.
Also, although red beans and rice is supposed to be rather mild, I felt that the original recipe needed more seasoning and depth of flavor. I added tomatoes and tomato paste, as well as a greater variety of spices. I also love the texture of rice cooked with vegan butter, and I added some seasonings to the rice as well.
Finally, as the name suggests, red beans and rice is supposed to be made with…red beans! Red beans are different from red kidney beans, but sadly they can be hard to find in certain areas. You can use either small red beans or light red kidney beans. I’ve tried both now, and they’re both great!