Vegan Creole Style Red Beans & Rice

New Orleans has a special place in my heart. Meat heavy dishes though? Not so much. I have been cooking up some meatless (or even veganized) versions of NOLA food for a while now, and this red beans and rice dish is definitely the top of the top. Like, possibly even better than the ones we ate in the deep south. Ok, no, I'm gonna go ahead and say it - these vegan creole red beans ARE better than the real thing. The best part is that it's mostly hands-off. A few simple ingredients followed by a long simmer on the stove. Absolutely worth the wait.

Traditional Louisiana red beans and rice recipes use sausage, which has a smoky, spice-laced flavour. I am NOT a fan of vegetarian or vegan sausage substitutes, so instead, I recreated the flavour beautifully with a few simple ingredients: smoked paprika, a pinch of anise seed & a little bit of liquid smoke. These few key ingredients elevate the dish from simple to awesome.

Pro prep tip: I always keep a bunch of chopped onion on hand - in my freezer! I cut it into a medium dice and freeze in a large freezer Ziplock style bag, ready for using as needed in any cooked dishes.

Vegan Creole Style Red Beans and Rice

1 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp. coconut oil (or butter, if not vegan)
1 can red kidney beans
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sweet or hot paprika (or both)
1 tsp spicy chili flakes (add more if you like it hotter)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp liquid mesquite smoke
1/2 tsp anise seed
2 cups water
1 chopped ancho/poblano chile
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups cooked white rice, for serving.

Melt butter or oil. Add onion once pan is hot. It should sizzle! Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, stirring intermittently, until slightly browned. Add beans and spices, stir. Add vinegar, smoke & water. Add salt & parsley. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Uncover, stir, and mash a few beans against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon, or with an immersion blender. Cover and simmer another 30 mins.

Serve over fluffy white rice.
Garnish with more parsley if desired.

Beans reheat well if you have leftovers.
Can be stored in the fridge up to 5 days, or in the freezer up to 3 months.


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