This Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice is definitely not lacking in flavor or spice! A meatless version of red beans and rice that is filled with spices, smokiness, and flavor!
My husband was hesitant when I told him I was making a vegetarian version of red beans and rice. I have tried several versions of red beans and rice that were vegetarian, and they were underwhelming, to say the least. I told him that this is a recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, and every recipe that I have made from this cookbook was a success in our house! This Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice was no exception. It was a hit, and my husband loved this dish.
This recipe has many of the same ingredients that traditional red beans and rice uses, but without the meat, there are additional seasonings and flavors that are added to this vegetarian version to give that smokiness and spice that we all know and love in red bean and rice.
You can also make this dish vegan by simply substituting the butter with a vegan butter such as the brand Earth Balance.
I personally find this dish perfectly spicy. My husband opts to add hot sauce on top of his dish. Whether you want more heat or not, I do encourage you to add some fresh chopped green onions on top.
Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice
- 1 lb 2 cups dried red beans, picked over and rinsed (I use the Camellia brand)
- 3 T kosher salt
- 4 quarts water
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper remove the membranes and seeds, finely diced
- 1 celery rib finely diced
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 t minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
- 1 1/2 t smoked paprika
- 1/4 t dried thyme or 1 t chopped fresh thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/8 t cayenne pepper
- 1/4 t ground black pepper
- 9 cups water
- 1 t red wine vinegar plus extra if desired
- 1 t kosher salt
- 3 green onions sliced thin
- Hot sauce optional
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 3 1/4 cups water
- 1 t salt
- Dissolve the salt in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well. Set side.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and 1/2 t salt and cook until vegetables are softened, 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, chipotle chile, smoked paprika, thyme, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans and 9 cups water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft and liquid starts to thicken, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Stir in red wine vinegar and 1 t salt. Cook until liquid is thick and beans are fully tender, about 30 minutes.
- Discard bay leaves. Add additional red wine vinegar and salt if desired.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the rice and cook until edges begin to turn translucent, about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the water and salt and bring to boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, and let rice sit for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.
- Place the desired amount of rice in individual bowls, add a generous amount of the bean mixture bean. Sprinkle with green onions. Drizzle with hot sauce, if desired.