Aug 15, 2011

Vegan Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

I’ve been watching the wonderful HBO show Treme, so I’ve got New Orleans on the brain right now. Today I set out to create a healthy, vegan version of red beans and rice that’s as smoky and satisfying as any served in the Crescent City. To achieve that, I used canned chipotle peppers, one of my common secret weapons.

I served this on brown rice, with scallions and a generous amount of Tabasco sauce. For a less traditional serving idea, try it with pickled onions and a salsa made with tomatoes, cucumber and roasted poblano pepper. Not traditional but so good.

Make a pot of these beans on Sunday and you’re good for the week. Now if I could only get the Treme cast to come over to my house for dinner…

Vegan Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

1 pound small red beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic
3 medium green peppers
chopped 3 stalks celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 chipotle peppers (from canned chipotles in adobo), finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
2-3 cups water
1 tablespoon vegan and/or gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
½ cup chopped scallions, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving
Tabasco sauce, for serving

Soak the beans overnight, or use the quick soak method. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and celery. Sauté until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add the beans, bay leaves, sage, oregano, chipotles, cayenne, stock, 2 cups of water and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender (this may take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the age of your beans.) Add more water as needed to keep the beans from drying out; when dine, the mixture should be saucy yet slightly thick. If it seems too watery, mash a cup of the beans and stir back in. (The dish will also naturally thicken overnight if you are serving it the next day.)

Remove the bay leaves and serve on rice, passing the Tabasco.

Serves 6-8

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See more recipes: Beans & legumes, Entrees, Gluten-free, Vegan


  • Looks great! I have to try this beans recipe :)

  • I love beans and rice! I dunno why, but I could eat them every night for dinner..I’m weird tho lol! These look super yummy!!

  • Victoria

    Great recipe! I should mention though, if it has Worcestershire sauce, it’s neither vegan nor vegetarian.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks. And you’re right – maybe I shouldn’t have made the vegan Worcestershire sauce sound like an option if the title of the recipe is Vegan! I will take out the parentheses :)

  • […] Beans and Rice (I built off of this website): I don’t believe I made any changes from this […]

  • David Culver

    Hi Cathy,
    I tried this recipe last night and it was so good! We pressure cooked the beans and then I made the dish at dinner time. This was my first time to make this dish and it now is a absolute favorite. It also was a first time for me to use the Chipotle peppers and wow I am hooked. Thanks so much for your blog. My wife Judith and I are vegetarians but are making the change to being vegans. Keep up the good work and thanks again.
    Sincerely, David

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks David, that’s great to hear. I love the chipotles, too!

  • kathryn

    I just tried this with canned beans, which made it a speedy dinner. It was great with extra spice and mango salsa, served on shredded romaine. Thanks for the recipe!

  • liz

    We are eating more veggie/vegan and this recipe sounded delish. It’s simmering as I type. The Worcestershire sauce I had was made w/ soy-no mention of dairy or animal products of any kind.

  • We tried this yesterday and it was delicious! I made a few modifications and am posting the revised recipe on my site with a credit to you. Yum! Thanks!

  • Caroline

    I just stumbled upon your site. I’m going to try and make this a crockpot recipe. It looks amazing, especially with canned chipotle peppers.

  • Ken

    Just read your “about me” section, and I am sorry to hear that you continue to have problems. Have you read Dr. Esselstyn’s book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”? If not, you will find it interesting.


  • Sio

    Definitely going to try this tonight, but I just had to comment now and say I love you for introducing me to the quick-soaking method! Boy wouldn’t that have saved my procrastinating self some tears more than once 😛

  • Jesse

    Hi Cathy great recipe its cooking right now & smells
    amazing. I lived in New Orleans & loved the red beans
    Rice I ate there. I am now a vegetarian & always
    Believed the sausage made it great but now I can tell
    Just by the smell its the spice. Cant wait for dinner!

  • Abby

    Red bell peppers were on sale so I used them plus added some green chiles from New Mexico and it really turned out nice.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Hope you liked it, Jesse!

  • […] Vegan Louisiana Red Beans and Rice from What Would Cathy Eat? […]

  • Siobhan

    Hi Cathy, I rarely try recipes from blogs and I never leave comments, however this is an exception. This bean recipe is most flavorful I have made in a long time and it is the very authentic even without the meat. Many,many thanks for sharing.

  • Ashley

    I made these two days ago. I added a bit more sage cause I like the flavor, and I didnt have any chilis to add. They took longer to cook than 2 hours, but they were worth it. I ate them with a side of sauteed kale. I’ve never been vegan but I was vegetarian for a while. I am looking to make a commitment to that lifestyle, and hoping it sticks this time. Knowing I have recipes like this helps. Thanks for the recipe.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks, Ashley. Try it next time with some Rancho Gordo beans, like Rio Zapes – it makes a huge difference!

  • Kristin

    I’m working on expanding the vegan side of my menu choices and a vegan version of red beans and rice seemed an obvious place to remove fatty meat from my diet. As a meat eater I can say this is a really flavorful rendition. The chipotle pepper is a great addition. I added a bit of liquid smoke to try and mimic further the flavor I would get from my usual hamhock. I cooked the soaked beans in a pressure cooker ahead of time and then simmered the beans in a regular pot. I think next time I might do the entire thing in the pressure cooker.

    I’m kind of confused about the comment about vegan Worcestershire sauce not being vegan. In the stores here we have a couple of brands, Amy’s and Wizard’s. Neither seem to have any animal-based ingredients.

  • […] Red beans and Rice […]

  • Brigitte Culhane

    I a making this right now and it smells so good! I am making this for a party tomorrow and I am wondering since I am new to cooking beans…can I leave the beans in the pot overnight or will I need to put in fridge and reheat?
    Thanks for your help!


  • I wouldn’t leave any food out overnight. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Brigitte Culhane

    Ok, thanks!

  • I made this recipe tonight (using vegan Worcestershire sauce – everything has a vegan analogue if you look hard enough). I made some changes. Cut back on the celery. Used mild chili powder so our kids would tolerate it, but added some heat after theirs was taken out. Used canned beans. Threw in an extra tomato I had lying around and a dash of cider vinegar. It was great – thanks so much for providing the template.

  • Lori

    Cathy you were right, there is a vegan Worcestershire sauce, no anchovy.

  • […] Courtesy of What Would Cathy Eat […]

  • Kelly

    This is delicious! Everybody loves it and my family doesn’t even realize it is vegan!

  • Pam

    Cathy this recipe is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!!! I had to cook the veggies & beans/spices separate coz I had to run to the store to buy bell pep & celery. Not cooking the veggies with the beans for hours made a remarkably pretty dish with well done beans and crisp tender veggies. Your presentation using a molded cup serving of rice sprinkled with scallions one of the best looking & freshest tasting red beans & rice I’ve ever eaten! Usually this dish comes out looking like ‘glop’ coz the ingredients all take on the same color & consistency from cooking together for hours. My stray from the original recipe created a dish my boyfriend gobbled up (a Texas meat & potatoes guy, but he’s learning). Cathy I will be back to your site for more delicious, thoughtfully prepared dishes !! Thanks for posting this recipe – – the best EVER!

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Love your comment, Pam! I’ll try it your way next time, adding the veggies later.

  • Lisa

    I was interested in making this and wondered how spicy it is?

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Hi Lisa. No, it’s not very spicy. If you’re worried, eliminate the cayenne pepper and cut down the chipotle peppers a bit.

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  • dana sansone

    What is the nutritional walue of this dish (calories/ser, etc)? Dunno if this is possible, but i would like to know, being that i make it all the time. Its so great to make a bunch an throw it in the fridge for later.

  • […] Veggie Slow Cooker Stew **Slow Cooker Stuffed Acorn Squash **Chickpea Pot PieLouisiana Red Beans and RiceVegan Enchilada Casserole**Indicates meals that require NO COOKING on your OAMC BIG DAY aka “throw […]

  • I have found vegan Worcester sauce at Whole Foods, looks like a great recipe!

  • kwqd

    I made this dish yesterday. Wow. This is great recipe.I followed it almost exactly and used vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. It doesn’t look exactly like the red beans and rice that I am used to, but it is very tasty. I used 4 cans of sugar free red beans from Kroger and processed two of the cans into kind of a chunky bean dip texture and simmered it all in my cast iron dutch oven for just over an hour, adding three cups of water over that time and thickening it back down each time. Nice that it does not contain tomatoes, so does not mess with my cast iron surface. I was a bit taken aback by the amount of green pepper and celery, but it cooks down until they are not noticeable. I did add one extra chipolte pepper and added a tablespoon of liquid hickory smoke.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    So glad you liked it. One suggestion: next time try it with dried beans and I promise you will like it even more! It makes a big difference in this dish.

  • Sasha

    Yes- there are vegan worcestor sauces available out there. Try Whole Foods or the organic section at your super market. I alwasy have a bottle in my fridge:)

  • Sasha

    Pardon my typos:(

  • Kathleen Sample

    I’m in the process of going vegan. My question is why don’t vegan recipes ever provide the nutritional information: calories, protein, fat, sodium, cholesterol, etc. I have high blood pressure and pay attention to this information. The recipe looks great. I would just like the other information as well. Thank you

  • Hi Kathleen, I’m sorry I don’t provide the nutritional information. I don’t want to weigh my blog down with that much info, and I focus more on simply eating food with nutritious ingredients, and leave it at that. There are programs you can use to determine the calories, etc.

  • going to try this recipe in my Insta-Pot. Looks awesome. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Ashley

    Please be more specific about the chipotle peppers… i’ve never used them before and I thought the recipe called for two cans!!! Now it’s overly spicy!!

  • Wow, sorry that happened, Ashley! I thought saying 2 peppers “from canned peppers” was clear but I’ll add a caveat. Hope your mouth didn’t get too burned :)

  • Carol

    Am I suppose to chop or grate the garlic cloves, or leave them whole?

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Oops- mince the garlic!

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