Vegan Red Beans and Rice

This week marks the start of Mardi Gras, so I was hungry for Red Beans and Rice. We’ve been trying to have Meatless Mondays so I decided to try a Vegan recipe I found on the Internet. I made several modifications, but the base recipe is pretty much untouched. The original author suggests adding coconut oil to give it more mouthfeel, but my tasting panel (aka Jay) felt it wasn’t needed. -Paul

Prep Time: 1 day Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours Total Time: 1 day 3 1/2 hours Difficulty: Easy Servings: 6 to 8 

Source: Beth Moncel, modified by Paul Harsha 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dry red beans (I use Camellia brand)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I used Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • Freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill) 
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • Several shakes of Tony’s (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon miso powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced

DESCRIPTION

While I absolutely looove pork products, I thought it would be fun to try a vegan version. To make up for the loss of andouille sausage’s smoky flavor, I added a heaping dose of smoked paprika (that stuff is magic!). Making sure there was a healthy amount of herbs and spices also helped keep the batch flavorful. A sprinkle of fresh green onions on top adds a final oomph of flavor.

DIRECTIONS

The night before: 

Place your beans in a large pot and fill with enough cool water to cover the beans by a few inches. Add a tablespoon of Kosher salt. Place the beans in the refrigerator to soak over night.

When you’re ready to cook: 

Drain the soaked beans in a colander and rinse with fresh, cool water.

Dice (about 1/4 inch) the celery, bell pepper, and onion, and mince the garlic. Cook the celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic in a large pot with the olive oil over medium heat until softened (5-7 minutes). Stir smoked paprika into the vegetables.

Add the rinsed beans to the pot with the vegetables. Also add the vegetable broth, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, some freshly cracked pepper, Tony’s, miso. and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a full boil over high heat. After it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and allow the pot to simmer for at least two hours, preferably three. 

Make sure the pot is simmering the entire time, increasing the heat if needed. Stir the pot occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Keep the lid in place the entire time to keep the beans from drying out.

After two hours (preferably longer) the beans should be soft and tender. Skim the pot, remove the bay leaf, then mash some of the beans against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon. This will thicken the pot and make the classic, creamy texture of the dish. You want to mash up about a cup of beans.

Add tomato paste. Adjust seasonings and allow the pot to simmer for about 30 minutes more uncovered to help it thicken.

To serve:

Add red beans to a bowl and top with a scoop of warm, cooked rice. 

Sprinkle sliced green onions over the top and add a dash of hot sauce if desired.

NOTES

If you don’t have Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning: add salt and increase the amount of black pepper and cayenne. Tony’s is basically salt, red pepper, black pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. It’s there for the salt and extra kick.

If you don’t have miso powder: use regular red miso, or make some : https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12330-miso-spice It’s there to deepen the flavor. Kombu would also work.

Keep in mind that this is not a fast dish. The longer you cook it the better it gets. I cooked mine for 3 hours, but you don’t want to go any less than 2 hours, or else your beans won’t be soft. 

Also, I soaked my beans over night, so you’ll want to plan this at least a day ahead. It’s worth it. Promise.

As an afterthought, I stirred a spoonful of coconut oil into one of my bowls and it added that lovely, velvety, rich flavor that you can only get from saturated fat (usually provided by the pork). So, if you still feel like you’re missing that pork derived richness, try adding a lil’ coconut oil.

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