A true comfort food, these thick, creamy and spicy red beans are a guilt-free dinner. This Instant Pot red beans and rice recipe calls for no oil at all, so it’s a low fat, plant-based, vegan, full-flavored crowd pleaser.
Growing up in Texas with Louisiana next door, we were exposed to a variety of cajun dishes. Gumbo, crawfish boils, po’boy sandwiches, boudin, blackened fish. And, spicy red beans and rice.
Admittedly, most of the red beans and rice I ate as a child came from Popeye’s Fried Chicken, along with biscuits and fried okra. Oh, that fried okra was so good. We would eat most of it before we even made it back home with dinner.
How are red beans and rice traditionally made?
Traditionally, New Orleans-style red beans are seasoned primarily with ham or sausage and the aromatic herbs and vegetables take a back seat. The recipe on a package of Camellia red beans calls for just 1 tablespoon of chopped celery when making a pound of beans. I’m sorry, but how in the world does one tablespoon of celery do anything at all flavor-wise to a whole pot of beans?
How do you make vegetarian red beans and rice?
We’re going to let the aromatic vegetables, herbs and spices shine in this vegetarian red beans and rice recipe. To amp up the flavor we are going to load up on onion, celery, fresh parsley, garlic and creole spices.
Compared to that recipe I mentioned earlier, we’re using about 30 times more celery, 10 times more garlic and 4 times more parsley.
You can use dried parsley in a pinch for this recipe. Instead of 1 cup of chopped fresh parsley, you could substitute 2 tablespoons dried parsley. Also, with the garlic, you could substitute the 10 cloves for 1 tablespoon granulated garlic or garlic powder, but fresh is better.
How do you make red kidney beans in a pressure cooker?
We’re making these plant-based, vegan red kidney beans in a pressure cooker, specifically the Instant Pot. The beans don’t need to soak ahead of time, so you can go from start to finish in under 2 hours, most of that being hands-off time.
We’ll start with sautéing the aromatics, then add in the beans, water and spices. Then, cover it and allow the Instant Pot to do it’s thing. We’ll make the rice separately on the stove, because I like them separate.
Once the beans are done in the Instant Pot, you can use the saute feature to thicken the sauce. Crushing some of the beans against the side of the pot helps make them extra creamy and delicious.
What kind of rice goes with red beans and rice?
Either long grain white rice or long grain brown rice would work well with this vegan red beans and rice recipe. Since the kidney beans will take over an hour to cook in the Instant Pot, you would have the time to cook the heartier and healthier brown rice on the stove simultaneously, if you want, since that normally takes about 45 minutes.
But, a white jasmine or basmati rice would also be delicious. White rice normally takes about 20 minutes to cook on the stovetop.
If you have a rice cooker or two Instant Pots (some do!), you could always cook your rice in one of those appliances instead. I prefer to cook my rice on the stovetop in a heavy dutch oven. It almost always comes out perfect and I can make enough so that our family of four has leftovers.
Are kidney beans safe to eat?
Yes, they are. However, they must be cooked at high heat and boil for at least 10 minutes during the cooking process.
Here’s some more information about the dangers of improperly cooking kidney beans:
Did you know that eating raw kidney beans can be toxic? According to the FDA, eating as few as 4-5 uncooked kidney beans can cause severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in 1-3 hours after ingestion. Uncooked kidney beans have an unusually high concentration of a chemical called phytohaemagglutinin that is destroyed when the beans are properly cooked by boiling. Apparently, cooking in a slow cooker may actually make the beans more dangerous because low temperature cooking increases the toxicity. Other beans contain this chemical, but in much smaller amounts. The bottom line – be sure to cook kidney beans by boiling.Iowa State University
Cooking kidney beans in a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot raises the temperature very high and removes this risk.
So, while you can safely cook kidney beans on the stove, as well, using your pressure cooker or Instant Pot gives peace of mind in this case, for sure.
I hope you’ll give this Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice recipe a try! If you make it, please come back and let me know how you liked it and share a pic of your creation with me! You can leave it in the comments below or tag me on Instagram @veryveganish.
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 10 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh parsley, minced (about one bunch)
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans
- 8 cups water
- 1 tbsp creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups cooked rice
- Sort and rinse beans and set aside.
- Turn Instant Pot 6 quart or bigger on to saute setting and allow pan to heat up.
- Add onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally but allowing the veggies to brown or char a little (this adds depth of flavor to the beans).
- Add garlic and parsley, stir to combine and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the beans, water, cajun seasoning, pepper and bay leaves to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
- Put the lid on and turn the valve to "Sealing".
- Turn the Instant Pot off by pushing the cancel button. Now, press the "beans" (or pressure) button and increase the time to 60 minutes by pushing the + button. It will beep several times and start building up pressure to cook your beans.
- While the beans are cooking, make your rice (white or brown) according to package directions and set aside, covered.
- Once the time has elapsed and the Instant Pot has beeped several times, use a long kitchen utensil (like the big spoon you used to stir your beans) to turn the valve to "Venting". Be careful! This steam that escapes can burn you. This will allow the pressure to release quickly.
- Once all the steam has released, open the lid and stir the beans. Check the beans to make sure they are tender. If they are not done, close the lid, turn the valve to "Sealing" and cook on high pressure another 5 minutes. Repeat, as necessary until beans are tender.
- Once the beans are tender, turn the Instant Pot off by pushing the cancel button. Then, press the saute button. This will boil the beans and allow them to thicken up a bit. Saute/boil the beans for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently to scrape the bottom of the insert pan. Using the spoon you've been stirring the beans with, crush some beans into the side of the pan. This will help thicken the broth and make your beans creamier.
- Once the beans have reached the thickness you want, turn the Instant Pot off. Serve with rice.
To substitute Tony Chachere's creole seasoning, add to taste: salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, chili powder and garlic powder.
I'm using a 6 quart Instant Pot. You can make this recipe, as written in a 6 quart or bigger Instant Pot. If you have a smaller one, you'll need to reduce the quantities so it will fit in your machine.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 441mg Carbohydrates: 17g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g