I’m on a mission. A slow cooker recipe mission. I’m trying to use the crockpot on a more regular basis to ease my stress about cooking on very busy days so I’m not tempted by takeout, which is unhealthy and expensive. A few weeks ago I made turkey and vegetable chili (YUM), and this week, I made one of my favorite meals of all time: Red Beans and Rice!
And the best part? Both of these meals made enough to feed four people for dinner PLUS enough to freeze for a later quick and easy dinner.
I’m working more hours right now than I ever have and also dealing with a long commute on top of it. When I get home, I’m STARVING. Hangry. That kind of hungry where you can’t even hold a decent conversation or do simple tasks until you get something to eat. Is it just me who gets that way?
The weather is cooling down, and the time that I’m able to spend in the kitchen is minimal. Enter: the magic of slow cooker recipes! Coming home to something warm that’s 100% ready to eat and delicious smelling is one of the best things in the world.
Now, about these red beans. They’re so creamy. So smoky. So savory and delicious. And best of all, they’re extremely inexpensive to make!
If you didn’t know already, I lived in New Orleans for two years. It was a wonderful experience, especially when it came to the food. Oh, the food. Crawfish. Oysters. Jambalaya. Be still my heart. And while this recipe may not be quite as good as the red beans and rice you’d find in a restaurant in New Orleans, it certainly comes close for very minimal effort!
A few notes about this recipe:
- Pre-soak your beans. We all know beans cause indigestion. Soaking them before cooking them can help break down some of the indigestible fibers that can cause gas. Simply cover the beans with a couple of inches of water in a container or bowl and soak overnight. They will double in size. Before you are ready to cook, drain and rinse the beans. I do this every time I use beans, lentils, or other legumes in a recipe.
- Watch the sodium. When I made this, I used regular chicken broth and 4 tablespoons of creole seasoning. It was WAY too salty, even for a person who loves salt, especially because the sausage also contains salt. I recommend using low sodium chicken broth and only 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning. And if you want to reduce the sodium even more, make your own creole seasoning so you are in more control of how much salt you add. If you are concerned it won’t be spicy enough with less seasoning, add more cayenne pepper or serve with your favorite hot sauce (my favorite is Chipotle Tabasco, also from Louisiana!).
- Make a vegetarian/vegan version! For a lighter, vegetarian version of this, use vegetable broth or water in place of the chicken broth and omit the sausage. Add some smoked paprika to still get a smoky taste in lieu of the sausage.
- Make your rice ahead of time. Brown rice takes longer to cook than white (usually about 45 minutes!), so make it ahead of time on the weekend and just reheat it in the microwave when you are ready to eat. Or, spend some time cooking rice and freezing it in individual plastic bags or containers, and just defrost and reheat when you are ready to eat!
Need a good crockpot? I recommend this one.
I need more slow cooker recipes. What’s your favorite? Leave it in the comments below!
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
- 1 lb. dry red kidney beans presoaked, rinsed, and drained*
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 12 oz. smoked sausage sliced (or andouille sausage)
- 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2-3 tablespoons creole seasoning depending on spice preference**
- Cooked brown rice
- Sliced green onions for serving
- Place first 8 ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours
- Serve on top of cooked rice and garnish with green onions.
**Creole seasoning and sausage both have high sodium contents. To control the sodium to be a little lower, I recommend making your own creole seasoning so you can limit the amount of salt you add.
For a vegetarian/vegan version, use vegetable broth or water in place of chicken broth and omit the sausage. Add a bit of smoked paprika to add a smoky taste.