This quick and easy red beans and rice recipe is the one I fall back on when I have a lot of things to do. I used to always make them the long way, but who has time for that now?
Cajun Red Beans and Rice Dinner
I would classify my version of red beans and rice as a soup or stew. However, others consider it a side dish that doesn’t have as much broth.
Since this is my recipe, we’ll go with the soup version. I like eating it with a spoon.
My family was from South Mississippi that has a delicious blend of southern and Cajun influence. So red beans and rice appeared on the table often.
Quick and Easy Red Beans and Rice Ingredients
For this recipe, I use canned kidney beans. If you choose to use dried beans, go right ahead.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to soak them overnight and cook them all day.
I also cut up some smoked sausage to add texture and flavor. You can use any type of sausage, including beef, pork, or turkey.
Other ingredients in this are chopped onions, Cajun seasoning (a blend of delicious spices), cayenne pepper, and black pepper. I also used olive oil.
At first, I didn’t think I had any garlic, but I found some behind some bottles in the fridge. So I used what was left in the jar.
Sometimes I add bay leaves to the pot. But since I didn’t have any, I left them out, and I can hardly tell the difference.
You’ll also need some water that you add at different intervals.
For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.
How to Make Quick and Easy Red Beans and Rice
Before you read any more of this, please keep in mind that the seasonings are negotiable. My husband and I like spicy food, so we use a lot of cayenne.
First, turn the burner on medium-high and sauté the onion and garlic in a large pot until the onion becomes translucent. That should only take a few minutes.
While you’re waiting, chop the smoked sausage into bite-size pieces. Then add the sausage to the pot and brown it.
Pour 2 cups of water into the pot and let it simmer while you get the beans ready.
Drain and rinse 3 cans of the kidney beans and add them to the pot.
Afterward, drain and rinse 2 more cans of kidney beans and pour them into a bowl.
Add 2 cups of water and smash them with a potato masher. You can also use an immersion blender, but I can’t find mine.
So I use what I have in front of me. It doesn’t matter how you mash your beans as long as you get the job done.
Add the mashed beans to the pot and stir. The mashed beans will thicken the broth.
Finally, add the Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Give it a big stir and turn the heat down to medium-low.
If you’re not a big spice fan, please cut back on the Cajun seasoning and cayenne. The flavor will still be wonderful but not as hot.
Cook the beans for about an hour so the flavors can meld.
You can either add 1 cup of rice and another cup of water to the pot of beans. Or you can cook the rice on the side, which is what I typically do.
When it’s time to serve it, I put a scoop of rice in the bottom of the bowl. Then, I add a couple of scoops of the beans with sausage and thick broth.
This is so good, it will be hard to turn down seconds. So why bother? Just say yes and have another helping of this delicious dish!
Benefits of Beans
According to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network, beans are beneficial when you want to reduce inflammation. They also contain quite a bit of fiber and protein that help boost your immune system.
Another delicious side for red beans and rice is this creamy coleslaw. This flavorful slaw goes with almost everything.
If you want something a little bit different and super delicious, make this creamy cucumber dill salad from Julia’s Simply Southern blog. It provides just the right balance for your red beans and rice.
For dessert, try this refreshing 2-ingredient lemon cake. It’s easy and will satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Five 15.5-ounce cans of dark red kidney beans
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 pound of smoked sausage cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 4 cups of water
- In a large pot on medium-high heat, sauté the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent.
- Add the bite-size pieces of smoked sausage to the onion and brown the sausage.
- Pour 2 cups of water into the pot.
- Drain and rinse 3 cans of kidney beans. Add them to the pot.
- Drain and rinse the last 2 cans of kidney beans. Pour them into a bowl, add the last 2 cups of water, and mash them with a potato masher. If you have an immersion blender, you can do that. Pour the mashed beans into the pot and stir.
- Add the Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. If you have bay leaves, add them now. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves before serving.
- Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for an hour.
- Serve over white rice.
If you prefer, you may cook the rice with the beans. Just add one cup of rice and another cup of water.