Growing up in Southeast Texas, vegan was not even a zygote of a concept in my 1980s childhood world. In that Louisiana border region, I ate my fair share of po’ boys, boudin (don’t ask!), red beans and rice, jambalaya, hush puppies, corn pone, and gumbo. I wasn’t genetically from the south, being from a midwestern Scottish-English and newly American Italian East coast blend, but my foodie sensibilities were reared eating a plethora of cuisines from Creole to Mexican to African to Soul Food to Bavarian to Italian to French to the standard American diet, and more.
I live in Canada and am Canadian today, and it’s rare to experience a foodie encounter with anyone who knows true Creole cuisine, let alone a vegan who does! And better still, it’s rare to find a vegan foodie who goes for my preferred no added salt, no oil, no refined or high naturally glycemic sugars creations. Also, I don’t do most gluten. I’m a handful, but a healthy and fit feeling one!
So, I decided one morning while craving red beans and rice (I can still say it with that distinct Sabine River accent) that I’d try my finely tuned cheffie hands at an ingrained favourite. We can always fix it on the plate if it sucks in the pot, eh?
I used the slow cooker method with my beloved instant Pot (iPot), but you can use any method you like. I honestly don’t think it will come together as well in a traditional slow cooker unless you use a white rice, though.
Ready? Set! Here we go! [Don’t forget the Zydeco music for some spice-piration]
Fraser Valley Vegan’s Red Beans and Rice — low fat no oil friendly version
You will need:
2 cups cooked red beans, no salt added (you can find these in most markets, but substitute pinto or kidney or any bean you love in your chilli that goes nicely with tomato and won’t be too bitter) * I prefer to cook all of my beans from dry in my iPot
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, diced (optional) or 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2-4 stalks celery, diced
1 large can tomatoes with no salt added, or freshly chopped equivalent plus vegetable broth with no added salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp thyme or a handful of fresh sprigs de-stemmed
Juice of 1 small lemon or 1 tbs lemon juice
1 cup rinsed long grain rice (I prefer brown, but add a bit more liquid when this is added later if brown is used)
Ground black pepper
Sweetener of choice eg. monkfruit based maple syrup, stevia, unsweetened applesauce, natural dehydrated unsweetened apple chips, etc… (optional if you like a really honey barbecue type flavour)
What you’ll do:
Turn iPot to low and set for 5 hours
Place above ingredients into the pot, stir, and check at 4 hours for softness of onions. If translucent at edges, go ahead and move on, but if not, leave for rest of the 5 hours.
Add the lemon juice and rice. Stir well, checking flavour and adjusting by adding any ground pepper or sweetness to offset the acidity if desired. Mine did not need it once it came together with all of the rice and bean starches.
Set slow cooker to high and timer to 2 hours, check after 1 hour and if soft/cooked well, you’re ready! My brown rice took the full 2 hours.
Serve with a side of smoked tofu, corn on the cob, or just by itself. It’s amazing like that too!