Once again it is the first Friday of the month, so I whipped up a batch of the Meal of the Month recipe – Vegan Red Beans and Rice. The recipe was contributed by member Glen Denkler, and I adapted it to a four portion size (the original recipe would feed an army!). Gabriella, one of our volunteers, tested the recipe, and submitted her own recipe for Spicy Slaw that she thought went real well with it. I didn’t make the slaw to demo, but the recipe sounds really great (I love toasted pumpkin seeds, and they are a great addition to lots of dishes!).
I had never made red beans and rice before, so this was pretty new to me. Boy, was it easy! I even remembered to soak the beans first. I made it on the mild side, as is my usual m.o., to appeal to a broad selection of palettes. Most adults thought it needed a little more kick, but the kids that tried it liked it the way it was. If you have children, you could always make it on the mild side and add more Tabasco sauce after you serve the kids.
This recipe is SO easy, and is hard to mess up. Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact amount of ingredients, the beauty is that you can add more or less of your favorites (including bacon or sausage if you are not vegetarian). This recipe is wheat-free, but not gluten-free because of the Cajun Seasoning from bulk – if you are GF, it is best to assume that spice blends are not GF because they could be blended in a facility that also processes wheat products, so it is better to be safe than sorry. I have included a homemade Cajun seasoning recipe from Glen as an alternative – it makes much more than you need, but you can always use it over the next six months if you keep it in an airtight container away from light. I also used the Rapunzel Vegan Bouillon cubes – they are my favorite – although they are also wheat-free but not necessarily gluten-free. I will contact them to see if it is really GF or not for my personal use in recipes.
Vegan Red Beans and Rice
1/2 # Dried Kidney Beans, soaked overnight
6 T Vegetable Broth Powder or 1 1/2 bouillon cubes
1 1/2 c Diced Celery
1 1/2 c Diced Onion
1 c Diced Green (or Red, or both) Peppers
1 large Bay Leaf
1 T Tabasco
1 t (plus more to taste) Cajun Seasoning
Cooked Long Grain Rice (1 1/2 c uncooked)
1/2 c Chopped Parsley
1. Soak beans overnight covered in water .
2. Drain beans, discard water.
3. In a large stockpot place soaked beans, 3 cups water, celery, onion, peppers, bay leaf, Tabasco/hot sauce and 2 T Cajun Seasoning.
4. Bring to a boil over high heat and add vegetable broth powder or bouillon cubes. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Simmer until beans are tender, about one hour.
5. Adjust seasoning with salt and more Cajun Seasoning to taste (I added about another teaspoon)
6. Remove bay leaf.
7. Serve over prepared rice. Top with parsley.
To cook rice :
1. Measure 1 1/2 c of chosen long grain rice.
2. Rinse rice in bowl or saucepan multiple times (until rinse water is mostly clear).
3. Put rinsed rice in a saucepan (with a lid) and add 3 c water and about 1/2 t salt.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and put on lid. Cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Try not to remove the lid for at least a half hour—it will keep more nutrients inside!
Optional* Side Dish: Spicy Slaw
4 T flaxseed oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 head of green cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, coarsely grated
1/4 c pumpkin seeds, toasted
Salt and pepper
1. Toast pumpkin seeds in skillet on stove over med-low heat. Stir often and remove when seeds start to inflate and are slightly browned.
2. In a large bowl, whisk oil and vinegar.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Optional additions may bring the cost over $10.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning
2 T Sea Salt
2 T Cayenne Pepper
1 T White Pepper
1 T Black Pepper
1 T Paprika
1 t Dry Whole Thyme
Mix all together. Store in airtight container in a dark place for up to six months.