Dry red beans and brown rice are cooked together with flavorful seasonings in the Instant Pot in this classic vegetarian staple!
As I seem to say with most recipes, this one is a long time coming. This recipe started out as vegan jambalaya and slowly (seriously, over a few months) transformed into just red beans and rice.
Because a recipe for red beans and rice is a must-have in every vegetarian kitchen! And, of course, I have to employ my handy-dandy Instant Pot for a speedier recipe.
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Much history surrounds red beans and rice, most notably the connection to New Orleans and Creole cooking. While traditionally not a vegetarian recipe, this staple is easy to adapt for the modern day vegetarian kitchen.
It takes just over an hour to make red beans and brown rice in the electric pressure cooker. That's because the dry beans and rice are cooked at the same time.
That means just one pot and a few minutes of prep for a flavorful pot of vegetarian goodness!
Step by step instructions
- Start by sauteing the "holy trinity" of bell pepper, onions, and celery in a bit of olive oil until softened.
- Add the garlic and seasonings and saute for 30 seconds more. Sauting--"bloom"-- spices with the aromatic ingredients (onion and garlic) is a quick way to deepen flavor.
- Add the remaining ingredients: red beans, brown rice, vegetable broth, hot sauce, bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.
- Lock the electric pressure cooker lid in place and set the vent to sealing. Choose "high pressure" and set the timer to 30 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release. All in all this should take just about an hour.
- When the pressure has released naturally, remove the lid. Test a bean to make sure it's fully cooked. If not, cook on high pressure for 5 more minutes, then release the pressure manually. Squeeze in lemon juice and top with green onions.
What kind of red beans should I use?
Do not use kidney beans in this recipe. While they are red, and they are sometimes used in red beans and rice, they have a different cook time than small red beans.
Use a bag labeled with "small red beans" for this recipe.
Can I use soaked beans?
Readers have had success soaking beans for 4-8 hours and reducing cook time to 23 minutes. Keep the liquid amounts the same.
What kind of Cajun seasoning should I use?
Can you freeze rice and beans?
This recipe freezes well. Freeze in single portion containers (this is the brand I use) for easy last-minute lunches, or freeze all at once in a large container.
Rice and beans thaw best in the fridge, but in a pinch it can be thawed in the microwave or on the stove. Just be warned that the texture may degrade if thawed this way.
Note: Let cool before freezing. Don't fill to the top of your freezer-safe container, as the food will expand when it freezes.
- Mix in cooked okra, vegetarian andouille sausage, and fresh tomatoes to make an impromptu veggie jambalaya
- Add to corn tortillas with peppers and spinach for filling tacos
- Enjoy as a side dish with vegan cornbread muffins or jalapeno cornbread and a kale salad
Check out my vegan jambalaya for another Cajun-inspired dish.