Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans And Rice

What seems like several lifetimes ago, I used to make red beans and rice on game days for a crowd of folks wanting to either cheer on or jeer a certain Florida college football team. (Hint: chomp chomp.) Back in those days I watched college ball every weekend and thoroughly enjoyed having game day at our house. I knew every player, understood the role of each position, read plays and competently talked football. 

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For Game Day and Beyond

These days I don’t even know the team rankings, let alone who’s matched up on weekends. It’s rarer still that I watch a game, and no gang comes over to hang out, cheer, jeer and eat. But there’s still good reason to make up a batch of red beans and rice, because they are delicious! What’s more, I’ve come up with a vegan version. Meat-loving, dear sweet husband says he liked the vegan version better than the authentic version! 

For Meat Eaters

The recipe that inspired my Red Beans & Rice recipe came from a 1984 Southern Living Cookbook my mother gave me. That recipe, like many, called for ham and garlic salt. I prefer Andouille sausage, and hold the salt. After all, the Worcestershire and sausage have plenty of sodium! It was hard to come by Andouille sausage back in the day, so I often used Polish sausage instead. It will taste a little different, but still nice to eat.

Vying for Vegan Red Beans & Rice

Beyond the obvious need to substitute meat a plant-based protein for this recipe, you need vegan Worcestershire. Wait, what? Think there’s no meat in Worcestershire?  Depends upon what you call meat, but it has anchovies in it. Thus, the need for vegan Worcestershire. Maybe we should call it Vegestershire.    

How does Vegstershire compare to the original? I did a blind taste test with my husband and he thought the vegan version was the real thing. In fact, after sitting in the fridge a few days, it was even tastier. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the real thing.

For the sausage, I would have loved to try Tofurky brand Andouille sausage. Alas, it was not available in any stores within 100 miles of me. I used their Italian sausage instead. Dear, sweet husband said he liked the vegan version better than the other. So … Italian definitely worked well, but I still want to try it with Andouille.

About Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice is pretty easy to make. If you start with dry beans, soak them overnight or as needed and cook them following directions for either stovetop or Instant Pot. If you use canned, drain and rinse them. Load up your slow cooker with all of the ingredients and wait. Cook some rice just before you’re ready to serve, and add a side of bread, a biscuit or corn muffin if you like.

We enjoyed these so much we finished the meat version before I could even make the vegan version! With or without a football game, this one’s a crowd pleaser … even if the crowd is a small but mighty one or two of you. 


Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice, twice as nice with a vegan and non-vegetarian version. A classic cajun dish with a little twist.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cajun
Keyword Andouille, cajun classic, non-vegetarian, non-vegetarian option, red beans and rice, vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 half cups
Calories 185kcal


  • 1 lb red beans cooked (about 3 to 4 C)
  • 1 lb Andouille sausage (12-16 oz. will work) for vegan use plant-based
  • 1 large onion
  • ¼ C Worcestershire for vegan version, use ½ C vegan Worcestershire (see link below)
  • ½ C water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • tsp cayenne
  • tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 bay leaves


  • Chop the onions.
  • Place beans in slow cooker and mash against sides. Leave about 1/4 or so whole.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for at least 4 hours


Serving Suggestions
Serve over rice with a side of bread, biscuit or corn muffin. Would be good with corn on the cob and cooked greens. 
  • Light or dark red beans will work. (Light red beans are pictured.)
  • For non-vegetarian version, if you cannot find Andouille sausage, a Polish sausage link will work. The taste will be a little different.
  • For vegan version, you can use plant-based Italian sausage if you cannot locate Andouille version. Tofurkey carries it, but it is not available in all markets.
  • If serving with rice, preparing about 2 cups of uncooked rice will be sufficient. 
Recipe Links
Vegan Worcestershire


Serving: 1half cup | Sodium: 396mg | Calcium: 25mg | Vitamin C: 2mg | Vitamin A: 30IU | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 327mg | Cholesterol: 32mg | Calories: 185kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fat: 11g | Protein: 11g | Carbohydrates: 11g | Iron: 2mg

  “Those who have not lived in New Orleans have missed an incredible, glorious, vital city—a place with an energy unlike anywhere else in the world, a majority-African American city where resistance to white supremacy has cultivated and supported a generous, subversive, and unique culture of vivid beauty. From jazz, blues, and hip-hop to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, and the citywide tradition of red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and food and traditions and sexuality and liberation.” 

― Jordan Flaherty