red beans and rice

This recipe goes out to Ray, by request. I cook this all year round, but especially when I’m on a writing tear and so must have, in the frig, a vat of something good and fast to eat. It is so easy to make (takes about 15 minutes of work) and heats up fast in the microwave for leftovers. Warning: It is very dense with calories, especially if made with pork sausage.

Note: If you leave out the sausage, this makes a delicious vegan dish, and one that can be very easily made while camping.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow onion(s), chopped into  1/2” pieces
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, or equivalent, peeled and sliced thin or minced (your preference; I like it sliced)
  • 2 16 oz. cans of red beans (I use organic “red beans,” not kidney beans)
  • 1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes)
  • 1 can (approx. 14 oz.) coconut milk (NOT “lite” coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme (fresh, not stale, please!)
  • 1 whole nutmeg (fresh-ish, please)
  • 1.25 cups of jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 pack andouille sausage (4 in a pack; I like Trader Joe’s)
  • extra hot pepper flakes, optional, if you like it hotter


Directions (without sausage):

  1. Take a heavy-bottomed pan, approx. 3 quart size. (I use my favorite pot for this.) Pour in the olive oil and heat it up until pretty hot.

  2. Throw in the chopped onions and cook them until they are a little browned, stirring occasionally.

  3. Then throw in the garlic and cook it for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

  4. Open the 2 cans of beans and pour them into a colander. Rinse the beans very well and let them drain. Then add them to the pot.

  5. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, including the liquid.

  6. Add the whole can of coconut milk, including all liquids and solids.

  7. Add about 1 more can of water.

  8. Add the thyme and grate in as much of the nutmeg as you can without having your fingers get ground up.

  9. Add the rice. Stir well.

  10. Bring it to a boil, and then lower heat so it is just bubbling.

  11. Let cook (uncovered) until the rice is cooked (usually 15-20 minutes).

Directions (with sausage):

In addition to all of the above, do this: Take a heavy skillet and heat it up with enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Cut up the sausage into thin slices. Fry up the sausage in that pan until the sausage is very brown and delightfully crispy. Add the sausage to the other pot at the end, after the rice is fully cooked. Yum!

Enjoy this with a nice hoppy beer, like an IPA.


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