Vegan Red Beans and Rice

Note that the ground chilis referenced are not the chili powder mix used to make Texas chili, but are pure powdered or ground chili peppers. The chipotle chilis can’t be substituted since they give the dish its smokey flavor (they stand in for the hamhocks usually included in this recipe). I use ground Turkish Aleppo chilis for the medium hot peppers, but you can substitute generic ground red pepper. Penzey’s Spices in downtown Naperville has a good selection of ground peppers. You could use the smaller amount of hot pepper flakes, if you prefer.


  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 – 6 minced or pressed garlic cloves
  • 14 1/2 oz. can diced or whole tomatoes (pref. salt free)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon medium hot ground chili peppers or flakes (depending on heat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili peppers (ground or powdered)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms (portobellos or shiitakes work well)
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper, preferably fresh ground
  • Tabasco or Texas Pete hot sauce to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or heaping tablespoon dried parsley flakes


Pick through dried beans, removing any rocks, twigs, and “mutant” beans. Some soak overnight, but I have good success with this approach: put in a pot, add cold water to at least twice the depth of beans. Bring to a full boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand in hot water for a couple of hours. The beans should be mostly cooked. If not, bring to boil again and repeat. Drain beans, and rinse well under cold water.


While the beans are cooking, spray an 8 quart pot with Pam or other nonstick spray, and saute onion, green pepper, celery and garlic over medium high heat until veggies are obviously feeling the heat and smell wonderful.


Soak the dried mushrooms for 20 minutes in 1/2 cup hot water, drain, and chop. Slice the fresh mushrooms and saute them in a no-stick pan.


Also while the beans cook, if you use whole tomatoes, drain them, saving the liquid, and chop them up (draining makes them easier to chop). Add the tomatoes and juice to the cooked veggies in the pot, along with the 4 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup water.


Add the cooked beans to the pot containing the tomatoes and veggies, along with the mushrooms, chili pepper powders, thyme, and bay leaves. Don’t overdo the chili peppers; you can always make it hotter later with hot sauce.


Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to stir once in a while so the beans don’t burn at the bottom of the pot! Add water only if necessary, because you don’t want it to be overly soupy. Some like to cover it while it cooks, but I leave it uncovered to cook down.


The beans should be nicely tender without being mushy. Taste, and add black ground pepper and Tabasco sauce to your liking. Put salt in now if you need to.


This makes about 12 one-cup servings. I like to make up a pot and keep it in the ‘fridge (it keeps well). Cook as much rice as you need for as many servings as you’re going to use for the meal. Put the rice with 4 cups water in a saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.


Before serving, stir in the chopped parsley gently if you’re using it (it adds a little nice color and flavor). You can the beans and rice separately, so folks can dish up as much as they want of each. A typical serving is 1 cup beans plus 1/2 cup rice.

One Response to Vegan Red Beans and Rice

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