This quick and easy Red Beans and Rice with Sausage is thick and creamy with all the NOLA flavors everyone loves. This recipe is ready to eat in just 20 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights! Creamy creole red beans, smoked sausage, cajun seasoning, and trinity are simmered together & served over hot cooked rice. Laissez les bons temps roulez!
Red Beans and Rice is a great meal any time of the year, and not just for Meatless Mondays! It is traditionally served with link sausage. It a popular meal during Mardi Gras, but we eat it all year round. Some people think of it as southern comfort food. My Cajun family will happily eat this filling meal any day of the week and any time of the year.
Why I Love This Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe
A homemade meal doesn't necessarily have to take a long time to put together! Whether you have a full-time job outside the home or you're a stay at home parent, everybody can appreciate the effort you've taken to prepare a hot meal, no matter how much time the meal took to prepare. This quick and easy recipe for red beans and rice is delicious, nutritious, and comforting.
This recipe also hits me in all of the nostalgic places, as it reminds me of my childhood. Growing up, my family ate rice way more often than we ate potatoes or other starches. It probably has something to do with our Louisiana family heritage. Both sets of my grandparents (and many generations before them) were born and raised in St. James Parish, Louisiana, and red beans and rice was a staple dish.
TIP: Love rice as much as we do? Check out my Easy Cajun Shrimp and Rice Casserole!
This simple recipe for Red Beans and Rice gets the weeknight shortcut treatment by using canned beans and frozen trinity. I'm firmly of the opinion that using store bought "cheats" should be encouraged if it means you get home cooked dinners on the table more often! These two easy hacks make this dinner a snap to get on the table with very little effort.
I also love that this weeknight recipe requires just 10 ingredients, most of which I keep on hand in the pantry at all times. That means if you're stuck in a snow storm or quarantining at home, you can still have a delicious homemade dinner without making a trip to the store!
Finally, while you can certainly make a vegetarian version of this recipe (beans and rice make a complete protein!), I absolutely adore the smoky flavor the sausage imparts. Seriously, do yourself a favor and make this Louisiana style red beans and rice with sausage ASAP.
Making Red Beans and Rice with Canned Beans
One of the ways I make this recipe easy and quick is by using canned red beans. Yes, I said "canned beans," and I am not ashamed! But - just so you know - not just any canned red beans will do. I use Blue Runner Creole Red Beans because they're smooth, creamy, and flavorful. They absolutely make this dish!
When you combine the thick & creamy creole red beans with a can of regular red beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans, the consistency is perfect! Is there anybody out there who likes soupy red beans & rice? The answer is no!
The Blue Runner Creole Red Beans are the secret to a thick, creamy texture. You should be able to easily find them near the canned red beans. If they are not available in your area, you can find them here: Blue Runner Creole Cream Style Red Beans.
Using Frozen Veggies as A Time Saver
The mixture of onion, bell pepper, and celery is commonly referred to as the "trinity" in cajun and creole cooking. Another time-saving tip is to use the frozen trinity mix (a.k.a. "seasoning blend") that's in your grocery store's frozen vegetable section. If you don't like the idea of using the convenient frozen blend, I'm here to convince you otherwise.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are AWESOME to keep in your back stock. They are picked at premium ripeness and flash frozen within hours of being harvested, preserving all of their flavor and nutrients. As an added bonus, all of the washing, peeling, de-seeding and chopping has already been done for you, meaning dinner is even closer to the plate than you thought.
Granted, if you already have fresh veggies on hand, then by all means use the fresh ingredients instead. Use about 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup chopped bell pepper, and ½ cup chopped celery.
Ingredients for Easy Red Beans and Sausage
(please refer to the actual recipe card for complete details)
This delicious recipe requires just 10 ingredients, many of which are easy to keep in the pantry. Here's everything you'll need (plus some cooked white rice):
A few notes to consider about the ingredients:
- Sausage - I love using pork andouille or Conecuh hickory smoked sausage, but you can adjust depending on your dietary preferences. Turkey or chicken sausage will absolutely work, and apparently there are all kinds of vegan sausages on the market now as well. If you go this route, I recommend opting for a "spicy" style.
- Trinity - I use the frozen chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery "seasoning blend," but you can opt to use fresh veggies instead. Use about 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup chopped bell pepper, and ½ cup chopped celery.
- Canned Beans - You'll need one can of either pinto beans with bacon (my favorite), red beans, or kidney beans (undrained), as well as 1 can of Blue Runner Creole Cream Style Red Beans, which you can find in Southern grocery stores or online.
- Parsley & Basil - I opt to use dried parsley and dried basil in this recipe because I always have them on hand. If you'd like to substitute fresh parsley instead, increase threefold.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is always my preference, but if you're in a pinch, sub in ¼ teaspoon of dried garlic for each clove.
- Cajun Seasoning - Do yourself a favor and get either Tony Chachere's or Slap ya Mama
- Cooked Rice - You can either opt to make your own on the stovetop, or, if you're in need of another shortcut, get yourself some pre-cooked microwavable rice packets. Any long grain white rice will do!
Kitchen Equipment Needed
Aside from having a short ingredients list, the necessary equipment you need is also pretty basic. Grab your:
- Large (minimum 5-quart) heavy duty pot w/cover - I love my Calphalon pot that I use for this recipe and my jambalaya recipe. This pot is worth every penny and has lasted for over 15 years!!
- Sharp knife - preferably a chef's knife or santoku to keep your knuckles from rapping the cutting board.
- Cutting board
- Can opener
- Measuring spoons
Step by Step Instructions
STEP 1 - Sauté the sliced sausage in olive oil until the sausage is slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
STEP 2 - Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté until tender, for about 5 minutes (sauté an additional 5 minutes if using fresh vegetables). For best results, use a heavy-duty pot.
STEP 3: Add the undrained red beans (I prefer pinto beans with bacon), Blue Runner creole beans, and seasonings. Mix well and gently simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
TIP: If you prefer a more "liquidy" consistency, add ¼ cup of chicken broth but I don't recommend adding any more than that, or you may end up with a soupy texture!
STEP 4: Serve with cooked rice and enjoy with crusty french bread or even hot cornbread!
TIP: Microwavable rice packets might be a bit more expensive than dried rice, but sometimes convenience is king! I'm here to give you full permission to take all the short cuts and time saving tricks you need.
Frequently Asked Questions and Storage
Do you have to soak red beans?
Not if you make this recipe!! Using the creole canned red beans is a huge time saver vs. soaking dry beans. First, you don't have to prepare the dry beans for soaking the night before. Second, you don't have to wonder, "how do you thicken red beans and rice"? Third, you can be eating red beans and rice with sausage when the craving hits and not have to wait for the beans to soak! Outstanding.
If you opt to go old school and use dried red beans, here's a useful article to show you how to do it properly. And if you can't get your hands on the creole beans I love, you can sub in another can of regular red beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans instead. Just make sure to drain the entire can, mash about half of the beans and add all the mashed and unmashed beans to the pot to ensure a nice, thick sauce.
What should I serve with Red Beans and Rice?
French bread is the most popular side served with red beans and rice. Cornbread, turnip greens, and a simple salad are all great choices, too. But, if I can be totally honest, a bowl of just the red beans, sausage and rice is perfectly hearty and delicious without any supporting cast members.
How do you thicken Red Beans and Sausage?
Fortunately, for this recipe, there's no need to thicken it up; it's already thick and creamy thanks to the cream style red beans!
However, if you can't find these particular beans in your grocery store and don't want to order them online, you can use a can of regular red beans or pinto beans. Simply drain off all the liquid, then place half the beans in a bowl. Use a fork to mash the beans. Add the mashed beans and the rest of the un-mashed beans to the rest of the dish.
Storing in the Freezer
Yes, this freezes well. Allow the red beans and sausage and rice to completely cool off. Then place into a freezer container or sealable plastic freezer bag (write the date on the bag so you can easily remember it). Frozen red beans and sausage and cooked rice will stay fresh for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge the day before you plan to eat if. Reheat in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.
Storing in the Refrigerator
Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I prefer to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco, available now on Amazon.
Need more Cajun recipe inspiration? Try these favorites:
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Quick and Easy Red Beans and Rice with Sausage
- Large (minimum 5-quart) heavy duty pot w/cover
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- measuring spoons
- 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced into 1-inch discs (andouille sausage or Conecuh sausage)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 10-oz bag frozen seasoning blend (pre-chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery)* or sub 1 cup fresh onion, 1 cup fresh bell pepper and ½ cup fresh celery.
- 15.5-oz can red beans (or pinto beans with bacon), undrained
- 16-oz can Blue Runner Creole Cream Style Red Beans or sub an extra can of red beans, drained, half mashed.
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ¼ tsp cajun seasoning (such as Tony's)
- cooked rice
- Saute the sliced sausage in the oil until the sausage is slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery seasoning blend. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes (saute 5 additional minutes if using fresh vegetables).
- Add the undrained red beans (I prefer the pinto beans with bacon), creole cream style red beans, and seasonings. Mix well and gently simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Stir. Serve with hot cooked rice.
- *if using fresh veggies, use 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup diced bell pepper, and ½ cup diced celery
- Super time-saving tip: Use precooked rice that comes in a pouch.
- Store leftover red beans and rice in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or up to three months in the freezer.
- NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PROVIDED DOES NOT INCLUDE THE RICE.
Original pictures from 2018!