Carribbean Red Beans and Rice

Vegetarian red beans and rice
Caribbean red beans and rice photo by Rita Maas
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: about 4 servings
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Caribbean red beans and rice is a classic dish with as many variations as there are regions in the Caribbean. In other words, there's no right or wrong way to make this dish, and this particular vegetarian and vegan recipe for Caribbean style red beans and rice is just one possible starting point. Many other versions call for coconut milk, scallions, all-spice, ginger, or even spice blends like Creole seasoning. Many Caribbean cooks also swear by their own personal favorite type of bouillon cubes to add flavor as well, so feel free to add in your own favorite vegetarian bouillon, if you'd like. 

In this version of red beans and rice, healthy high-protein and high-fiber kidney beans are simmered with tomatoes and spiced with plenty of Caribbean inspired spices, including garlic, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon for a healthy vegetarian and vegan Caribbean red beans and rice meal.

With just a bit of oil used for cooking up the onions and garlic, this recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and also very low-fat (be sure to use water instead of vegetable broth or make sure that your vegetable broth is gluten-free if needed). You could also reduce the fat and make it nearly fat-free by using a non-stick pan or just a touch of cooking spray for cooking the onions and garlic, but the olive oil does add a little extra flavor. 

See also: More vegetarian recipes for any occasion

What You'll Need

  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or other high-heat cooking oil)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 12 ounce can kidney beans (or other red beans), including liquid
  • 1 14 ounce can tomatoes, including liquid
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth

How to Make It

First, in a large skillet, sautee the onion and the garlic in olive oil until the onions turn soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, and allow to cook for just one more minute, stirring occasionally to prevent the spices from burning. 

Next, add in the kidney beans (do not drain) and the tomatoes, including the liquid from each. Give it all a quick stir to combine everything together well.

Allow this to cook for a few more minutes, then add the rice and the water or vegetable broth. 

Cover the skillet and allow cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until the rice is done and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Throughout the cooking time, stir the rice occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper are always best for maximizing flavor, particularly in simple dishes such as this one. 

Like this recipe? Then you'll love 7 exciting ways to make rice and beans