Spicy Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 14 hr 15 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 pound dried red beans, sorted through for stones

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 medium carrots, peeled, 1/2-inch dice

2 celery stalks, 1/2-inch dice

1 large sweet onion, 1/2-inch dice

1 medium red bell pepper, 1/2-inch dice

Freshly ground black pepper

6 cups lightly packed torn kale leaves, ribs removed

2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo, minced

1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or as needed

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt

Hot sauce, such as Tabasco

4 cups steamed long-grain white rice

1/4 cup sliced green onion, for garnish

1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Place the beans in a large bowl. Cover with water and soak overnight. Rinse and drain.
  2. Set a large heavy saucepan (Dutch oven works well) over medium heat. Add the oil and saute the garlic, carrots, celery, onions and bell peppers, about 5 minutes. Season with pepper (do not add salt at this stage or the beans will get tough while cooking). Add the red beans, kale leaves, chipotles and sauce,Worcestershire, smoked paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano and cayenne. Stir well to combine everything, and then add the bay leaves and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the bean mixture thickens, about 1 1/2 hours. Add more water as it cooks if necessary. Season well with salt once the beans are tender.
  3. When done, remove the bay leaves. Then carefully ladle out about 1 cup of the bean mixture into a food processor and puree (or mash with a fork). Return the puree to the pan, taste and season again with salt and black pepper. Add hot sauce to taste at this stage. 
  4. Serve the red beans on top of steamed white rice and garnish with sliced scallions and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.