Top | Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Red Beans and Rice

(recipe, Deborah Madison)


Like most bean dishes, this one improves with time, gaining more richness and more unified flavors after a day or so.


  1. 1½ cups kidney or mixed beans, soaked
  2. 4 bay leaves
  3. 1½ tsp. dried thyme
  4. 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  5. 4 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
  6. 5 celery ribs, diced
  7. 1 large onion, diced
  8. 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  9. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  10. ½ tsp. cayenne
  11. ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  12. Salt
  13. 1½ cups long-grain white rice


  1. Drain the beans, cover with 6 cups cold water, and boil 10 minutes. Remove any foam, then add the bay leaves and half the thyme and oregano. Simmer, partially covered, until barely tender, about 1¼ hours, adding 1 teaspoon salt after an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the vegetables, garlic, remaining thyme, and oregano. Fry over medium heat until the vegetables are nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Add the cayenne and pepper and season with salt. Combine the vegetables and beans and continue cooking until the beans are completely tender.
  3. Boil the rice in 4 cups lightly salted water until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain and add the liquid to the beans. Return the rice to the pan, cover it and let stand 5 minutes to steam. Fluff the rice and serve it on plates surrounded with the beans and their juices, which should be thick, rich, and full of flavor.