Red Beans & Rice
Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you…I think you remember the song. Beans are more than just a food in a song, they are nutritional powerhouses that are very simple to add to your diet! Some of the nutrients beans are high in are protein, iron, potassium, magnesium, and fiber (the “musical” nutrient).
Despite not reigning from the South, we love red beans and rice, so we wanted to create a simple, slow-cooker version for everyone to enjoy. We’ve loaded our RB&R with even more nutrition by using brown rice, different colored vegetables (more on this later), chicken sausage, and minimal added sodium.
The great thing about using the slow cooker is being able to cook without being home, amIright? And the leftovers for our RB&R seem to get better and better as the week goes on (Stephen knows this well).
When we are developing a recipe we always look at where we can add more nutritious ingredients without affecting the taste, texture, etc of the food. One way we accomplish this in RB&R is by using different colored bell peppers and a yellow onion. When you look at the produce department, you should see a lot of colors (PRO TIP: if you don’t see color in your store’s produce department, shop somewhere else). Every color you see means those foods contain different nutrients for your body! For example, orange=beta carotene and purple=anthocyanins; the names are not important for you to remember, the benefits of these nutrients are! Packed full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and probably things we don’t even know about yet, choose lots of different colors in the produce department to boost your health even further.
Always soak your dried kidney beans overnight. Kidney beans contain phytohemagglutinin, which in very small doses can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Soaking the beans overnight helps to rid the beans of this compound by allowing them to be cooked through during the actual cooking process. Just pour your beans in a large stock pot, cover with plenty of water (I usually aim for at least 10 cups per pound of beans), and place in the refrigerator overnight. Come morning, these guys will be ready to be drained and put in your slow cooker for their trip to Delicious Town, USA.
No matter if you choose chicken sausage or pork sausage, make sure you are always grabbing uncured meats. Cured meats contain sodium nitrite/nitrate, which are known carcinogens (they cause cancer). Always, always, always choose uncured lunch meats, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs.
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces Chicken Andouille sausage (recommended: Trader Joe’s brand)
2 bell peppers, any color, diced
3-4 celery stalks, washed and chopped
½ yellow onion, diced
3-5 garlic cloves, finely diced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2.5 teaspoons creole seasoning
1 pound dry red beans
1 ¾ cup brown rice
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Drain your pre-soaked beans and place in slow cooker along with the celery, bell peppers, onion, minced garlic, chicken sausage, bay leaves, dried thyme, Creole seasoning, and optional red pepper flakes. Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine. Cook on high for 6 hours (I like to give it a stir every two hours, if I can), remove the bay leaves, add rice, and cook for another 2 hours. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves, those are not great to chomp on, unless you love the fall because you like to eat dry leaves.
After six hours the bean mixture will be quite soupy and if you can’t get home to add the rice it will still go nicely with some pre-cooked rice that you stored in the fridge from the weekend (cause you planned ahead, right?). If you can add the raw rice to the soupy mixture and cook for another two hours on high, the liquid will be absorbed by the rice and deliciousness will ensue. We like to add about 1 teaspoon of Bragg’s liquid aminos to our bowl before diving in, which adds some sodium and an amazing umami flavor; if that’s not your cup of tea, no worries, eat and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts (makes 8 servings)
Calories – 257 Fat – 5g Carbohydrates – 29g Protein – 25g Fiber – 8g