Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice

Ahhh, red beans and rice. This classic dish has been filling hungry bellies on a dime for centuries. It’s rich, flavorful, has a TON of fiber and protein, makes a ton of freezer-friendly leftovers, and is basically a budget cook’s dream. But these classic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice do take a little time to […]

The post Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Ahhh, red beans and rice. This classic dish has been filling hungry bellies on a dime for centuries. It’s rich, flavorful, has a TON of fiber and protein, makes a ton of freezer-friendly leftovers, and is basically a budget cook’s dream. But these classic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice do take a little time to cook, so plan this one for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when you’ll be chillin’ at home. Your house will smell amazing and you’ll have food for the whole week!

Originally posted 3-14-2010, updated 2-16-2020. If you prefer the old version, download it here.

Classic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

A serving of red beans and rice next to the pot full of red beans.

Are Red Beans and Kidney Beans the Same Thing?

Nope! They’re both red, but they are two different beans. Red beans and rice is traditionally made with “small red beans” but you can use kidney beans if small red beans are not available in your area. Scroll down to my step by step photos after the recipe to see a photo of red beans and kidney beans side by side.

Do I Have to Soak the Red Beans Overnight?

No, there are other options. There are two other “quick soak” methods, but both still take an hour or more. To read more about other methods of soaking your beans, read How to Soak Your Beans from Camellia Beans. 

What Kind of Sausage Should I Use?

Traditionally, red beans and rice is made with Andouille sausage, which is a smoked pork sausage originating from France, but also popular in Louisiana. If you can’t find Andouille sausage, you can use any type of smoked pork or beef sausage that is available to you.

Is Red Beans and Rice Spicy?

It can be. The heat level in this recipe will depend on the type of sausage you use and how much cayenne pepper you add. The Andouille sausage I used had a “medium” spice level, and I used 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, so my red beans were moderately spicy. Use a mild sausage and no cayenne pepper to make your red beans mild.

Close up of a spoon scooping some red beans and andouille sausage out of the pot

Is Red Beans and Rice Healthy?

“Healthy” is a very subjective term, but I will say that this classic dish is packed with fiber, protein, and vegetables, which to me makes a quality meal. It is a little high on sodium, but the amount of salt you add at the end of the recipe is totally within your control. If you want to reduce the saturated fat, simply drain the fat from the andouille sausage before adding the vegetables to the pot. And lastly, you can always swap out the white rice for brown rice for even more fiber and nutrients!

Can I Make it Vegetarian?

have successfully made a very delicious pot of red beans and rice without the smoked sausage. To see how it’s done, make sure to visit my recipe for Vegan Red Beans and Rice. (It’s automatically vegan because the only animal product in the recipe is the sausage.)

How to Freeze Red Beans and Rice

As with any food, you want to chill your cooked red beans and rice as quickly as possible after cooking to avoid food safety issues. I recommend dividing the red beans and rice into single portions before refrigerating. This will make it cool down faster, and you’ll already have single portions that can be reheated quickly in the microwave straight from the refrigerator, or freezer. Once the red beans and rice are completely chilled, you can transfer them to the freezer for long term storage (about 3 months).

Overhead view of a pot full of Louisiana Red Beans

 

Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

Classic Louisiana style red beans and rice are a naturally budget friendly meal that will give you leftovers for days! Freezer friendly!

  • 1 lb. dry red beans ($1.49)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage ($3.79)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 1 green bell pepper ($0.69)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.46)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 2 bay leaves ($0.60)
  • 6 cups water ($0.00)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley ($0.20)
  • 1 Tbsp salt, or to taste ($0.10)
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice (uncooked) ($0.93)
  • 3 green onions ($0.22)
  1. The night before, add the dry beans to a large bowl with double their volume in water. Allow the beans to soak in the refrigerator overnight.

  2. When you're ready to start cooking, slice the sausage into rounds. Add the cooking oil and sliced sausage to a large pot and cook over medium until the sausage pieces are browned. Remove the cooked sausage with a slotted spoon to a clean bowl. Place the cooked sausage in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the dish.

  3. While the sausage is cooking, dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mince the garlic.

  4. After removing the cooked sausage, add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot. Sauté over medium heat, allowing the moisture from the vegetables to help dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot as you stir.

  5. Add the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, black pepper, and bay leaves to the pot. Stir and cook for one minute more.

  6. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Add them to the pot along with 6 cups water and give the pot a brief stir to combine the ingredients.

  7. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the pot boil for one hour, stirring occasionally. Replace the lid every time you stir.

  8. After boiling for one hour, the beans should be tender. Begin to smash the beans with the back of a spoon against the side of the pot. Continue smashing the beans and letting the pot simmer without a lid for 30 minutes to thicken the pot.

  9. While the beans are simmering for their final 30 minutes, cook the rice. Add the rice and 3 cups water to a sauce pot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat on to high, and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest for 5 minutes without removing the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

  10. Once the red beans have thickened, add the cooked sausage back to the pot along with 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley. Stir to combine. Taste the red beans and add salt to your liking. Start with 1 tsp and add more as needed. I used 1 Tbsp total (3 tsp).

  11. Serve the red beans in a bowl topped with a scoop of rice and a sprinkle of sliced green onions.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up overhead view of a bowl full of red beans topped with a scoop of rice, parsley, and green onion.

 

How to Make Red Beans and Rice – Step By Step Photos

Red beans and kidney beans side by side

Red beans and rice is traditionally made with small red beans, but if you can’t find them in your area, you can use red kidney beans (dark or light). You’ll need one pound of dry beans for this recipe.

Soaked Beans in a bowl with water

Soak the beans in water (make sure to use twice as much water as beans) overnight. If you forgot to soak your beans, use one of the other methods described in this article. (this photo is after the beans have been soaking overnight)

Package of andouille sausage

This is the Andouille sausage that I used. This happens to be a 14oz. package, but if yours comes in any size between 12 and 16oz. that will also work. If you can not source Andouille sausage, you can use any other smoked pork or beef sausage.

Browned sausage in pot

Slice the sausage into rounds and add them to a large pot with 2 Tbsp cooking oil. Cook over medium heat until the sausage is well browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a clean bowl and place it in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the recipe. If you want to reduce the fat in your red beans, you can drain off most of the fat left behind by the sausage. I left the fat in, though, because it’s super flavorful!

Chopped trinity and garlic

While the sausage is cooking, dice one onion, one green bell pepper, and about three ribs of celery. This trio of flavors (onion, bell pepper, celery) is called “holy trinity.” But I also like to add four cloves of garlic, so mince those up as well.

Onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic in the pot

Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic to the pot after removing the sausage. Sauté the vegetables over medium until the onions are soft. Use the moisture from the vegetables to dissolve the browned bits of meat off the bottom of the pot as you stir.

Cajun seasoning added to pot

Once the vegetables have softened, add the Cajun seasoning (2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and about 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper) and two bay leaves. Cook and stir for about a minute more.

Drained red beans and water added to the pot

Drain and rinse the soaked red beans, then add them to the pot with 6 cups of fresh water.

Stir red beans and spices before boiling

Give the pot a brief stir to distribute the spices and other ingredients. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the beans simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Boiled red beans in the pot

After boiling the beans for one hour, the beans should be tender but the pot as a whole will still look pretty watery. To thicken the pot, begin smashing the red beans against the side of the pot with your spoon. Smash the red beans and let it continue to simmer without a lid for an extra 30 minutes. I stood and smashed my beans for about 10 minutes, and let it keep simmering for an extra 20 (30 min total).

Cooked rice in sauce pot

While the red beans are in their final 30 minute simmer, cook your rice. Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice to a sauce pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and allow it to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the pot rest for an additional 5 minutes without removing the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork just before serving.

Thickened pot of red beans

After smashing and simmering for a bit longer, the red beans will have thickened quite a bit. They’ll continue to thicken even more as they cool a bit.

Andouille and parsley added to red beans

Finally, add the cooked Andouille sausage back to the pot along with about 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley. Stir to combine. Taste the red beans and add salt to your liking. You will need at least SOME salt to make the flavors come out in this dish. I added 1 Tbsp for the whole pot, but I suggest starting with 1 tsp and adding more to your liking.

A bowl with Louisiana red beans and rice next to the pot full of cooked red beans

Serve the red beans with a coop of cooked rice on top, and sliced green onion sprinkled over top!

The post Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Not only is it incredibly easy, but even just the smell of it simmering away is soothing and totally gives me hygge vibes. While I’ve had a stove top version of this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup for years, I thought […]

The post Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Not only is it incredibly easy, but even just the smell of it simmering away is soothing and totally gives me hygge vibes. While I’ve had a stove top version of this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup for years, I thought it was high time to show just how easy and hands-off it is to make with a slow cooker (or crock pot). This is the perfect winter Sunday recipe to have going while you tend to other chores or just catch up on Netflix. :)

Homemade Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Overhead view of a slow cooker containing freshly cooked homemade chicken noodle soup

What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?

I would suggest using a 6 quart slow cooker. I used a 5 quart slow cooker and it was filled dangerously close to the top, so 6 quart would be a much better fit. If you have a smaller slow cooker you can cut the recipe in half by changing the number of servings in the box next to servings in the recipe card below. This will adjust the amounts of all the ingredients for you. It will still need to cook for the same amount of time.

What Are “Split” Chicken Breasts?

Split chicken breasts are one whole chicken breast that has been split down the breast bone into two pieces (right and left breast) with the bones, rib meat, and skin still attached. Also known as bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Using this type of chicken breast is key to getting the best flavor in your chicken soup. The bones, connective tissues, and dark rib meat are where all the flavor’s at. Bone-in chicken thighs are also a great option.

Can I Use Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast?

Technically you can, but your soup will have a lot less flavor. You may find that you need to use pre-made chicken broth in place of the water listed in the recipe below to get more flavor in your soup.

Overhead view of a bowl full of slow cooker chicken noodle soup

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

It’s not recommended to add frozen meat to slow cookers. It takes too much time for the meat to thaw and come up to a safe temperature, leaving it in the temperature “danger zone” where bacteria can flourish for too long. If you have frozen chicken that you’d like to use, make sure to thaw it fully using a safe method before adding it to the slow cooker.

To Use Chicken Skin or Not to Use Chicken Skin

I remove the chicken skin from the split chicken breasts before adding it to the slow cooker, but you don’t have to. There is a lot of fat and flavor in the skin, so if you want an extra rich soup you can leave it on. You’ll just remove the skin at the same time that you debone the chicken meat.

Can I Freeze Chicken Noodle Soup?

Yes! This recipe makes a huge batch, so you’ll probably want to freeze half of it. Make sure to divide the soup into single portions just after cooking (so it cools quickly), cool it completely in the refrigerator over night, then transfer to the freezer the next day. You can freeze in quart-sized freezer bags or reusable freezer safe food storage containers.

Overhead view of a ladle lifting chicken noodle soup out of the slow cooker

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Slow cooker chicken noodle soup is an incredibly easy and soothing winter recipe that will fill you up and warm you from the inside out!

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($0.24)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4 medium) ($0.30)
  • 4 ribs celery ($0.43)
  • 2 split chicken breasts* (2-2.5 lbs. total) ($6.30)
  • 1 tsp dried basil ($0.10)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 1 bay leaf ($0.15)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 8 cups water ($0.00)
  • 6 oz. wide egg noodles ($0.68)
  • 1 Tbsp salt (or to taste) ($0.10)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional) ($0.20)
  1. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, peel and slice the carrots, and slice the celery. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.

  2. Remove the skin from the bone-in split chicken breasts, then place them on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker. Add the basil, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper to the slow cooker.

  3. Pour 8 cups of water over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

  4. After cooking on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf. Add the egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid, with the heat turned on to high.

  5. Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding the meat as you go. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the soup. The noodles should be tender after about 8-10 minutes of being in the soup (this may take a few minutes longer if the slow cooker was previously set to low).

  6. Once the chicken has been returned to the soup and the noodles are tender, begin seasoning the soup with salt. The true flavor of the soup will not be pronounced until it is properly salted. Start with 1 tsp salt, adding more until the soup is bold and flavorful. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, stir in a handful of chopped parsley for garnish just before serving.

*Split chicken breasts have bones, rib meat, and skin attached.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up side view of a bowl of slow cooker chicken noodle soup

How to Make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup in a Slow Cooker – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion, carrot, celery, and minced garlic in the slow cooker

Dice one yellow onion, peel and slice 1/2 lb. carrots (about four), slice four ribs of celery, and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add all four to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.

Chicken and herbs added to the slow cooker

Remove the skin from two split chicken breasts (leave bones and rib meat attached). Place the chicken in the slow cooker along with 1 tsp dried basil, 1 Tbsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, and some freshly cracked black pepper.

Chicken noodle soup ready to cook

Add eight cups of water to the slow cooker, place the lid on top, and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Remove cooked chicken from slow cooker

After cooking on high for four hours or low for eight hours, remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf (it usually floats on top).

Add egg noodles to slow cooker

Add 6 oz. wide egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid. Let the noodles continue to cook on high heat while you shred the chicken.

Chicken meat shredded with forks, bones on the side

Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker. The noodles will be tender after being in the pot for about 8-10 minutes (this may take a few minutes longer if your slow cooker had previously been set to low).

Season chicken noodle soup with salt

Once the noodles are tender and the shredded chicken returned to the pot, begin seasoning the soup with salt. Start with 1 tsp and keep adding more until the soup tastes vibrant and delicious. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish just before serving.

Finished Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

As with any soup or large batch recipe, it helps to divide the soup into smaller portions before cooling in the refrigerator. This helps the food cool faster, which is a better food safety practice.

Front view of a ladle lifting some chicken noodle soup out of the slow cooker

Add some crackers on top and enjoy this totally from-scratch homemade chicken noodle soup, just like grandma used to make. :)

The post Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Taylor’s Ultimate Turkey Stew

This rich and hearty turkey stew is a perfect, heart-warming winter meal. With a thick and velvety broth and chock full of shredded turkey, peas and potatoes, it’ll quickly become a fast favorite. It’s officially soup season, y’all! And there’s nothing I love more on a cold winter’s day than a satisfyingly chunky stew; turkey […]

This rich and hearty turkey stew is a perfect, heart-warming winter meal. With a thick and velvety broth and chock full of shredded turkey, peas and potatoes, it’ll quickly become a fast favorite.

It’s officially soup season, y’all! And there’s nothing I love more on a cold winter’s day than a satisfyingly chunky stew; turkey in this case, with a flavorful base with a hint of tomato and tons of tender dark meat and vegetables.

Handmade ceramic bowl filled with hearty turkey stew, on a blue background with blue napkin, wine glasses and a bit of parsley in the background.

The weeks and months after Thanksgiving are a special time, not because of Christmas and New Year, but rather because this when you can easily find turkey thighs and legs in the butcher’s case at the grocery store. Hallelujah.

Seriously, don’t try to track down turkey in July; with the exception of ground turkey or maybe the odd frozen butterball, you will not find turkey thighs or legs anywhere.

Even in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, chances are you’ll only find whole, previously-frozen birds and breasts tied and ready to roast.

But once Thanksgiving has come and gone, they’ve got to do something with all the surplus turkeys, right? So the butchers break down the leftover birds and sell them off piecemeal. And it is a delicious situation, indeed.

Spoonful of turkey stew in a speckled ceramic bowl with parsley

This stew comes straight from Taylor’s brain. He first made it last year, roughly jotting down the recipe in our notebook under the heading “Best #!*$-ing Turkey Soup, Ever.”

We devoured it and promptly forgot about it.

Until this past fall, when we filled up said notebook and, before breaking open the fresh, new recipe notebook (is there anything better than a new notebook? I think not) we flipped back through the old recipes just in case there were any orphaned recipes that deserved a second look. And there were a handful of them, some dismal failures we ultimately abandoned (I’m looking at you, persimmon bread) but others, like this turkey stew, were recipes that really deserved to be shared.

But when we decided to refine and share it, we were faced with a surprising inability to find a single turkey thigh anywhere in this city.

So we sat on the recipe for a few more months, checking the meat counter every week just in case, maybe, this would be the week they’d have turkey thighs.

Finally, the week after Thanksgiving, our wish came true. Of course, at that point we were dead tired of turkey, so we put it off for yet another two weeks.

But finally. Here we are. Almost two years in the making. Taylor’s Best #!*$-ing Turkey Soup, Ever (or, as I’m calling it in my more SEO and family-friendly post title, Taylor’s Ultimate Turkey Stew).

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French Onion Soup

My favorite homemade French onion soup recipe that’s easy to make and full of the richest caramelized onion flavors. Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡ We actually just arrived home late last night from spending a week in Provence with our parents.  And amidst the most delicious week of meals […]

My favorite homemade French onion soup recipe that’s easy to make and full of the richest caramelized onion flavors.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡

We actually just arrived home late last night from spending a week in Provence with our parents.  And amidst the most delicious week of meals together around the table in our little cottage — with fresh croissants and baguettes picked up from the local bakery, farmers market wild mushrooms and artichokes the size of your head, approximately one million French cheeses, herby olives, fresh raspberry tart, plus the loveliest crisp local rosés — I also channeled my inner Julia Child and simmered up a batch of my favorite French onion soup for dinner one evening.  And it was delightful.

I actually first shared this recipe here during my very first year of blogging — now ten years ago! — and have made it countless times since.  And it’s always, always a winner.  Nowadays, I tend to make it vegetarian (using veggie broth instead of traditional beef broth) so that both my husband and I can enjoy it.  And after living in Barcelona for a few years, we’ve also come to love the Spanish twist on this recipe as well, which includes cracking an egg into each soup bowl and then broiling it (with or without cheesy toast) until the egg is perfectly poached on top of the soup.

However its made, French onion soup is a classic and will forever remain one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  So if you’re looking for a well-tested recipe to add to your repertoire, I can vouch that this one’s a keeper!

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Pasta Bolognese

A while back I made Meatballs Subs because I had a craving. They’re not that difficult to make and when you make them at home, you can use better ingredients than the versions you get elsewhere. Fortunately, there’s good bread in France and no shortage of cheese. And meatballs aren’t much of a challenge to make either. (Interestingly, a few weeks after I posted that…

A while back I made Meatballs Subs because I had a craving. They’re not that difficult to make and when you make them at home, you can use better ingredients than the versions you get elsewhere. Fortunately, there’s good bread in France and no shortage of cheese. And meatballs aren’t much of a challenge to make either. (Interestingly, a few weeks after I posted that recipe, an American woman living in Paris came up to me and said, “I don’t know how you knew, but I was craving the exact same thing! So I made your recipe…”

There must be something about ground beef, because I recently found myself craving Pasta Bolognese; tubes of pasta tossed in a thickened tomato sauce made with ground meat, red wine, garlic, and enriched with tomato paste – Capisce? 

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