|Unforgettable: beignets at Cafe Du Monde...|
luscious bits of fried dough buried under a pile of powdered sugar.
By the time our flight landed in New Orleans, I had just read most of the book Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. The convergence of these two experiences - reading the book and visiting New Orleans - resulted in my recipe for Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice.
|Don't you want to climb up to this balcony to watch the parades?|
This is a hearty, wholesome, and delicious recipe to help you celebrate the culture of New Orleans as Mardi Gras ends and we enter Lent. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted
- 16 oz can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 60 oz red beans
- 1 T creole seasoning such as Tony Cachere's
- 1 sprig of thyme, leaves stripped off the stem
- Black pepper and Kosher salt, to taste
- Brown rice
- In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Saute the onions for 3-5 minutes, allowing them to become transluscent but not brown. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
- Add the bell pepper, bay leaf, tomatoes, and vegetable stock. Simmer until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the beans and remaining seasoning. Continue to simmer another 20-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust according to your preferences. For additional spice, add a few drops of Tabasco sauce. (I prefer the Chipotle Tabasco because it adds a hint of smoky flavor with the spice.)
- Remove the bay leaf and serve with brown rice that was prepared according to package directions.
- Allow the food to cool to room temperature.
- For best results, package the rice separately from the red beans. Use a plastic storage container, covered glass casserole dish, or plastic zip-top bag to store the food.
- Label the outside of the package with the name of the dish and the date it was frozen. I also add important notes such as "vegetarian, "vegan," or "dairy free" so I can remember how it was prepared.
- When it is time to enjoy the frozen meals, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then heat in a pan on the stove. Add a few tablespoons of water to the rice; heat it slowly in a covered pot to restore its original fluffiness.