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Red Beans and Rice 2 ways - Gluten and dairy free

Red beans and rice is a spicy, flavorful, classic Cajun dish with tender beans and a rich vegetable base. Make it 2 ways by adding a favorite meat protein toward the end!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cajun
Keyword 2 ways meal, Cajun cuisine, homemade seasoning, Louisiana food, meat option, plant-based, red beans, red beans and rice, vegan option
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Beth of A Meal In Mind


  • 1 cup red beans soaked and cooked in Instant Pot to make 3 cups cooked, see note; or use 2 13.5-ounce cans of red beans, drained
  • ½ pound grass-fed ground beef broken up and cooked with 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons homemade Cajun seasoning low or no salt
  • 2-3 cups vegetable for 2-ways or chicken stock, see note
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce of choice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish


  • Cook red beans in Instant Pot, check the tenderness and reserve. They will cook very little more during simmering, so it's best if they are done to your taste in this step. 
  • Heat olive oil in heavy pot or Dutch oven. 
  • Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and bell peppers are becoming less green, about 5-6 minutes. 
  • Stir in garlic and cook for about 1 minute. 
  • Stir in Cajun seasoning until fragrant and the vegetables are coated, about 1 minute.
  • Mix in the tomato paste until it coats the vegetables. 
  • Stir in stock, red beans, hot sauce, and bay leaf; Bring to a boil. 
  • Tip: Usually I start cooking my rice at about this point.
  • Turn the heat to a simmer, cover the Dutch oven and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover; continue to simmer until reduced, an additional 15 minutes. If the slow-cook setting seems not to be reducing the liquid enough, use the saute setting instead. When it’s on saute, be sure to stir every 15 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
  • Using a wooden spoon, mash beans until slightly thickened, if desired; season with salt, pepper and more hot sauce, to taste. Or if you have low-salt eaters as I do, place those items on the table. 
  • Stir your cooked beef into one section of the bean mixture. I actually divide the half pound into two bowls and spoon the red beans on top, then stir.
  • Serve immediately over rice and garnished with parsley.


Prep and cook times do not include cooking the beans or beef in advance.
To cook dry red beans in the Instant Pot: soak beans for at least two hours, best overnight. Rinse well and add enough water to cover. Pressure-cook (I use the bean/chili setting on my IP) for 30-33 minutes depending on your preference for doneness. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then slowly nudge the pressure release until the button drops. 
Inspired by this great recipe on Damn Delicious