Cold Winter, Hot Beans

One of the best things most of us can do for our bodies is to swap out some of our habitual meat for fat-free, high-fiber, nutrient-dense beans. Cooked up with vegetables, some lighter chicken sausage for flavor, and served atop brown rice cooked from scratch, this three-star meal is the perfect warm and filling meal for a cold January.

Cajun Red Beans & Rice

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Red beans and rice are a classic New Orleans dish. This version is a little lighter on both the salt and the saturated fat, but not light in flavor. Use cayenne pepper and hot sauce to adjust the heat to suit your personal preferences.


Servings: 8 (242 g )

Prep Time: 30 min.

Cook Time: 15 hours


  • 1 lb. kidney beans
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ lb. chicken andouille sausage, cooked and sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 3 cups brown rice, cooked


  1. Cover beans with cold water. Soak at room temperature overnight, up to 16 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring, until lightly browned.
  3. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook until vegetables have softened and are just starting to brown around the edges. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add salt, cayenne pepper, sage, and fresh black pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds or so.
  4. Add beans, along with enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Add cider vinegar, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 1½ to 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove lid and continue to cook until liquid has thickened, about 20 minutes. If the pot starts to look dry before the stew turns creamy, add water and continue simmering. Repeat as necessary until thick and creamy.
  6. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems. Season to taste with hot sauce. Serve over brown rice.