Red beans and rice is a signature dish of Creole cuisine that was traditionally made on Mondays, because back in the day, Monday was “wash day.” The women of the house would be busy doing laundry, so red beans and rice was an easy dish to make with the leftovers from Sunday’s dinner (usually ham or another kind of pork) that didn’t require a lot of time in the kitchen.
While laundry is no longer the exclusive domain of Mondays, and we certainly hope it isn’t only the gals in the house stuck doing laundry, red beans and rice is still an easy dinner to make – any night of the week!
The version we’re about to share with you doesn’t use any pork. And, since we’re already messing with tradition, it also doesn’t use any rice. Ladies and gentlemen, allow us to introduce a new twist on an old favorite – Red Beans and Oats! What could be more comforting than perfectly seasoned red beans on a bed of savory steel cut oats?
By using steel cut oats instead of rice, we’ve lowered the Glycemic Index of this recipe and added soluble fiber. This is especially beneficial for anybody watching their blood sugar, but also just a good choice for anyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
This recipe starts as all good Creole-inspired recipes do – with the holy trinity! If you’re not familiar with the culinary term, the “holy trinity” consists of finely diced green bell peppers, onion and celery, sautéed slowly to build an incredible flavor base. Just thinking about the smell of these vegetables sautéing makes our stomachs yearn for a week of Mondays.
While we wouldn’t dare rush our holy trinity, we took the fast-track with our beans. In the interest of speed and convenience, we use canned red kidney beans. If you want to use dry beans, be sure to pre-cook them before adding them to this recipe.
Because we are substituting steel cut oats for rice, it seems fitting to prepare them in a rice cooker. Add your oats and water, along with a pinch of salt, and hit start. Twenty minutes later, you’ll have perfect oats. A rice cooker isn’t necessary for delicious steel cut oats, making them on the stove top will work just fine.
Whether you choose to eat this oat-y twist on a classic Creole creation on a Monday, or you want to get totally wild and make it for some friends on a Friday, is totally up to you. You can enjoy this twist on a classic any day of the week.
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
In our version of this favorite Louisiana dish, steel cut oats stand-in for the traditional rice. Start your oats right before you begin preparing your beans.
- 1 Tbsp canola oil (15 ml)
- 1 onion medium, diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 celery diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp thyme dried (5 ml)
- 1 Tbsp hot sauce to taste (15 ml)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (1 ml)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (7.5 ml)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (1 ml)
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, plus additional if required (1000 ml)
- 2 x 19 oz red kidney beans (canned) drained and rinsed (2 x 540 ml)
- 2 cups steel cut oats (500 ml)
- 6 cups water (1500 ml)
- parsley fresh, chopped
- hot sauce for serving
To make the beans:
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion, bell pepper and celery until tender. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add bay leaf, thyme, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt, pepper and stock.
- Bring to a boil, add beans, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook uncovered, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
- Transfer about 2 cups of the mixture into a bowl and mash well with a potato masher or hand blender.
- Return mashed beans to the pot, taste and adjust seasoning, and simmer for 5 minutes longer, adding additional stock if bean mixture is too thick.
- Serve beans over hot, cooked oats, sprinkle with chopped parsley and pass the hot sauce.
To make the oats:
- In a saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil.
- Stir in steel cut oats and 1 tsp salt. Reduce heat and simmer oats, covered or uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.