Vegan red beans and rice with tofu sausage crumbles is decadence in a bowl, delight with every bite, and a big pot that goes so fast, you’ll have this recipe on repeat.
Why we love this recipe
Red bean with rice is a classic Southern US dish. Recipes come with all sorts of variations and individual flavors. I’ve indulged in several myself. This vegan version represents several years of improvements and adjustments for both tastinesses and for health. When I finally cracked the secret for tofu sausage crumbles, all the recipe tweaking ceased.
And that's right where we'll begin. With the sausage.
How the sausage gets made
Because the tofu sausage needs to bake for about 35 minutes and you need to press the tofu first for 20 minutes, you want to start cooking there. You can prep and cook everything else while it bakes and have the time to take a quick stretch, skim a book, or check out a few cat videos. Whatever your pleasure.
Tips for tofu sausage
- Use firm tofu and press it for about 20 minutes before you crumble it into the spice mixture. I find it more efficient to cut the tofu into quarters before pressing.
- You may want to use ground fennel, rather than fennel seeds for the sausage. When I made this the first time, I ended up with fennel seeds floating along the top of my red beans. It tasted terrific, but the seeds may put some of your diners off.
- The longer you can leave the tofu in the spice mixture, the more flavorful it will become. It tastes great even without 'settling time.' But if you want even more flavor jolt and want to save time, consider mixing the sausage up and letting it sit overnight. You can also bake the crumbles the day before and just slip them into the pot of red beans when you’re ready.
Tips from the field
Blending 1 ½ cups of kidney beans (1 15 oz. can) with 5 cups of vegetable broth gives the ‘sauce’ more substance.
Kidney beans are notoriously thick-skinned. Unless you have a high-speed blender, your sauce won’t be completely smooth. Don’t fret – this gives your red beans and rice character, and more importantly, even more fiber. And fiber is our friend.
This recipe goes very quickly once you heat up the pot. Saute the veggies for a few minutes so that they start to soften. Then, add the garlic and spices and stir. After that, it’s a matter of adding the broth, kidney beans, and sausage crumbles.
What if the sausage isn’t done?
This recipe loves extra simmering. If the sausage crumbles aren’t quite ready to add, just turn the pot down low and allow the red beans and veggies to cook. The longer you cook it, the more the liquid will reduce. Once the sausage is ready, add it in and heat through.
Make the rice in a separate pot and consider the cooking time needed. Consult the directions on the package and decide when it's best to start it. For brown Basmati rice, start it right before you heat the pot to sauté the onions, celery and peppers.
Although they are often used interchangeably, red kidney beans and red beans are different. Red beans are smaller and similar to pinto beans (sans the red color). Adzuki beans are also a type of red bean. You are usually safe to substitute any of these beans; however, red kidney beans will be the largest.
If you prefer, you can substitute tempeh crumbles for the tofu. If you use soy crumbles or TVP (textured vegetable protein), be sure they are rehydrated before you use them.
As ingredients, brown rice, in particular, is very healthy. And all beans are loaded with nutrients and fiber. What makes your combination of rice and beans healthy is how what you add to your dish and how you cook it (with or without oil or grease).
Red beans and vegan sausage will freeze up to 3 months in a sealed container. It is best not to freeze the rice with the red beans. This ensures that the rice won’t get mushy as you reheat it.
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vegan red beans and rice with tofu sausage
Vegan red beans and rice with tofu sausage crumbles is decadence in a bowl, delight with every bite, and a big pot of healthy comfort.
- Prep Time: 60 min
- Cook Time: 60 min
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Main Courses
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 batch of tofu sausage crumbles
- 3 – 15 oz. (400 gm.) cans of red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 5 cups of vegetable broth or the equivalent of water and vegetable stock cubes
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2, green bell peppers, diced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 -2 Tbsp. chili powder (for best results, use our homemade chili powder)
- 1 Tbsp. thyme
- 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 cups of brown basmati or rice of your choice (cooked according to package directions)
- 1 cups of scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
- Start the tofu crumbles first. Follow the directions here.
- Once the sausage is in the oven, prep all the rest of the ingredients.
- In a blender, combine 1 ½ cups of red beans and 5 cups of vegetable broth. Blend to break up the beans. This helps thicken and flavor the broth.
- Heat a pot to medium and add the onion, green pepper, and celery. Sauté the veggies for 5-8 minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, thyme, and smoked paprika. Stir to coat the vegetables (about 30 seconds).
- Add the broth-bean puree, the rest of the kidney beans, and sausage crumbles.
- Bring the pot to simmering and cook for 15 – 20 minutes to combine all the flavors and allow the sauce to reduce. (note, the sausage crumbles can also be added at this time).
- Serve over cooked rice and garnish with sliced scallions if desired.
- Prep and baking time accounts for making tofu sausage. You can also prepare the tofu sausage a few days in advance. If you do this, you’ll need 20 minutes to prep the red beans and 25 minutes for the cooking time.
- It is best to store or freeze the red beans and vegan sausage separately from the rice. Rice can get mushy when you reheat it with the rest of the ingredients. Store the red beans for up to 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
- Consider the time you’ll need to cook your rice. You may want to start it before cooking the red beans. Refer to the package directions before finalizing your cooking plans.
- If you substitute tempeh for the tofu, follow our instructions on how to make perfect tempeh crumbles.
Keywords: vegan red beans and rice