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Budget-friendly Red Beans and Rice


Warm up chilly evening with budget friendly Red Beans and Rice


Red beans and rice combine to make a wonderful dish for brisk fall evenings. This version tweaks Emeril Lagasse's original high fat recipe to keeps costs down and flavor high.

Using Canadian bacon  or lean ham instead of the traditional andoiulle sausage helps keep the dish a crowd-pleaser without blowing your grocery budget.  In addition, these substitutes lightens up the traditional dish and makes it more heart healthy.


  • 1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped ham or Canadian bacon
  • 1 large chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • dash of crushed red peper
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 10 cups chicken stock, vegetable broth or water
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice


Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches let soak overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped ham, the onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers to the oil in the pot.   Season with the salt, parsley, garlic, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.)

Remove from the heat and and mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Serving suggestions:  For a twist on the original, try serving your red beans over Baked Garlic Cheese Grits instead of rice.

No time to cook? Treat yourself to dinner out without breaking your budget with Memphis Cheap Eats 101 and places Kids Eat Free or on the cheap in Memphis.  Don't forget to take advantage of the Buy One Get One Coupon to eat at Quiznos in October.

Rather cook at home?  Try one of these easy and inexpensive recipes.

Have questions, a money saving tip, or want to share your favorite recipe? Email me at  

For more about champagne tastes on a beer budget, read my blog or follow me on twitter.