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The Camellia Bean Blog

Creole Queen’s Vegan Red Beans and Rice Steers a Delicious Course

the front of the steamboat creole queen

When it comes to red beans and rice, there are traditionalists who say that some sort of meat, preferably ham, pickled ham, or smoked sausage, has to be part of the recipe. The crew at Creole Queen Paddlewheeler would beg to differ; it serves vegan red beans and rice. “It’s super creamy and flavorful,” says Creole Queen Food and Beverage Manager Tydra Ekeh, noting it reminds her of her grandmother’s red beans at Sunday dinner. “It’s a delicious and healthy alternative to the meat options,” she adds. Made with Camellia Brand Red Kidney Beans, the dish is also practical. It is the only vegan offering on the Creole Queen and is soy- and gluten-free, catering to those with food allergies.

a bowl of red beans and rice and a glass of champagne from creole queen

A Nostalgic Dish on the Mighty Mississippi
Prepared off-premises by Pigéon Catering using a Creole Queen recipe, the dish is available on brunch and dinner Mississippi River cruises leaving from New Orleans Spanish Plaza. In keeping with the nostalgic feel of the paddlewheel, the red beans and rice are another link to an earlier era. According to Susan Tucker’s New Orleans Cuisine, red beans have always been “a cultural phenomenon, a tradition dating back for hundreds of years.”

a young woman in a white sun dress drinking a glass of champagne with her red beans and rice from creole queen

Red Beans & Rice and Historical Sights
Passengers enjoy the vegan red beans and rice while sitting in one of the paddlewheeler’s dining areas during the scenic five-mile route along the river. Between the red beans and the views, one can experience a meaningful connection to New Orleans’ rich history, seeing modern cityscapes alongside historical sights, while enjoying a dish as ubiquitous a symbol of New Orleans as the fleur-de-lis.

the view from the deck of creole queen

Launched in 1983, the Creole Queen is a replica of an authentic 19th-century paddlewheeler, and Captain Brian Clesi has been at the helm since 2005. The boat has a diesel-electric engine to power the stern paddlewheel, a big difference from those that plied the river in the 19th century. These boats were first introduced in 1811 by Robert Fulton, Robert R. Livingston, and Nicholas Roosevelt.

It’s hard not to imagine Mark Twain on a paddlewheeler back in the day, savoring the red beans and rice, much like today’s families, couples, and travelers do on the Creole Queen. After all, it’s a culinary rite as common as Carnival.

the view while eating at creole queen

Creole Queen: Spanish Plaza, New Orleans, tickets/reservations, 504.587.1719 or 1.800.445.4109;;