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Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

How to Prepare and Save Time

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

 

A Modern Twist on a Beloved Tradition.

Here in New Orleans, many of us observe the weekly tradition of cooking red beans and rice on Mondays. The traditional method takes several hours to cook from scratch on the stovetop (assuming you’ve not soaked them… ).  Most of today’s modern, busy workers leave their homes early on weekday mornings making that four hour stovetop cook time pretty unrealistic. What to do? If you love red beans but haven’t the time to cook them, meet your new best friend: the slow cooker. With just a little ahead-of-time preparation, you can have red beans not long after you get home. How’s that for convenience?

Not only is the consumption of red beans a big deal here in New Orleans, but the ritual of preparation is also a time honored tradition. Slowly chopping the trinity can be the closest thing to a meditative experience as you’re likely to find in the kitchen. However, if you don’t have the time, several companies here in Southeast Louisiana figured that out – so you can now find pre-chopped trinity in most, if not all, grocery store refrigerated produce sections.  Today’s busy home cook doesn’t always have the time for a lot of prep-work, especially when it’s just as cost effective to use the pre-chopped version.

Red Bean Ingredients on Chopping Board

Meat, Beans and Trinity

Advantages of Cooking Red Beans in a Slow Cooker Abound

Let’s loop back to the slow cooker. Clearly, advantages abound here. Not only are slow cookers convenient and easy to use, they’re also a major time saving device. Plus they eliminate the need for soaking, especially when you’re cooking them low and slow, as does the recipe presented here. While you’re busy at work all day, the slow cooker is busy, too – it’s turning the red beans, smoked sausage, and trinity into a delicious meal for you. When you arrive home, your beans are ready. Simply throw on a pot of rice and slice a few green onions, and you’re all set! This is so easy that a child could do it. In fact, cooking red beans in the slow cooker is a great way for you and your kids to bond over meal preparation, and it also provides a convenient way for you to pass the red beans and rice tradition on to them. While cooking traditions persist, modern day time crunches call for modern day solutions. The slow cooker provides that answer.

Slow cooker red beans

Embracing slow cooking allows you to cook traditional meals like red beans more often. Between using it as family bonding time and having Mondays be an easy dinner night, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start this tradition earlier. Red beans also make great leftovers for lunches during the week or they can be frozen to eat later, especially on those weeks when you don’t even have the time to use the slow cooker. You know those weeks. The versatility and storability of red beans makes them an ideal weekly tradition.  Slow cooking your red beans is also ideal for parade season and parties for the big game – you can enjoy the festivities while the beans are cooking, and serve directly from the slow cooker so that everyone can enjoy a piping hot bowl of New Orleans most beloved dishes.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

SLOW COOKER RED BEANS & RICE

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours (low) or 4 hours (high)

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 quart pre-chopped trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper)
1 pound smoked sausage, each link quartered length-wise then cut 1/2″ thick
10 cups water (low setting) or 6 cups water (high setting)
1 (1-pound) package Camellia Brand Red Kidney Beans
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and black pepper, to taste
6 cups cooked white or brown rice

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the trinity, stir well, and cook until vegetables start to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the vegetables don’t stick.
  3. Add the smoked sausage, stir well, and continue to cook until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally to make sure trinity and sausage aren’t sticking.
  4. Once done, remove the skillet from heat and transfer the contents to a slower cooker.
  5. Add the water and red beans along with garlic powder, onion powder, bay leaves, and dried thyme. Stir well and place cover on the slow cooker.
  6. Set the slow cooker on low for 10 hours (or 4 hours on high setting). Stir occasionally.
  7. Before serving, stir in thinly sliced green onions and the desired amounts of salt and black pepper. Serve over rice and with hot sauce.

Notes:

  • If you cannot find pre-chopped trinity in your local grocery store, substitute 2 cups of chopped onions, 1 cup of chopped celery, and 1 cup of chopped bell pepper.
  • Steps 1 through 3 can be done the day ahead of time, if needed. Store the cooked vegetable and sausage mixture in an air tight container in the refrigerator then just pick up on Step 4 when you’re ready to add everything to the slow cooker.
  • If you’re strapped for time, skip Steps 1 through 4. Sauteing the trinity and the sausage will add a depth of flavor, but it’s not a requirement. If you skip over to Step 5, add the raw vegetables and sausage to the slow cooker with everything else. Omit the vegetable oil.
  • Depending on your beans and your slow cooker, the beans may have more water than you’re used to on the stove. The beans will thicken upon standing. Mash some of the beans on the side of the slow cooker crock if you prefer a creamier style of beans.
  • The beans can stay in the slow cooker for another couple of hours on the “Warm” setting on the slow cooker. Beans will continue to thicken as they warm longer.

 

Makes 6 to 8 servings

 

 

  • Lisa Burcio de Frades

    sounds awesome! I’m going to try this!

    • Laurie

      I also add a can of rotel. I cook all beans this way MINUS the meat, I am a vegetarian. So, so good. I mash about 1.5 cups of the beans once done to make it “stewy.”

  • Shirly

    Do we not need to soak the beans prior to putting them in the crockpot??

    • Beano

      Correct- you do not need to soak the beans using the above method.

      • Shirly

        awesome! thanks for sharing!

  • trinity

    I do this but use 5 cups of water. 10 cups is insane.

    • Beano

      5 cups is ideal if you cook them on High in the slow cooker.

      • GAYNELL

        YES WE TRY THE LARGE AMOUNT OF WATER IT DID NOT WORKED .WE DO SOCK THE NIGHT BEFOR THE BEANS ARE TO HARD IF YOU DON’T. WEFIX ALL OURR BEANS IN
        A SLOW COOKER 5 CUPS OF WATER IS RIGHT

  • Jennifer

    can I do this with white beans as well? I love both red beans and white beans but just don’t have the time to cook them on the stove so this would be great to turn on before leaving for work.

  • Rodney Waites Lsudude

    I use six cups of water. Plus 1/4 cup of liquid smoke. Real garlic. Black and white pepper. With salt meat and put the sausage in about three hours before the beans are done.

  • topie

    for those that like a real kick stop by rod’s or piggly wiggly and pick up some colligan’s fire in the hold seasoning

  • Darlene

    How long can cooked Camilla Red Beans be kept in frigerator

  • Charlotte

    Is there a “kidney bean lectin” issue with this recipe? Is that really a thing?

  • nola4flo

    I have always made my red beans with the ingredients on the package. Is there a reason you use different ingredients when using the crockpot? Will the flavor be the same?

  • missyleean

    I did this on the low setting and 10 cups of water is WAY too much. There is a LOT of water in the crock pot. Next time I’ll do 7 and I’ll use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder.

  • Jo

    The Camellia brand beans were so hard this time when I cooked them and I even soaked the over night like I always do with dried beans. Any reason why?

    • Tee

      When you purchase your beans, place them in the freezer. They stay fresh longer.

  • artzilla

    It’s true, you DON’T need to soak your beans before cooking. But you had better be prepared for some serious noisy and odiferous gastric distress. No matter how long you cook them, the enzyme inhibitors and acids will remain in the gravy if you don’t do a series of soaking/rinses, much to the delight of all the four-year olds nearby.

    I wonder how the nameless author of this blog doesn’t know this. Perhaps s/he is just a contracted writer, not an employee of Camellia. While I am not a digestive systems expert either, I do have experience with beans both ways, And I have read up on why beans give you gas. A simple explanation can be found at grow youthful.com/recipes/sprouts.php if you wish to learn about phytic acid and other gas-producing defense mechanism that plants evolved, to enhance the possibilities that the plant would reproduce.

    I hear a mighty wind coming, because someone didn’t soak their Camellia beans. Don’t have time to soak? Unless you can’t make a plan, you do have time. For three days beforehand, rinse the beans twice a day. It can’t take more than two minutes each time. If you don’t have twelve minutes to prepare a large pot with 12+ meals, you are probably better off with a prepared food anyway.

    • Tbone

      OMG…You must be a NOLA Town person. I cannot stop laughing at your review. We be frank now aren’t we. Such a great post. You should do reviews.

      • artzilla

        Thanx, T! I do reviews on Yelp from time to time, and work to make them interesting and helpful. They gave me Yelp Elite status, which means sometimes, I get to lightly party/dine at no cost. So it’s probably worth the time and effort from a quid pro quo perspective. But I really write comment because I like to entertain myself and others. One of life’s simple pleasures. Good day!