Hello Villagers. I have been trying very hard to get my grocery bill under control this year. One tactic to healthy eating on a budget is to replace animal protein with a plant protein as the main entree. Red beans and rice was always a favorite of mine growing up. As a child I loved the flavor and texture of the beans. As an adult, I appreciate it’s simplicity. It requires a few inexpensive ingredients and can be readily thrown into a crockpot, making it perfect for busy days. As an added bonus, the leftover slow cooker creole kidney beans will freeze well too.
Being by rinsing and picking through your beans. Packages of dry beans can occasionally contain non-edible matter, so it is important to pick any out before cooking. Since the beans are going to cook all day long in the crockpot, there is no need to soak them overnight. Once you chop your vegetables, place everything into your crockpot. As for the seasoning, I tend to add minimal heat (1 tablespoon of the creole seasoning) for the kids and add extra to the grown-up bowls later. You can add as much or as little as your family likes. If you are using water, I recommend adding a little salt as well. But if you opted for stock, there is plenty in there.
Plant based proteins are an incomplete protein, meaning they do not have all of the essential amino acids that we need to consume every day. However, if we pair these beans with a grain, then together they make a complete protein. I chose rice because let’s face it, red beans and rice is a classic. During the final 30 minutes of cooking, prepare your rice according to the package. For those of you who just absolutely have to have an animal protein with dinner, smoked sausage or ham can be thrown in either at the beginning or the end of the cooking process. I do recommend giving the vegetarian version a shot. It is packed with flavor, nutrients, and fiber. I never miss the meat!
Slow Cooker Creole Kidney Beans
- 1 pound dry red beans
- 1 large white onion
- 1 large orange bell pepper
- 1-3 tbsp creole seasoning (depends on your family’s spice tolerance)
- 7 cups water or vegetable stock If using water, add salt to taste.
- Rinse and sort red beans. Place in slow cooker.
- Chop the onion and bell pepper. Place in slow cooker.
- Sprinkle seasoning over slow cooker ingredients.
- Pour water over slow cooker ingredients.
- Stir contents of slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Serve over cooked rice.