Friday, March 8, 2013

Vegetarian Red Beans & Rice + Andouille Eggplant

We've been making vegetarian red beans and rice for a long, long time, but this is the best version yet. The addition of the andouille-spiced eggplant (an idea that came to me while I was out on a run) and also the smoky sun-dried tomatoes...all I can say is I wish I would have thought of this long ago!

If you're looking for a crowd pleaser, this is it. This is a great recipe for entertaining because everything can be done well ahead of time. In fact, this is one of those dishes that is even better the next day. It's best served with some crunchy, buttered french bread, a healthy dash of Tabasco sauce, and a cold Abita Turbodog.

Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice

(Serves 4-6)

1 1/2 cups dried red beans (soaked overnight in 3 cups of water)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups onion (diced)
1 cup celery (diced)

1 cup green pepper (diced)
1 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes* (small dice)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
1 teaspoon red miso paste (optional)
4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups water
sea salt and cracked blackpepper to taste
6 cups cooked brown rice
Andouille Eggplant (recipe follows)
1 1/2 cups sliced green onion for garnish

Heat the butter and oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sweat it all down until they are translucent and beginning to brown. Add the celery, green pepper, smoked sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh garlic; cook until all the vegetables have begun to soften. Stir in the dry spices, mustard, and miso. Add the soaked and drained beans, stock, vinegar, and bay leaves. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for two hours or until beans are tender. Add water if the mixture is looking dry.

To serve, spoon about a cup of rice onto the center of a dinner plate and add an equal about of the red bean mixture on top. Top that with 5-6 eggplant slices. Garnish with sliced green onion and plenty of Tabasco sauce.

*Smoked sun-dried tomatoes can be found at specialty food stores such as Fresh Market. If they are unavailable in your area, simply use sun-dried tomatoes and 10 drops of liquid smoke.

Andouille Eggplant

4 cups Japanese eggplant (1-inch slices cut on the bias)
1/2 teaspoon each: salt, thyme, garlic, crushed red pepper, black pepper

3 tablespoons canola

Toss eggplant slices with the spices and 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add the remaining canola. Once the oil begins to smoke, add the eggplant so that the cut side of each eggplant slice makes contact with the pan. Working quickly, you then turn each slice over once it is deeply browned, about 45 seconds, and cook the other side in the same way. This may be done in batches -- just add a little canola if the pan looks dry. Set cooked eggplant aside on a paper towel to drain.


MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

Wow this looks incredibly delicious! I love how browned and perfectly crunchy the eggplant looks.

Bianca said...

I should eat more eggplant. But mine never looks pretty because I have to peel it. Eggplant skin freaks me out.

The Cozy Herbivore said...

Looks amazing! I see that you share my obsession with smoked foods... I think they give us the satisfaction of meat without consuming it!

justaJoke said...

I have been making the red beans and rice with andouille eggplant for a couple hours now. the house smells amazing. Add, Home Grown sun dried tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and a home made chili oil from tiny orange thai chili peppers......exciting.

justaJoke said...

One of the best restaurants here in Portland serves an amazing whiskey cocktail with a HUGE ice cube of smoked water. It's unbelievable. Laurelhurst Market.

Vegetarian Cannibal said...

Oh man...I so wanna try this! :D

Patrick B. said...

Love the blog. Keep up the good work.

Serene said...

Found your blog while searching for a recipe for vegetarian red beans and rice. Love Eggplant so that will be a bonus for us. Thanks!

Niki said...

Hi! I'm a born and raised vegetarian from Louisiana and I just can't get enough of your creative twist on Cajun recipes! Love that I can still eat what I crave without trying to eat around the meat!!

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Thanks Niki! We hope you have looked at our book, The Southern Vegetarian, as well. We appreciate ya!