There is nothing more satisfying than a big pot of smoky, flavorful Cajun style beans to fill your soul. These Vegan Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice will be an instant hit with not only your plant loving friends and family, but meat eaters alike. They are so creamy and delicious that when you’re eating them, you may just forget it’s February, and you’re not in the warm embrace of New Orleans.
Usually authentic Red Beans and Rice is an all day affair. That’s where the Instant Pot comes in. I love being able to get creamy beans without pre-soaking in no time. Before I started creating and testing recipes for Vegan Soprano, I hadn’t realized how dependent I had become on my Instant Pot. I had to start cooking things on the stovetop that I usually do in the Instant Pot in half the time. Let me tell you, if you haven’t invested in one of these yet, it’s 100% worth it.
Do I need to soak the beans?
If you are using an Instant Pot, no! Just be sure to wash the beans beforehand, and place directly into the pot.
If you would like to try this recipe on the stovetop, you absolutely do need to soak the beans for at least 10 hours in my experience.
Can I cook these Red Beans & Rice without an Instant Pot?
Yes, you absolutely can, but just be prepared to put in the time. For the stovetop, you can use a heavy bottom pot and follow the same instructions. The only differences is that you will need to pre-soak the beans and the cooking time will be longer.
Make sure you are starting with beans that have been pre-soaked for at least 10 hours. To get the desired creamy texture, you will need to cook the beans for at least 2 1/2 hours in my experience. If you’re in the mood for one of those Sunday slow cooking meals, I say go for it!
Do I need an immersion blender?
To get a thicker consistency, I like to blend a small amount of the beans after cooking. You can accomplish this with either an immersion blender, a standard blender, or even just a fork.
If you are using an immersion blender, just immerse in the beans and blend for 5-10 seconds. Blend so that about 1/4 of the beans have been puréed.
Transfer about 2 cups of the cooked beans into your standard blender. Blend until smooth and then transfer them back to the pot and stir to combine.
Don’t have a blender, that’s ok too! You can use a fork or potato masher even. You just want to make sure that a good amount of the beans are smashed and stirred in, so that the overall consistency thickens.
What kind of rice should I make with these Instant Pot red beans and rice?
Traditionally, this is served with a long grain white rice. However, you can use whatever type of rice you prefer. I’ve used a medium grain brown rice here, it it worked great. My husband loves a sushi style short grain white rice, and I think that would be delicious as well.
If you make brown rice, just be mindful that it takes considerably longer to cook than white. However, there should be plenty of time to make whatever kind of rice you want after you start the Instant Pot.
What is Cajun seasoning?
Cajun seasoning is just a blend of spices, including paprika, pepper, garlic powder and more, that have that distinct Creole taste. Many brands make a version of Cajun seasoning, including McCormick and Badia. Some more authentic brands would be “Slap Ya Mama” or Louisiana.
I like “Slap Ya Mama,” despite it’s comically offensive name. Be mindful though, the “Hot” version is quite spicy. If you don’t like a lot of spice, use half of the amount in the recipe to start. They also make a mild version here.
What is Liquid smoke?
Liquid smoke is a completely vegan ingredient that is made from condensing the smoke of burning wood into liquid form. Hardwoods are burnt at high temperatures, and then the particles of this process are collected in condensers. This creates a liquid product that you can easily add to your cooking to create the smoky barbecue flavor. It’s a great ingredient to have around for a vegan kitchen.
I like this brand, and it’s the one most commonly found in grocery stores.
Want to try other Instant Pot recipes? Our Epic Vegan Instant Pot Chili is equally flavorful and satisfying!
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
- Immersion blender or Blender (optional)
- 2 cups dry red beans or kidney beans (about 1 lb)
- 1 onion diced
- 5-6 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups celery diced approximately 3-4 stalks
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning I used 'Slap Ya Mama' (this is quite spicy, so if you like less spice start with 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke optional (if you don't have use 2 tsp of smoked paprika instead of 1)
- 1 tbsp hot sauce of your choice Cholula, Tabasco, or Frank's work well
- 5 cups water If you prefer broth to bouillon use 3 cups of veggie broth & 2 cups of water
- 3 tsp Better than bouillon (omit if using broth) or your choice of bouillon
- 2 cups your choice of rice (dry) prepare according to package instructions
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode on medium heat and add the diced onions to the inner pot
- Sauté onions for 3-4 minutes or until they are translucent and softening, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a bit of water here if they start to stick
- Add bay leaves and garlic to the pot and cook for an additional minute or until fragrant, stirring continuously.
- Add celery and green pepper and continue to sauté until everything becomes softened (another 4-5 minutes)
- Add remaining ingredients (except for rice) to the Instant Pot and set on Manual high pressure for 55 minutes and hit start. If you are using kidney beans, cook on high pressure for 1 hour.
- While your beans are cooking, prepare your rice accoring to instructions on it's packaging. Note that brown rice will take longer so you may want to start this immediately after you have started the Instant Pot.
- When the Instant Pot time finishes, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then do a quick release and open the pot carefully
- Using an immersion blender, place blender into pot and blend for about 5-10 seconds so that about 1/4 of the beans are blended and the texture becomes thicker. Alternatively, you can scoop out about 2 cups of the beans and put into a standard blender, blend, and return to the pot. If you do not have either of these blenders, using a fork or a potato masher, smash a good number of beans so that they incorporate back into the beans, making it the overall texture thicker.
- Add salt to taste if needed and serve with prepared rice!