Vegan Test Kitchen: Cajun Red Beans and Rice from “Color Me Vegan”

There are a few people who have changed the world for animals in a huge way, and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is one of them.  She’s written seven books, the most popular of which is the The 30-Day Vegan Challenge.  There’s also a website for the 30 Day Vegan Challenge where you can learn more about her amazing work.  This simple challenge has inspired thousands of people to give being vegan a try.  Colleen also has a fantastically popular podcast called Food for Thought where she discusses food, lifestyle, and community all from a vegan perspective.  She calls herself a “joyful vegan,” and it totally shines through in her podcast and books.  She’s so thrilled to be vegan, you can’t help but get excited along with her!  She also has such compassion towards people who have not yet made the step into an animal-free life.  I so appreciate Colleen and everything she has done for animals.

Because of how much I admire Colleen, I have been anxiously waiting to dig into one of her cookbooks!  Today I am sharing my recipe test for Cajun Red Beans and Rice.  This recipe is in her cookbook Color Me Vegan.  For those of you who don’t own this cookbook already, you’re in luck!  I located this recipe online HERE.
Cajun Red Beans and Rice from "Color Me Vegan"
I eat some variation of rice and beans every week.  Sometimes I use lentils or split peas instead of beans, and other times I use quinoa or farro instead of rice.  It just depends on the week (and if anything is on sale at the grocery store!).  Rice and beans are easy to batch cook, and make filling lunches that will tide me over until I get home from work most days.  Most times, a salad simply doesn’t cut it for me at lunchtime.  I need carbs, protein, and warm food to feel fully satisfied and prepared for the rest of the work day.  I’m always looking for new ways to eat rice and beans, so when I noticed this Cajun Red Beans and Rice recipe it immediately jumped to the top of my “To Make” list.
Cajun Red Beans and Rice from "Color Me Vegan"
Cajun Red Beans and Rice from "Color Me Vegan"
I made several modifications to the initial recipe, but I don’t feel any of them changed the integrity of the dish:
-I left out the sauteing oil called for and instead just sauteed my veggies in broth.  This is an easy way to make any recipe low-fat!
-I used white rice instead of brown rice.  White rice is what I happened to have on hand, but I do recommend making it with brown rice as it is a more healthful grain.  If you use white rice, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
-The recipe calls for vegan sausage links.  I generally try to stay away from processed vegan foods like fake meats, as they are full of chemicals and high in fat.  For this recipe, I found some lovely oil-free chipotle marinated baked tofu at my grocery store.  I chopped it into small cubes and used that instead of vegan sausage.  It was delicious this way.
-The recipe calls for the meal to be cooked on the stove in a pot.  I sauteed the veggies in a pot, but then dumped everything into my rice cooker and used the white-rice setting.  It came out perfectly.  If you have a rice cooker, I highly recommend using it here.  You won’t have to watch the pot or worry about the rice sticking or burning.  This gives you down time to do more important things, like snuggle your pets.
Cajun Red Beans and Rice from "Color Me Vegan"
Cajun Red Beans and Rice from "Color Me Vegan"
I enjoyed this dish immensely.  It’s got a kick from the cajun seasoning, but isn’t overly spicy.  If you have kids, I do recommend toning the heat down a bit though.  In the future, I think I will double the amount of beans called for.  I always like to have an equal portion of rice and beans.  There are definitely less beans than rice in this dish, but the tofu provided a great “meaty” bite.  I served this dish topped with my favorite hot sauce and salsa.  It got a two-thumbs up from my omnivore husband, which I consider a definite win!  The recipe serves four, but you can safely double it in a regular sized rice cooker.  Made with white rice, no oil, and tofu instead of vegan sausage, each serving is approximately 300 calories.  Make the recipe.  Buy the book.  Listen to Colleen’s podcast.  You won’t regret anything.

Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.

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