An explosion of flavors Caribbean Rice and Red Beans seasoned with garlic, onions and creole spice infused with bay leaves, thyme, scotch bonnet, and coconut milk. It’s a rice meal like no other!
Happy April! I would just like to say that with what the world is experiencing right now, every day should be a gratitude day. So I’m beyond thankful for this new fresh month ahead of us and for this gift of life.
And while I’ve been daydreaming on when would be my next Caribbean trip is, I guess a Caribbean food trip in my kitchen starting with this rice and beans recipe would do the trick for now. Or sometimes referred to as “rice and peas” if made with pigeon peas or yellow peas.
When making this scrumptious rice recipe, I really do not have any preference for beans. Whatever is in the pantry works for me, especially during these times. Here, I used kidney beans instead of the traditional one.
Caribbean Rice and Beans Ingredients
What makes this dish so enticing is coconut milk, coupled with scotch bonnet pepper (hot pepper), onions, garlic, thyme, and red beans.
For a deeper flavor, I added creole spice to up the flavor in this coconut milk rice and beans meal. So think of it as Caribbean rice and beans with a creole flair. No creole spice? Swap it with my homemade dry Jamaican Jerk Seasoning HERE.
If you like a more orange or reddish appearance then include the paprika. As for the heat in this dish, I like to leave the scotch bonnet pepper whole because it produces the right amount of heat and flavor without being too overwhelming. But feel free to use other types of peppers you have on hand like green chilies or bell peppers.
Can You Make This Rice and Beans Vegan?
This is a very simple, easy, cheap and nutritious dish to make in a saucepan. Why nutritious? The beans, of course, it is a good source of complete protein, especially if you are vegan. Now to make this dish completely vegan, just simply swap the chicken broth with vegetable broth or water and omit the chicken bouillon.
One of our readers has also successfully made this recipe using brown long grain rice if you want this recipe healthier.
What to Serve with Caribbean Rice and Beans?
It is traditionally served with chicken, beef or pork or pair it with this Brown Stew Chicken HERE. Below are just some of my go-to pair for this dish.
More Rice Recipes You’ll Love
Get the recipe for this Brown Stew Chicken HERE.
How To Make Rice and Beans
Watch How to Make It
Caribbean Rice and Beans
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (or canola)
- 2-3 garlic clove , minced
- ½ medium onion , diced
- 2 teaspoons creole spice Homemade recipe here
- 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 13.5 oz can (1 3/4 cups) coconut milk
- 15.5 oz can red kidney beans , rinsed and drained
- 2 small bay leaves
- salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste
- 2 1/4 cups chicken broth or water (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper.
- 1 teaspoons paprika (optional)
- Wash rice until water runs clear. Drain water.
- Heat a saucepan with oil. Then add onions, garlic, thyme, and hot pepper, sauté for about a minute.
- Stir in rice to the pan, followed by beans for about 2 minutes, then add coconut milk, bay leaf, bouillon powder, creole spice, with 3 cups of water, bring to a boil reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes or more. Stir occasionally from the sides to prevent burns , add more water if needed.
- Adjust for salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves You have to stir occasionally to be preventing any burns.
- Serve warm
Tips & Notes:
- This recipe has been updated with pictures and suggestions.
- For a really moist rice and beans use 3 cups of water/broth. If you want your rice to look just like in the picture then use 2 cups water or broth
- In the recipe I used paprika and creole salt to enhance the flavor of the rice. It’s not traditional. If it is traditional you are after then omit paprika and in place of creole salt use regular salt.
- Feel free to switch the coconut milk with 2 cups of water.
- You can substitute scotch bonnet pepper with any other type of pepper like green chilies or bell peppers.
- Wanna make it vegan? Vegetable broth would be fine.
- If using dry pigeon peas, boil them first until tender, then replace beans with pigeon peas in the instruction. You may also use pinto beans or black beans instead.
- I use uncooked long grain rice. No need to parboil, just rinse it until water runs clear. One of our readers here have used Japanese short-grained rice and it works. Brown long grain rice works, too.
- Too much liquid and stirring would make your rice mushy.
- You may cook it ahead and refrigerate. It heats up very well the next day.
- If you don't have chicken bouillon, you may leave it out or use half of a Maggie cube and add it to the pot.
- For those who want to cook it using an Instant Pot, one of our readers shared this: just saute everything like you normally would, and cook for 3 minutes high pressure with a natural pressure release.
- No Creole spice? you may use my dry jerk spice HERE.
- You may throw in your favorite cooked protein into the mix like shredded smoked turkey, diced chicken, ground meat, sausages and so on.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.