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.
You can serve more meaty dishes with this dish. Check out this list of mouthwatering summer dinner ideas. My personal favorite is this tender oven tri-tip roast recipe because it combines the neutral and mild flavor of the beans with the juicy meat.
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 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
- 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (about 1¾ cups)
- 1 15.5-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 small bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2¼ cups chicken broth or water (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- Wash rice until water runs clear. Drain water.
- Heat a saucepan with oil. Then add onions, garlic, thyme, and hot pepper, and sauté for about a minute.
- Stir in rice to the pan, followed by beans, and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add coconut milk, bay leaf, bouillon powder, and Creole spice with 2¼ cups of broth or water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes (more or less). Stir occasionally from the sides to prevent burning add more water as needed.
- Adjust for salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves You have to stir occasionally to be preventing any burns.
- Serve warm.
Tips & Notes:
- For really moist rice and beans, use 3 cups of water or broth. If you want your rice to look just like in the picture, then use 2 cups of water or broth.
- In the recipe, I used paprika and Creole salt to enhance the rice's flavor. It’s not traditional, so if you want traditional rice, omit the paprika and use regular salt instead of Creole 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 the water runs clear. One of our readers here has 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. 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 at high pressure with a natural pressure release.
- No Creole spice? you may use my jerk spice.
- 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 the products used.