Cheap Healthy Meals: Red Beans and Rice Recipe

I live in Charleston, South Carolina, with my husband and two children. I enjoy writing in my spare time.

Moma's Red Beans and Rice

This simple recipe packs in a lot of flavor.

This simple recipe packs in a lot of flavor.

Red Beans


Red Beans and Rice

If someone asked you to name the cheapest or most frugal meal, you might answer "rice and beans." It is true—rice and beans do not cost much, but they can make a delicious and healthy meal.

You may be that struggling student surviving off of ramen noodles (watch the sodium!) or pasta and cheap tomato sauce (where's the protein?). Or you may be at the end of the month with a paycheck wearing thin. You may just be looking for an inexpensive family meal to get through the week. Or you may be tired of seeing all your money go into the gas tank or for expensive groceries. Whatever the case, try this savory, comforting meal of rice and beans, and you might be surprised to find what a rich meal it really can be.

Health Benefits of Red Beans

The small red bean packs in so many good things for the body that it would be a shame to ignore them. Also known as Mexican red bean or red chili bean, small red beans have the following health benefits:

  • very rich in antioxidants (more than blueberries)
  • high in protein
  • high in iron
  • high in fiber
  • low fat
  • low sodium
  • no cholesterol
  • easy to digest

So, don't make the mistake of overlooking the simple red bean for future meals. My mother's recipe below will make you appreciate the simplistic, but tasty, red beans and rice.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

7 hours

7 hours 15 min

6-8 servings


  • 1 pound dry small red beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Wylar's chicken granules
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
  • white rice, cooked
  • garnish: green and yellow pepper, finely diced

How to Make Moma's Red Beans and Rice

  1. Fill a large pot with water and red beans. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat, and cover. Let sit 3 hours.
  2. Drain beans in colander.
  3. Put beans back in pot with the chicken granules, oil, and seasonings.
  4. Simmer for 4 hours with pot top open a little.
  5. You will need to add some water 3-4 times while cooking. Keep beans just covered with liquid and be sure not to let them dry out. You want the beans to remain intact and a nice gravy to form.
  6. Serve over hot white rice and top with green and yellow peppers. Diced onions may be used as well for a garnish.
  7. Add a side salad to complete the meal.
  8. Substitutions: You can substitute 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary if you have it. For an even healthier option, substitute brown rice or a mix of half white and half brown rice
  9. Slow-cooker version: Place 7 cups of water and the rest of the ingredients in a 4 quart crock pot and cook on high for 7 hours. You will not have to pre-soak the beans. Keep checking the beans, though, to make sure they don't get mushy.
  10. Note: The red beans freeze very well.

Southern Rice Steamer Pot


Jenny on October 12, 2014:

I hope one of you can help me solve a mystery. My great grandmothers rice steamer pot has just died and I am trying to find another but am having no luck. Can anyone tell me where to buy it or a name of a manufacturer . Any help is appreciated

Missy Mac from Illinois on December 31, 2012:

I love beans. I just stock up on all types of beans. Black eye are my favorite. Beans, rice, and corn bread is all that I need. You are correct! Before purchasing the salty noodles, one should get healthy beans. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Sarah Johnson (author) from Charleston, South Carolina on June 28, 2012:

Hi, Docmo. You are right - they are also very filling - a very satisfying meal. Sometimes simple is the best way to go.

Sarah Johnson (author) from Charleston, South Carolina on June 28, 2012:

Hi, Crystal. Great question - I actually researched that since I am a wavering vegetarian, actually a pescatarian. I could not find vegetable granules, but I did notice something at Publix the other day - Swanson's Vegetable Flavor Boost, which is a packet of concentrated vegetable broth. I think it will do the trick!

Mohan Kumar from UK on June 28, 2012:

I do love this recipe and often have red beans and rice. As you say it is simple, nutritious and quite filling too. Nice recipe hub- great pics to accompany too. voted up!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on June 28, 2012:

I really like red beans and rice and this is a great recipe. Any suggestions for substitutes on the chicken granules? I'm a vegetarian. Thanks! Voted up!

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