This southern dish will keep you satisfied for hours.
What’s more satisfying than a big bowl of red beans and rice? We combine dark red kidney beans, brown rice, onions, and bell pepper with freshly made meatballs and savory seasonings to simmer all day in the slow cooker. Slow cooker red beans and rice is always a family favorite with a salad and a big crusty loaf of French bread. Be sure to make extra because it’s even better the next day!
Traditional Red Beans and Rice
Red beans and rice is a classic southern recipe that actually originates from the Spanish Caribbean over 200 years ago. It was introduced in Louisiana, where this dish has become an iconic staple. Traditionally, it’s made with sausage, red kidney beans, rice, and spices. We’ve created a recipe that uses all of those ingredients but is also super easy to make.
Slow Cooker Recipes
Slow cooker recipes are awesome for anyone who is super busy, needs an easy recipe, or wants to plan ahead for dinner that night (which I think includes most of us!). Once you’ve made your meatballs, all you have to do is flip the switch on your slow cooker and come back 6 to 8 hours later!
If you’re a fan of slow cooker recipes, you might also like our list of 20 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes.
Make this Southern Rice and Bean Recipe
Start by making the meatballs. First, you’ll combine the lean ground turkey or chicken, garlic powder, ground black pepper, dried sage, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and oregano in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until well blended. We recommend mixing the ingreidents by hand to make sure they’re properly combined. Form the mixture into small meatballs, about half an inch in diameter, and refrigerate while the veggies are cooking.
For the beans and rice, heat olive oil on medium-low in a large skillet. Once hot, add the onions, bell pepper, and celery, sautéeing until tender. This should take about four minutes. Then, add the garlic and sauté for one additional minute.
Add the sautéed onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, stirring to combine. Then, place your sausage meatballs into the pot and stir gently. Place the lid on the Crock Pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Separately, cook your brown rice according to the directions on the package.
Remove the bay leaf from the slow cooker, and serve your sausage meatballs and beans over a bed of brown rice. Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
Beans and Rice Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 3/4 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- kosher or sea salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons freshly snipped thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 30 ounces dark red kidney beans canned
- 3 cups chicken broth low sodium, fat free
- 2 cups long grain brown rice uncooked
- 1 pound lean ground turkey or chicken 93/7% preferred
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
For the Sausage
- Place all the above sausage ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until well blended. Make into small meatballs, about 1/2". Refrigerate while veggies are cooking.
For the Beans and Rice
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-low, add onions, bell pepper and celery, sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté one additional minute. Add sautéed onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, stir to combine.
- Add sausage meatballs and stir gently, cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Recommend 4-6 quart slow cooker.
- Separately, cook brown rice according to the directions on the package.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve sausage meatballs and beans over a bed of brown rice.
Have you made this recipe?
Tag @skinnyms on Instagram or hashtag it #skinnyms
Are you going to try our leaner, slow cooker red beans and rice? If you do, be sure to let us know what you thought of it in the comment section!
You might also like to try these southern classics:
- Juicy Faux Fried Chicken
- The New Southern Style Sweet Tea
- Healthy Southern Greens
- Healthy Fried Green Tomatoes
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This looks so yummy! I'm so excited to use my slow cooker this week.
Thank You. Let us know what you think of the Red Beans and Rice? 🙂
Hi- how many 1 cup servings does this make?
Laura, Approximately 8 cups.
I know it's not the healthiest… but I'm gonna have to go traditional and make this using andouille sausage 🙂 LOL
Jen, Hmmmmm….you're right, not the healthies! It really is good with the turkey sausage.
Need clarification. 🙂 It's probably just a type-o, but want to get the recipe right. It looks like onions, peppers, celery, etc. are added to slow cooker twice for a total cooking time of 12-16 hours.
Hi Shelley, Just sent you an email with the corrections! 🙂
Thanks for fixing that. 🙂
Maybe a dumb question, but does the nutritional info include the rice?
I think this would be good meat free!!
Christine, I agree…and it is! 🙂
I try making this but I think I messed up. Are you supposed to drain & rinse the beans? Or just dump the entire can in?
Kita, Either way will work fine. I rinse the beans, then drain to reduce the sodium. No big deal! Did you enjoy?
is this dish safe to cook on high for half the time? i made the rookie mistake of not reading the instructions all the way through and i'm concerned about it finishing too late in the evening.
Andrea, That should work fine!
Would this recipe work with Black Beans?
Marnae, Yes, sure would.
how many servings is this? Am I missing it above?
Angie, About 8 servings.
I made this tonight and it was good, but next time I would tripe or even quadruple the amount of veggies. I put in two large red bell peppers in mine and it still didn't have enough for my taste.
I wonder if in place of the sausage mix, you used the Jennie-O turkey Kielbasa or Jennie-O Hot Turkey Sausage links would give it that more "traditional" feel without being really unhealthy. Has anyone tried that??? Cause I'm thinking of doing that instead of the sausage mix.
I guess this recipe just wasn't for me. I did include the onions and garlic and spices, but I omitted the peppers and celery because I don't like those foods. The dish was a pretty decent consistency/texture, but it's just spicy with very little actual flavor.
If you use a good quality chicken broth, vegetable broth, or beef broth for the liquid, that should impart a lot of flavor. Thanks for trying the recipe!
This was delicious! Definitely quite spicy, but something I would totally make again!
I'm confused…do I cook the rice, and then mix it with the sausage ingredients?
Laura, You cook the sausage meatballs and beans together with the herbs and chopped veggies. Then, towards the end of the slow cooking time, get your rice ready, cooking on the stovetop separately according to package directions. Then ladle the beans and sausage meatballs over the rice. Another option is to carefully stir the cooked rice together with the other ingredients.
I read the recipe several times and almost did the same thing because my printer cut off the bottom part under "For the rice"…in the recipe the brown rice is listed as a sausage ingredient.
Job, Thanks for letting us know. We will change that.
Help!! I started making this and put the uncooked brown rice in my sausage mixture!! Now what can I do? 🙂 Thanks!!
Page, Unform the meatballs so that you have a loose meat and raw rice mixture (along with other ingredients). Add an additional cup of chicken broth/stock to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and add your meat/rice mixture uncooked. Meat and rice will cook in the slow cooker with the other ingredients. Instead of sausage meatballs, you will have your sausage, rice, and beans combined.. which is still a delicious way to have rice and beans!
I almost did the same thing. The rice is listed in the sausage ingredients.
JACM, Okay thanks for letting us know. I will revisit this recipe today and try to clarify that.
Am I putting raw meatballs into the slowcooker? Not clear on to cook them or to put them in raw. Thanks!
Alicia Broughton, Add the meatballs raw but be gentle when adding them so that they don't break up.
i’m confused.. this is in your list of 8 dinners under 200 calories – 170 calories a bowl but on the page it says Calories: 271
Shannon, Thanks, we are removing this from the 8 Dinners Under 200 Calories list. That was our error.
We love the slow cooker version of this. Any suggestions how to convert it for a pressure cooker?
Maria, Hmmmm…not yet. We recently purchased an Instant Pot and will be adding lots of delicious recipes very soon.
How much cooked brown rice for each one cup of bean/meat mixture to yield the indicated calories?
April, Approximately 1/2 cup rice.
To clarify is the 270 calories 1/2 cup of rice and 1/2 cup of bean/meat mixture to make 1 cup?
April, Yes, 1 cup with a combination of sausage meatballs, beans, and rice.
What can you substitute for the sausage? I don’t eat meat.
Lissa, I eliminate the sausage. The recipe is delicious without it too. You’ve got plenty of protein with the beans.
Do the beans need to be drained and rinsed?
Denise, I would at least drain them and rinsing is fine too.