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New Orleans-style red beans and rice, with shrimp {gluten-free}

New Orleans-style red beans and rice, with or without shrimp, makes every day Mardi Gras!

In the final weeks before we moved from the log house to our city space, we dipped into the pantry almost every night to use up ingredients before the move. Some of our from-the-pantry creations were winners, others not so much. This red beans and rice variation, one of the keepers, came together quickly after I soaked dry beans overnight and then cooked them in the pressure cooker (I'd already run out of canned beans, which would be a fine substitute). Typically, the rice would be prepared separately, but I cooked it right in with the beans. If you omit the shrimp and use water instead of chicken stock, you'll have a hearty vegetarian main dish. Try to use homemade stock if you are gluten-free, but again, you can swap in store-bought low-sodium chicken stock. Don't wait until next year's Mardi Gras to enjoy this New Orleans-style recipe; make dinner a celebration, at any time of year.

Not just for Mardi Gras, red beans and rice (with or without shrimp) makes a festive main dish.

New Orleans-style red beans and rice, with shrimp

From the pantry, you'll need: dry red kidney beans, long grain white rice, canned tomato, Ro*Tel, chicken stock, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, frozen shrimp.

Serves 6-8 as a main dish.


1 lb cooked red kidney beans (or 6 cups canned beans, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 10-oz can Ro*Tel, mild or hot
2 cups chicken stock or water
1/4 cup smoky BBQ sauce
1-2 Tbsp Tabasco or other hot sauce, or more to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste
1 lb large (31-40 size) frozen shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined


In a large stockpot, add all ingredients except the shrimp. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Taste the rice; it should be just cooked. Now, add the shrimp, and stir it way down into the beans so the heat of the beans will cook the shrimp evenly.

Continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and curled.

Taste, and add more hot sauce if you like it spicy.

Serve hot, with some garlicky cooked dark leafy greens (chard, kale, collards) on the side. Or, cool completely, pack in an airtight container, and freeze.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More New Orleans-inspired recipes:
Gumbo ya-ya, from The Perfect Pantry
Chicken and shrimp jambalaya, from The Perfect Pantry
Roasted shrimp po' boy sandwich with Greek yogurt cole slaw, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker red beans and rice soup, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cajun fried chicken, from Leite's Culinaria
Dirty rice, from Simply Recipes

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Why didn't I ever think of putting shrimp with Red Beans and Rice; such a perfect marriage of flavors and totally appropriate to combine them as well!

Kalyn, to me nothing says New Orleans quite like shrimp! On my travels there, I eat shrimp at almost every meal. It's great here with the rice and beans.

This looks wonderful, but there's nothing NOLA about it! I grew up eating red beans and rice every week, and the recipe was completely different and didn't have any cans of this or bottles of that. That said, adding shrimp to red beans sounds delicious, and I am curious how RoTel works with BBQ sauce.

Erica, it's definitely not an authentic recipe; rather, one inspired by the flavors and foods of New Orleans. I hope you'll give it a try!

Yummy love it.

We had this for dinner last night and I have to say we both enjoyed it very much. One tablespoon of Cholula sauce was ENOUGH, good thing I tested the mixture before adding more.

Did you use cooked shrimp or raw

Made this tonight for my husband and I. We will be making again was very good served with homemade cornbread also. Just cut recipe down so I didn't have a ton of leftovers made enough for 2-4 servings because had a feeling husband would want 2nds and I was right.

Is 1/2 cup of rice enough for 6 cups of beans? Seems to me the proportions are off. I’m tempted to add more rice but don’t want it to come out too dry!

I am sorry but being born and raised in New Orleans this is not what we eat down here. First off shrimp does not belong in red beans. Red beans are meant to be creamy not watery. Second I know no one in New Orleans that puts tomatoes and bbq sauce in their red beans. Agin this is not how we eat down here.

Genna, you can certainly add more rice, but as we were moving (!), I used what I had. The dish is mostly red beans, but you can play with the proportions you like.

Tia, use raw shrimp (fresh, or defrost, if frozen)

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