Red Beans and Rice in the Pressure Cooker

Happy Marti Gras to all!

I LOOOOVE red beans and rice.  I hadn't tried it before Kevin and I took our (belated) honeymoon vacation cruise out of Houston, TX last May.  Once we returned home, I knew I needed to make a homemade version so I could have this comforting, spicy, and delicious dish at home whenever I wanted.  I came up with my Vegan Red Beans and Rice dish back in June, but since then I have gotten my beloved Instant Pot pressure cooker and needed to adapt the recipe.

This weekend, Kevin and I took a trip to a cute nearby town called Port Townsend.  Kevin really wanted to try a Southern-inspired restaurant there, called Addie Mae's Southern Kitchen, that his parents had told him about, and we thought it would be a nice day to walk around Fort Worden.  It ended being a beautiful, mostly sunny day.  We ended up getting in over 3 miles of hiking around!  We hadn't been back here since we first started dating (four years ago almost to the day), so we took a before and after picture.

Before in February 2011.  Kevin was quite beardless, and I haven't aged a bit... right? ;)
After 4 years together.  The water in the background is part of the Puget Sound where our Alaskan Cruise ship will be passing through come August.  I'm so excited to have another awesome vacation with this guy to look forward to!

At Addie Mae's, Kevin had his chicken and waffles he had been wanting so badly, while I settled on the vegetarian red beans and rice.  Expecting something similar to what I make, it actually came with a whole lot of rice, topped with some beans and veggies.  Perhaps there are different ways to make and serve it, but I prefer my version with a whole lot of beans with some rice mixed in.  Maybe that is from 4+ years of being a Nutritarian, my brain is rewired to prefer more beans than rice!

Addie Mae's version of (vegetarian) Red Beans and Rice.  I did enjoy the bigger chunks of
vegetables, although I wouldn't be able to make it like that at home and expect Kevin to eat it.
I was not a huge fan of how much rice it had.
This version used large red kidney beans, but I prefer the small red beans.
 I also needed to add quite a bit of hot sauce to it.
So, last night, in the spirit of Marti Gras (and wanting to remember how great the bean-heavy version of red beans and rice is), I decided to make my version in my Instant Pot.  Because the IP cooks so quickly, I added a bit more spices than the original stove top recipe, and because it limits evaporation, I cut the liquids down quite a bit.

Red Beans and Rice
Time: 5 minute prep, 8 minutes high pressure, natural pressure release
Servings: 6-8 servings

This is what small red beans look like
before soaking.  Kevin was nice enough
 to get them soaking on his day off
(lucky teachers!) while I was at work.
He had to send me a picture to confirm
that he was picking the right ones.
You could most certainly use red
kidney beans, but you would need to
adjust the cooking time a bit.
        1 lb small red beans, soaked (quick or overnight - see note below), drained, and rinsed
        1 yellow onion, finely chopped
        1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
        3 celery stalks, finely chopped
        4 cloves garlic, minced (approximately 1 Tbsp)
        3 cups vegetable broth (boiling if possible)
        1 1/2 cups boiling water
        1.5 Tbsp chili powder
        1.5 tsp smoked paprika
        1.5 tsp dried thyme
        1 tsp dried oregano
        1 tsp dried parsley
        2 bay leaves
        1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
        Fresh ground black pepper to taste

        cooked brown rice
        green onions
        Louisiana hot sauce
        nutritional yeast

1.)  While you are prepping the other ingredients, bring the water and vegetable broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Cover until you are ready to use.  In a pressure cooker, if you add boiling liquids, it will help it come up to high pressure sooner.  (See my notes below.)

2.)  In a heated pressure cooker, saute the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic until lightly cooked and browned, adding small amounts of water to prevent burning.

3.)  Add into the pressure cooker the beans, spices, and boiling vegetable broth and water, being careful to pour slowly as not to scald yourself.

4.)  Stir to combine well and lock the lid into place.  Set to high pressure for 8 minutes.  Once the timer is up, allow pressure to come down naturally (for the IP, warm or off setting will work).

5.)  After the pressure has come down, release the lid and stir.  Use an immersion blender, or blend a few cups of the beans and liquid in a high powered blender.  You will want the red beans to be creamy, but have chunks of beans and vegetables.

6.)  Serve hot topped with brown rice, and your favorite condiments like nutritional yeast, green onion, or Louisiana hot sauce.

Amy's Notes:
To soak the beans, measure out 1 lb and pick out any stones, sticks, or damaged dried beans.  Then put them in a large bowl and cover with at least two inches of water.  Allow to soak overnight or while you are at work.  Strain the beans and rinse thoroughly before beginning the recipe.

Alternatively, you can use the quick soak method in the Instant pot.  Measure out 1 lb and pick out any stones, sticks, or damaged beans.  Add them to your pressure cooker with enough water to cover.  Lock the lid in place and set to high pressure for 1 minute.  Wait until the pressure comes down naturally, then strain the beans and rinse thoroughly before beginning the recipe.

I have had success with both of these methods, but I prefer to soak my beans during the day, because it results in less time waiting around the kitchen to start making the meal.

As I mentioned in the instructions, it is helpful to bring the vegetable broth and water to a boil before adding it to the pressure cooker.  This is not necessary for the recipe, but will make bringing the pressure cooker to high pressure that much faster.  If you are not in any sort of time crunch, no need to bother.  This can be done to any recipe to make coming to pressure that much quicker.

Health and Happiness,


  1. This looks so yummy Amy! I've been Nutritarian for almost a year now, and I love finding new recipes. I'd like to help spread the word about this awesome way of life, and so I was wondering if you'd take a moment to check out my blog "A Complex Combination" at http://nutritariannut.blogspot.com/ and let me know what you think? I'm trying to reach out to college students like myself who are wanting to live this lifestyle. Thanks a ton! - Shayla

    1. I'll definitely pop over and give your blog a look. Always happy to meet a fellow burtritarian and blogger! :)

  2. Great sounding recipe. I am making it now... Wish you had a print option for it though.. :( I don't like having to have my laptop in my kitchen. I am the clumsy sort and spilling is always a danger. LOL

    1. Sorry I don't have an easy print option! Maybe that is something I will look into doing in the future. I generally cook off of my iPad, but I can see how a laptop could be dangerous in a kitchen with all the slips and splatters that could happen!

    2. Evernote (free app!) will let you store the recipe on your phone or tablet. I have an entire file of recipes I've saved that way.

  3. I am new to the Instant Pot. Your recipe sounds really good but I wonder why you didn't choose the bean cycle?

    1. Hi Timaree, I almost never use anything besides manual. Most of my pressure cooking cookbooks that I've learned how to use my Instant Pot with feature recipes with high or low manual pressure, so that's what I've always used when adapting my own recipes.

  4. Is there a version for cooktop or crockpot? I saw that some of your recipes have the instructions for all three (two above and pressure cooker), but didn't see it for this recipe. My husband and I are new to the nutritarian diet/lifestyle and are looking for some recipes like this.

  5. Are these instructions good for a 4 Qt pressure cooker? Anyone can print out your recipe by highlighting the part they want, then copy it and paste into WORD. Voila!

  6. This was so good! Thank you for doing the putting this recipe together! Just a few minor changes, in seasoning, and I did set the Instant Pot to cook for 30 Mins (only soaked the beans for 8 hours, and I tend to like the red beans and rice on the mushy side). Again, thank you!

  7. I notice there is no salt in the recipe? Is that just added to taste afterwards?

    1. The nutritarian diet doesn't add salt. It is a wonderful way to eat once you adjust to it!