Red beans and rice is a staple in the Louisiana diet. My school served it once a week for lunch. My mother made the boxed version when she didn’t feel like cooking a meal from scratch. My kids love red beans and rice, but I wanted to use a healthier grain for a heartier stew. The quick cooking barley worked perfectly for this Cajun red beans and barley recipe.
Because you’re using canned beans, you won’t have to spend hours simmering it. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, so the recipe is perfect when you’re stumped for dinner. Since I only had one can of red kidney beans, I threw in a can of black beans in it too. It tastes great without sausage but it’s more authentic with it. The stew is a one-pot meal, making it an ideal weeknight dinner.
I’m quiet pleased with the dish. Reminds me a little bit of where I grew up. Traditionally cornbread is served with red beans and rice. I made a lighter version (using yogurt) and cooked them in a muffin tins. Voila! Instant serving size.
Don’t worry, I have a recipe for my lighter corn muffins soon. In the meantime, enjoy the red beans and barley stew!
My recipe for the cornbread muffins are up! Click here–>Honey Cornbread Muffins with Greek Yogurt Recipe
- 1 tsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1½ cup quick cooking barley
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15oz can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 15oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 4 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (about 2½ cups)
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 medium bay leaves
- 1 pound of sausage, cut into ¼" slices
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tsp of vegetable oil until hot. Add onions and cook over medium until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and barley. Cook with onions for another 5 minutes, making sure to stir constantly.
- Add both beans, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, and sausage. Stir until well combined.
- Cook on medium high until simmering. Lower heat to medium and cover pot. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until barley is cooked and sauce is thick. Stir occasionally to keep the stew from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Serve with Louisiana-style hot sauce and cornbread.