Slow Cooker Coconut Red Beans & Rice are a Caribbean inspired dish. It's a delicious side dish for so many meals, like the Jerk Chicken that I shared with you last week, but also just a tasty meal all by itself.
Jamaican Rice & Beans
Beans & Rice are Universal
You can find a version of beans & rice in every corner of this big & beautiful world. From South, Central and North America to the Caribbean to Africa, Europe, and Asia, you will be sure to find some version of beans & rice.
For example, there is Feijoada, the Brazilian national dish, Platillo Moros y Cristianos, the Cuban version of beans & rice, Gallo Pinto (Central America), Waakye, (Africa), Kongbap (Korea), and this Louisiana staple, Cajun Red Beans and Rice.
And those are just touching on the beans & rice cuisines of the world. There are way too many to list here, but, you can bet that there is a combo of beans and rice in every culture in the world. Which is pretty amazing when you think of it, and proof of what a vitally nutritious and sustaining combo beans & rice really are.
Caribbean Rice & Peas
This recipe for Coconut Red Beans & Rice is Caribbean inspired. In Jamaica, they call this dish Rice & Peas, and the dish is a Sunday tradition. This tradition goes back to the African slaves, who were brought to Jamaica to work on sugar plantations. They made this version of African Waakye with coconut milk and spices every Sunday, their one day free of work, and usually gathered together with family and neighbours to eat. Rice & Peas was always a feature.
Nutritious Beans & Rice
There are reasons why the combo of beans & rice is so common and popular worldwide. First, it's a highly nutritious combo. Rice & Beans are high in protein, fibre, and minerals, including iron & potassium. Rice & beans together, make a complete, and, an economical protein. Secondly, beans & rice are staple foods around the world, because they are both easy to grow in so many climates. Finally, both beans, when dried, and rice, will keep for long periods after harvest and they don't require refrigeration.
Do You Need to Soak Beans Overnight?
For this recipe, I did soak the beans. Because this is a slow cooker recipe, I was concerned that the rice would be overcooked before the beans were fully cooked. However, you can cook beans straight from dry, it will simply mean a much longer cooking time. Check out this article for more info.
Slow Cooker Coconut Red Beans & Rice
- 1 cup dried kidney or red beans
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups coconut milk full fat, both water, and cream
- 1 lime juice of
- 3 scallions sliced, white and green parts separated
- ½ tsp thyme leaves
- ½ tsp ground ginger or, 1 2" piece of fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp allspice
- 1.5 cups long grain basmati rice rinsed
- ½ tsp coarse salt
- Sort beans and cover with water to soak overnight
- Drain beans and put into a large pot of fresh water
- Bring to a boil, and boil for 10-15 minutes.
- Drain, then add beans to the slow cooker, along with the stock, coconut milk, lime juice, rice, garlic, thyme, allspice, ginger, white parts of scallions, kosher salt, & red pepper flakes.
- Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours until rice is cooked, and beans are tender
- Serve hot, garnished with green parts of the scallion