Red beans and coconut rice

22 Jun

Last week, I got fancy and made gingery scallops for dinner. One of the ingredients in that recipe was coconut milk. There was just one problem–the recipe called for only 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. Since it’s sold by the can, I was left with a whole lot of coconut milk.  That’s where this recipe came into play.

I found this recipe on Cheap Cooking last year and have made it a few times but each time, my husband was not pleased. He said it felt like it was lacking something. So, not wanting to waste the coconut milk, and because I had all of the other ingredients on hand, we came to a compromise. I would eat it as a main dish and I would cook some chicken for him; the red beans and rice would be a side. And guess what? It worked! I think it had something to do with the cayenne pepper I added at the last minute. The cayenne pepper definitely gave the dish a different flavor (different in a good way, though). It was so good even my daughter ate it!

What I like most about this recipe is not that it’s inexpensive or that it has really simple ingredients or that it makes enough leftovers for 2 lunches. What I like about it the most is how ridiculously easy it is to make. Even if you’re just learning to cook, you can make this recipe.

Red Beans and Coconut Rice (adapted from


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 2 15 oz. cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)


Cook rice according to directions

While rice is cooking, chop onion and garlic

Heat the oil in a large pot

Cook the onion until soft

Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes

Add everything else and bring to a simmer

Cook about 15 minutes, letting the rice absorb most of the coconut milk

Serve immediately

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. It simple but sometimes those are the best meals. All of the ingredients can be found in a standard supermarket; if you’re unsure of where to find coconut milk, check the Asian foods section. That’s where I usually find it. You should be able to make this meal for about $6 and it makes approximately 6 1-cup servings. That’s $1 a person…you can’t beat that!


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