Vegan Charleston Red Rice

Vegan Charleston Red Rice is a South Carolina favorite made from rice, plant-based sausages, and tomato sauce. It’s one of the most beloved comfort meals from the Gullah Geechee culture.

Red rice in a blue dutch oven.

This meatless Southern Red Rice recipe is the perfect balance between sweet and savory. The acidity of the tomato sauce works great with the sweetness from the brown sugar.

Like Hoppin’ John and Collard Greens, the smokiness from the vegan sausages also elevates the dish to an entirely new level.

This rice dish was created by Gullah people from the West Coast of Africa. The origins can be traced back to the African Jollof, which has long grain rice, tomato sauce, onions, and meat.

Ingredient Notes

Recipe ingredients on a tray.

  • Carolina Gold Rice – The most authentic rice for this dish. It is the type of rice that would have been used in the antebellum period when this dish was invented. 

    This rice remains dry after being cooked while staying fluffy. Parboiled rice also works well for this recipe. 

    I’ve also made the dish using long-grain rice. Although it was still tasty, it cooked to a softer consistency than Carolina Gold. I would recommend using 2 cups (120ml) of vegetable stock instead.
  • Olive oil – I used olive oil, but a neutral oil such as canola oil or vegetable oil also works. 
  • Vegan sausages – Adds a smoky flavor and an extra meaty bite to the dish. My favorite vegan sausages are Beyond Sausage Brats (original flavor). Add vegan bacon for a smokier flavor and texture.
  • Brown sugar – To contrast the acidity of the tomato paste and the spice of the red pepper flakes.
    Brown sugar also has a molasses flavor that will add to the depth of the dish. Granulated cane sugar is a good substitute.
  • Tomato paste – Puts the red in ‘Gullah Red Rice’ while adding acidity and taste to the dish.
  • Smoked paprika  – adds more smoky flavor to the dish along. If you decide not to add plant-based meat, add extra paprika. 
  • Red pepper flakes – Add more red pepper flakes for a hot and spicy flavor.
Red rice in a blue dutch oven.

How To Make Vegan Charleston Red Rice

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. Wash the rice in a large bowl filled with water. Stir the rice in the water to release the starches, then drain thoroughly. Repeat 2 or 3 more times until the water is clear.

Four steps showing how to wash rice.

3. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the vegan sausages and cook until they start to brown.

4. Toss in the onion and continue cooking until browned.

Sausage and onions cooking in a dutch oven.

5. Add the garlic, bell pepper, sugar, paprika and pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, then stir in the tomato paste.

Vegetables and spices cooking in a dutch oven.

6. Add the vegetable stock and allow it to simmer for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

7. Stir in the washed and drained rice and bring to a simmer. 

Simmering stock and rice being added to the tomato base.

8. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, then the lid. Place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Tip: If you don’t have an oven-safe pot, add the rice and sauce to a 9″ by 11″ casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake as directed.

9. Remove the pot from the oven and test the rice for doneness. Then allow it to rest while covered for 20 minutes. The steam will continue to cook the rice.

Blue dutch oven showing the finished rice dish.

10. Fluff the rice with a fork, then serve.

Red rice in a blue dutch oven.

Storage Suggestions

After the dish has cooled off, store the leftovers in a food storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

This dish can be made ahead of time and frozen in a freezer-safe food storage container for up to 3 months.
Just make sure to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating the leftovers.   

How to Reheat

Microwave: Take the leftovers out of the fridge, place them in a microwave-safe dish, and add a splash of water. Reheat on “High” for 1 to 2 minutes.

Oven: Take the leftovers from the fridge and empty them into an oven-safe baking dish or casserole dish. Use a fork to break up any clumps of rice.

Add a small splash of water, place a lid or aluminum foil over the dish and bake it at 300°F for about 20 minutes. Make sure the rice is hot and enjoy.

More Southern-style Vegan Recipes

Vegan charleston red rice cooked in a blue dutch oven.

Vegan Charleston Red Rice

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 52 minutes
Total: 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 349kcal
Print Pin Rate
This meatless Charleston Red Rice is a South Carolina favorite made from rice, vegan sausages, and tomato sauce. This dish is one of the most beloved comfort meals from the Gullah Geechee culture. 

Baking Recipes: For more accuracy, use Metric measurements and measuring spoons.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (400 g) Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice, or Carolina Plantation Gold Rice or parboiled rice (see Notes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large (400 g) vegan sausages, sliced (I used Beyond Meat Brats – 14oz)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tbsp light brown sugar
  • 12 oz (340 g) tomato paste, (or two 6 oz cans)
  • 2 ½ cups (600 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • Fresh parsley or thyme for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  • Wash the rice in a large bowl filled with water. Stir the rice in the water to release the starches then drain completely. Repeat 2 or 3 more times until the water is clear.
    2 cups (400 g) Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice
  • Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the vegan sausages and cook until they start to brown.
    2 tbsp olive oil ,4 large (400 g) vegan sausages
  • Toss in the onion and continue cooking until browned.
    1 large onion
  • Add the garlic, bell pepper, sugar, paprika and pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, then stir in the tomato paste.
    1 large green bell pepper ,3 cloves garlic ,1 ½ tbsp light brown sugar ,1 teaspoon smoked paprika ,½ teaspoon red pepper flakes ,12 oz (340 g) tomato paste
  • Add the vegetable stock and allow it to simmer for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    2 ½ cups (600 ml) vegetable stock ,1 teaspoon salt ,½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Stir in the washed and drained rice and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover the pot with aluminum foil, then the lid. Place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  • Remove the pot from the oven and test the rice for doneness. Then allow it to rest while covered for 20 minutes. The steam will continue to cook the rice.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork then serve.
    Fresh parsley or thyme for garnish

Notes

Tried this recipe? Upload a photo in the comments below!If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a rating. It really helps the blog.

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1236mg | Potassium: 754mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1404IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




The maximum upload file size: 3 MB. You can upload: image. Drop file here

4 Comments

  1. Korbinian says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Beyond sausage isn’t really available where I live but another vegan sausage worked just as well. Might try it with soy curls next time.

  2. 5 stars
    My partner and I made this today and we were both blown away by how well it turned out, it’s incredibly delicious! Unfortunately, it seems to be basically impossible to find Carolina Gold Rice where we live, so we ended up using Mahatma Paella parboiled medium grain rice. It took about 10 extra minutes in the oven for it to cook all the way through, but the end result was perfect. I was also a bit skeptical at first of the Beyond sausages in this dish, but they ended up being the star of the dish! The recipe is really quite simple, cheap, hearty, delicious, and easy to follow. You really knocked this one out of the park. Will definitely be making again in the future!

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback Joel and for sharing your modification. I appreciate it!