These creamy New Orleans’ white beans are cooked in the traditional spicy style, only fat-free, vegan, and healthy.
Come on, tell me you’re tired of rich holiday food and are ready to settle down to some healthy–even homely–fare. I know I am.
I never thought there could be such a thing as too much dessert, but after stuffing myself on pumpkin cheesecake, cherry-chocolate mousse pie, and the downright obscene rum- and margarine-soaked bread pudding that’s my husband’s specialty, I’m ready to swear off of sugar for a year while. I don’t know about you, but I hate the sluggish way I feel whenever I’m overeating on foods that have too much fat and sugar.
So today I bring you a change from all the eye-candy (and actual candy) that you’ve probably been seeing on other blogs: New Orleans’ white beans and rice.
There are several tricks I could have employed to make this traditional Louisiana dish more photogenic, but then you wouldn’t have a real idea of how it’s supposed to look. In particular, I could have cooked the beans for less time to leave them intact, but intact beans are exactly what you don’t want when making New Orleans’ white beans (sometimes referred to as cream-style beans). You want some of the beans to hold together just enough so that they’re recognizable as beans but others to fall apart enough to create a thick, creamy sauce around the recognizable beans.
It’s a delicate balance that in bygone days took hours of simmering on the stove, but thanks to a couple of my favorite kitchen tools, the pressure cooker and the immersion blender, I can make creamy, flavorful beans in about an hour. And so can you!
Now, get out that new pressure cooker you got for Christmas and cook some beans! (Regular stove-top pot instruction are at the end of the recipe.)
New Orleans' Style White Beans
- 1 pound great northern beans dried
- 1 medium onion
- 2 ribs celery
- 1 small green bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari or soy-free coconut aminos)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco or to taste
- hickory smoked salt optional, but good, to taste
- Soak the beans overnight. (Or do a quick-soak by putting them into the pressure cooker with enough water to cover them by three inches. Bring to high pressure and cook for 1 minute. Allow pressure to come down naturally before opening the cooker.)
- Drain the soaking liquid. Put the beans into the pressure cooker with 5 cups water and start heating, uncovered (use the Saute or Brown setting on electric cookers).
- Meanwhile, chop all vegetables fine, by hand or in a food processor. As you chop each one, add it to the pressure cooker. Add remaining ingredients except Tabasco and hickory smoked salt. Check water level in cooker and add another cup if there isn’t sufficient water to cover all ingredients by 1 inch.
- Seal the pressure cooker and set the timer for 12 minutes (electric) or bring to high pressure and cook for 12 minutes once pressure is reached. Remove from heat (or turn off electric cooker) and allow pressure to come down naturally.
- If pressure is not down in 20 minutes, quick-release the pressure. Check beans for doneness. They should be tender, and most should be starting to fall apart. If your beans are still tough, return them to high pressure for a few minutes. If beans are tender, add Tabasco and smoked salt and cook uncovered until liquid reduces and the cooking water starts to become more like a sauce.(Use the Saute or Brown function in electric cookers, on low, if possible.) Stir often to make sure they are not burning on the bottom and to incorporate any dried beans on the sides of the pot. After about 20 minutes, if the liquid still seems watery rather than creamy, you can take an immersion blender and blend part of the beans (be sure to remove bay leaves first).
- Add additional salt to taste. Serve over hot rice with hot sauce on the table.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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DeniseCJanuary 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm
Have you tried liquid smoke instead of hickory smoked salt? I always have hickory and mesquite varieties on hand and avoid the possibility of too much salt that way. Liquid smoke can usually be found in the spice and/or condiment sections of groceries/supermarkets. Two brands I know of are Wrights and Colmans (I use Wrghts).
You might try soaking beans (and all seeds to be eaten) with an added acid (like lemon or lime juice, vinegar, ascorbic acid or acidic cultured liquid, like kombucha or water kefir), about a tablespoon per cup of water. While soaking with just water helps deactivate the enzyme inhibitor and active the enzymes, the acid helps break phytic acid from binding minerals (and leaching minerals from other foods being eaten at the same time). You can read more about it here: http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2010/08/the-importance-of-soaking-nuts-grains-and-legumes/ .
JessicaJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:37 am
I made this soup last night and it was amazing. My kids (3 of them) each had two helpings! Thanks for the recipe!
philocratesJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm
This one is a keeper for us. It was excellent. Easy enough to convert into a ‘New Orleans’ Soup. I simply put the rice [wild rice and brown rice or grain mix] in the soup. And when I feel like it toss in some diced tomatoes. Suits after another …. snowstorm. It also let me try out my Russell Hobbs electric pressure cooker. Loved it. From dry beans to hot soup in 45 minutes. I did lose all the salt except the Braggs. I used smoked pepper instead of smoked salt. Suits this recipe much better.
shalottJanuary 30, 2011 at 9:52 am
These were so savory and delicious. Whole family loved these. I’m about to make them again and I’m mad at myself for not soaking the beans last night. This time Ill double the recipe. Thanks for a great recipe
PamelaFebruary 7, 2011 at 9:40 am
so I have been eying this recipe for awhile now, I don’t have a pressure cooker but read below that you could use a crock pot. So I did yesterday, I loved it!!!! I served it over brown rice with a side of collard greens. My partner who is the most finicky eater I have ever known and usually is never down for vegan foods even liked it! It was so good that I decided that it should be my breakfast this morning as well. I am not a fan of traditional breakfast foods and prefer more savory foods in the morning. I am full I feel good and boy did it taste great!
Linda MeziereFebruary 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm
Made this for dinner today in a regular pot and LOVED it! Thanks.
AnnaFebruary 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm
This recipe inspired me to get out the pressure cooker I got – not last Christmas – but the one before. I admit I had been scared to use it – I still am a little, but now that I’ve used it safely once, hopefully I’ll get over it. The soup is bubbling away on the stove now and I’m having a hard time not eating some before it’s finished – it tastes pretty delicious so far. This is a wonderful blog – I found you the other day looking for a vegan cookie recipe – I just finished reading the book Eating Animals (by James Safran Foer) which makes a pretty compelling argument for not eating them – so here I am – looking forward to trying many more of your delicious looking recipes – thanks Susan!
stevenukasFebruary 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm
this is really delicious. The only thing I would add is black pepper,I like it a little more spicy.
CindyFebruary 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm
I just made these lovely beans. I am at the end of the recipe. Do I really add a whole tablespoon of Tabasco? That’s seems like a lot!! I have put 1/2 tsp. in the beans, along with 1 tsp. of liquid smoke. Do I dare put any more Tabasco or was that a misprint?
SusanVFebruary 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm
Cindy, just do it to taste. If the beans taste good to you, don’t risk adding too much. I tend to like things hot, so 1 tablespoon might be too much to you.
Get Skinny, Go Vegan.February 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm
Don’t ya just love the new pressure cookers?? I was also afraid of them growing up, but now with the super nuevo type, they are so much more approachable. I make dog food (organic rice, beans, veggies) in ours everyday. Of course I have made hundreds of soups also & just love being able to make something from “nothing” so quickly. Actually reminds me, I need to replace a tiny steam guard in ours now!!
Love these Mardi Gras posts…..St. Louis has a huge drunken fest (not a real pretty sight) each year, and it’s nice to know that if I ever host a Mardi Gras event, that I will have a great resource for recipes!
Get Skinny, Go Vegan.March 1, 2011 at 7:01 am
What type of pressure cooker do you use??
To anyone who is “afraid” of pressure cookers, they make awesome “new” ones that don’t “open” when they have pressure!!
SusanVMarch 1, 2011 at 7:33 am
I mainly use a Fagor 3-in-1 electric pressure cooker now because it’s even easier than my stove-top cooker, which is a Kuhn Rikon. They’re both extremely safe!
Banjo13March 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Susan, I love this recipe. I made it last week. I want to eat it everyday. I’m new to your website but there are so many recipes I want to make already. Thank you!
Christopher KandratMarch 22, 2011 at 9:50 am
Made it recently, and it was very good! Thank you.
c@August 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm
Question: Aside from cost and sodium, is there a reason to only use dried beans instead of canned? I do use dried beans when I have time; but when I’m really hungry and just need to get something to eat, should I not eat canned beans?
SusanVAugust 18, 2011 at 8:56 pm
No, it’s just that this particular recipe is written for dried beans. To change it to canned beans would take several changes to ingredients and directions, and the results just wouldn’t be the same.
KumquatSeptember 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm
I tried this recipe tonight with my shiny new pressure cooker with a few subs. I had soaked lima beans on hand, so used those instead of northern. Omitted garlic and hot sauce (due to allergies), used more pepper and added in several hefty dashes of liquid smoke. Turned out great! I was so excited to get a pressure cooker for the short work it makes of cooking beans and this recipe proved it. Thanks for a great first run!
ColoradomtnmammaDecember 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm
Made this today in my crock pot. Delicious over rice with a good bread. Kids liked it with olive oil for dipping bread. Took only 8 hours in the pot.
KurtDecember 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm
Just made this tonight… and wow it was good. It even went over great with my, usually quite finicky, 4 year old.
I did substitute a few taps of chipotle chili powder for the hickory salt (which I don’t have)… it did quite well to add both heat and smoke to the dish.
caterinaFebruary 11, 2012 at 9:02 am
I’m totally making this tonight! Could I use black pepper instead of white, which I don’t have?
Susan VoisinFebruary 11, 2012 at 9:30 am
Sure, just add it to taste because white pepper is hotter than black. Hope you enjoy!
caterinaFebruary 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm
I just made it and it is delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe!!
LfletcheDecember 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm
My very first recipe ever made with an electric pressure cooker! What a challenge! The end result was well worth the frustration. I learned a lot and it will be so much easier next time. So glad it turned it OK. It was my learning curve that caused me issues, not the recipe! Good thing I had a good recipe and good instructions to work with. Thank you!
Susan VoisinDecember 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm
I’m sorry it was frustrating but glad it worked out in the end. Was the problem with the pressure cooker’s instructions or mine? It would help me to know so that I can make my instructions easier to follow for first-time PC users.
OrthohawkDecember 13, 2012 at 11:48 am
I had some white beans from our local Amish grocery store in my pantry (CHEAP!) and looked for navy bean recipes and found this. Was wondering, have you ever made this with other types of beans? My favorites are kidney beans (the 10-minute boil and 2 hour soak method takes care of both the phytohemoglutanin problem and the gas problem……beans seem to be less gassy (to me anyway) with the boil and soak method), and i’m sure black beans would be great as well.
OrthohawkDecember 21, 2012 at 11:29 am
I don’t know if it’s the temp at which my crock pot cooks, but it took about 18 hours on low when I made this to get to the “cream style.” I just used the boil and soak method the evening before and put them in right before I went to bed. By 6 the next evening they were perfect. One caveat, though: Don’t add the salt or soy sauce till they’ve been cooking for least 12 hours! They don’t break down otherwise.
I also have made this recipe with red kidney beans (boil for at least 10 minutes in the boil and soak phase!) and also black beans; both were fantastic! I also used smoked paprika instead of the hickory salt. This is my new default bean recipe!
ElizabethDecember 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm
I made this recipe tonight and all I can say is WOW!! The taste and texture of the beans were wonderful – very creamy and satisfying. My 15 month-old daughter loved it, as did my husband & I. I have to admit that I did add some cooked sausage I had (for the carnivore husband). Next time I will try it without any meat and I think I’ll reduce the salt a little. Thanks for a great recipe!!
John BjoJanuary 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm
This looks great! Where can I get more bean recipes similar to this with pressure cooker instructions?
MelissaAugust 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm
I loved this despite longer cooking time I think my beans were just stubborn lol did about an hour or so then just cooked it down more not under pressure after adding hot sauce.
AngelaAugust 28, 2013 at 11:05 am
These are amazing! The whole family is just crazy for them. Mmmmmmmm!
moonwatcherMarch 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm
Did you know Moscow Idaho celebrates Mardi Gras, complete with beads and a parade? Many people also dress up, lots of them in black and white. The community radio station is having a fundraising dinner tonight, as they do every year around Mardi Gras, with a Cajun theme. So even up here in the frozen north, we get into the spirit.
I forgot about it so completely today that I wondered what the “racket” was when I heard the parade starting up just a few blocks from my house. Too cold to go down and stand out there today, but never fear. My Mardi Gras “reflex” had kicked in all on its own–I soaked white beans yesterday to make this recipe!!
However, like so many things I do, I did it the slow way–and backwards–and they still came out great. No pressure cooker, so I was going to do them in the pot. Then I realized I wanted to have some plain beans to put in Romeo’s food. So I cooked all the beans in a extra water, and spooned some out just plain for him. When we got back from our walk, I chopped up onion, bell pepper and celery nice and small and sauteed them in a pan with all the seasonings. Then I dumped them in the pot with the beans and let them heat up. Then I took out about a cup of this mixture and whirred it up in the food processor. Then I stirred it back in and let it all simmer together on really low heat. I didn’t have tabasco so I used some Cajun garlic sauce and smoked paprika instead. I ‘ve got a nice pot of New Orleans style white beans–backward and in slow motion–to warm me up during our new cold snap. Happy Mardi Gras!!
KristinApril 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm
Maria, I didn’t know about the Mardi Gras festivities in Moscow. Interesting! As for slow and backward, I’ve done this recipe in the crock pot, on the stove, and in the pressure cooker, and it comes out great every single time. Each is a little different, but they all make the house smell good and taste great!
MaryMarch 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm
Just wanted to say, I love so many of your recipes, but this has got to be the best bean soup in the world! I swear I think I could live off this!!! Bless You for all your wonderful recipes but special blessings for this one!!!
KristinApril 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm
So, I made two batches of this over the past weekend, and had some left in the fridge today. I also had a half a box of whole wheat pasta and some random veggies that needed to be used up. I cooked the veggies (onion, mushrooms, broccoli, shredded brussels sprouts, some collard greens that were looking a little tired, and some asparagus) with some cajun seasoning, then tossed in the pasta and my leftover N.O. Style White Beans along with a little of the pasta cooking water.
As if we didn’t already love this recipe enough, now it’s pasta sauce, too!
KellNovember 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm
WOW! Finally a vegan chef that’s nailed it. I gorged on this till I was sick. Thanks for sharing. Now… back to the store so I can make some more!
VegmammaDecember 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm
Susan – I DID get an Instant Pot for Christmas (well a couple weeks early because I just could’t wait!). I too was afraid of a pressure cooker — I remember my Mom making me get out of the kitchen when she used her old 1960’s era stove top pot. I’ve made several soups, stews, chilis, and of course, steel cut oats and rice. Thanks for another wonderful sounding recipe! We will definitely try it in the New Year.
Ela RandDecember 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm
Oops, couldn’t find the “Recipe Box” icon fir this one. Did I miss it?
Susan VoisinDecember 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm
There should be a Add the Recipe Box link near the top of the post, right under the title and author lines. If you are on a phone, it’s possible that it’s not showing up because of limitations of the mobile view.
ConnieDecember 28, 2014 at 6:56 am
It’s 7:53 and I already have my supper main dish planned – thank you! BTW, you have such interesting and beautiful serving dishes. Do you buy single pieces that you really like, or have full sets of each? I love your site!
Susan VoisinDecember 28, 2014 at 8:31 am
I just buy one or two pieces of the dishes I like; otherwise, I wouldn’t have room for them all. Thanks for noticing!
SaraHassanDecember 31, 2014 at 6:13 am
This is an excellent recipe! I made it on the stove and served it over rice and cooked kale. A match made in heaven. Thank you for another fantastic recipe. Happy New Year!
KarenMarch 21, 2015 at 12:52 am
I just discovered this recipe a few weeks ago and I’m addicted to it! It’s going to become a staple in my house now. Thanks so much!
SkyyeJune 21, 2015 at 11:53 am
Thanks for the recipe! I’m looking for healthy recipes and haven’t ever cooked with white beans. This is a good start!
TMWApril 11, 2016 at 1:18 am
I used this recipe to make baby butter (lima) beans with ham and bacon. They were so yummy and creamy! At the end, I added a quarter cup of blonde butter roux (brown butter, add equal amounts of flour cooked to a very light brown) I had premade, which made it even thicker and creamier. Can’t believe I didn’t use my electric pressure cooker to make butter beans until now… from now on it will be the ONLY way I make them… thanks!
TMWApril 11, 2016 at 1:21 am
Sorry, didn’t realize this was a vegan site until after I wrote my comments, hope I didn’t offend anyone, but at least you know the recipe works with or without meats…
CarolineDecember 28, 2016 at 9:20 pm
This recipe has been in heavy rotation for years now, and it’s just perfect: flavorful, easy, and so incredibly delicious. I make it in my crockpot, and I love that it requires maybe 5 minutes of work in the morning and I come home to amazing, simple dinner.
Thank you for your recipes! I love everything I’ve tried.
ElaineJanuary 4, 2017 at 3:09 pm
Hi Susan! Thanks for this recipe. I pre-soaked Navy beans for one minute on high in my Instant Pot and let them cool down naturally. They appear to be totally ready to eat, nice and soft. I am worried that if I add the veggies and pressure for 12 minutes I’ll have mush. Suggestions?
Elaine in New Mexico
Susan VoisinJanuary 4, 2017 at 4:50 pm
I would just cook the veggies and add them to the beans and heat gently–no pressure.