Blue Potatoes, Rio Zape Beans and Rice

Are you feeling the blues? Or just listening to the blues while cocooning at home? In these uncertain times, we need pantry-friendly recipes. Having a well-stocked pantry and fridge is like money in the bank. I tend to have a fully stocked refrigerator anyway because of weekly recipe development and photoshoots, but I am used to running out to the store on a moment's notice for last-minute ingredients. That has changed in the foreseeable future. With basic supplies on hand, you'll be prepared to put together a delicious meal with staples on hand.

Red beans and rice is a classic Cajun dish. I’ve adapted this classic entrée with more southwest flavors. The base is a classic mirepoix. The mirepoix can be doubled or tripled, then frozen for future soup recipes. Instead of andouille sausage, I’m using some of our purple yam bacon from last week's post for smokiness. Feel free to substitute Upton's vegan bacon for homemade.

Blue Potatoes, Rio Zape Beans and Rice

Make the beans – Rinse the beans in a mesh strainer with cool water and check for any debris. In a medium saucepan, add the beans, bay leaf, celery, and carrot. Add water, covering the beans with a couple of inches of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for one to 1½ hours until the beans are tender, adding extra hot water as necessary. Remove the bay leaf, celery, and carrot. Strain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Keep warm.

Make the seasoning – In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the chopped carrot, celery, shallot and garlic for 7 minutes until tender. Add the chopped vegan bacon, if using and cook until the bacon is crisp. Add the brown sugar, bourbon, paprika, liquid smoke, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant.

Add the drained beans to the seasoning mix, stirring to combine. Add the vegetable broth and the cooking liquid and simmer until the sauce thickens. Keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 375˚

Line a 12” x 18” rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Roast the vegetables – Place the small blue potatoes on the tray and bake for 10 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and cut sausages to the pan and roast for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

To serve – Pour the beans in a large flat serving bowl. Top with the oven-roasted vegetables. Garnish with scallions. Serve with white rice and jalapeño hot sauce.

serves 4-6


  • 8 oz Rio Zape beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium peeled carrot 
  • 4-6 cups filtered water


  • 2 tbsp Miyoko’s Creamery vegan butter
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 slices vegan bacon, chopped, optional
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid


  • 8 small blue potatoes, cut into ¼” slices
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 Field Roast chipotle sausages, cut into thick diagonal slices


Cooked white rice

Thinly sliced scallions

Mexican jalapeño hot sauce I prefer Poblano brand