It’s been great to see the people of New Orleans rally and host Mardi Gras. You can watch live webcasts by clicking here. The festivities continue through Tuesday.

I’ve visited “The Big Easy” three times, and you can’t leave without dining on a Southern classic: Red Beans & Rice. When shopping for organic food, rice is a nutritional best bet because it contains only 100 calories per half-cup serving, is cholesterol- and sodium-free, has only a trace of fat, is a complex carbohydrate and is easy to digest. Organic beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber, so this dish has the whole package.

Red Beans & Rice
Makes 6 servings

2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
3/4 lb. fully cooked Kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained
3 cups hot cooked rice
Hot pepper sauce

Combine onions, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, sausage and beans in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Serve rice over beans. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of the USA Rice Federation