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The traditional version of Dirty Rice and Beans, a Southern side dish, uses a ground meat like chicken liver or gizzards. This version uses mushrooms for a cleaned-up version with lots of great flavor and nutrition. The addition of red beans unites the two dishes to create a balanced protein with holiday flair for a vegetarian/vegan entrée.

 Southerners love okra, although it’s often deep fried. Okra is rich in calcium, insoluble fiber, as well as vitamin B6 and folate. If preferred, may substitute green beans.

 Create an individual vegetarian entrée by cutting a butternut squash in half, remove the seeds and pre bake at 200-degrees C for 30 minutes, then fill with Christmas Rice & Beans and bake until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

SERVES: 8-10


  • 3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
  • 2 cups minced mushrooms: shitake, crimini, Portobello or combination (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 cups minced yellow onions (1 large onion)
  • 1 cup minced celery stalks
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped (original recipe calls for corn)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen okra, chopped (may substitute cut green beans, fresh or frozen or celery)
  • 1/2 lime or lemon cut into quarters (only for use with okra)
  • 2 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
  • 1 cup long grain rice (Jasmine or Basmati)
  • 1-15-ounce can red kidney beans or aduki/adzuki beads, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • To serve: hot sauce


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or large skillet, over medium heat. Add garlic and cayenne pepper, stir and cook without browning for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes until softened.


  1. Add celery, red bell pepper, thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 15 minutes until vegetables are slightly colored.


  1. While vegetables are cooking in a separate pot, bring vegetable broth to a boil and add rice. Turn heat to very low, cover pan and cook for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir, keep covered and set aside.


  1. In a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat; add okra and lime pieces and sauté for 5-7 minutes until tender. Frozen okra cooks faster than raw. Cooking okra with lime, separate from other vegetables reduces the slippery liquid that okra releases when cooked.


  1. Add cooked rice, okra and beans to cooked vegetables and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes to re-warm all ingredients, stirring frequently. Serve warm with chopped fresh parsley and pass the hot sauce.

Sueson Vess is a professional chef, author/food writer and educator helping people eat healthier, especially those with food intolerances and others with chronic illnesses. She is passionate about nutrition and helping others achieve and maintain a “good for your health” lifestyle. There are always delicious, helpful and healthy solutions! Her focus is on “Foods with Benefits” – learning to increase delicious beneficial foods in your daily life. Sueson makes bone broth at Nature’s Own in North Carolina, and teaches cooking classes at FirstHeath and Duke Cancer Center. She is a regular contributing writer for Sandhills Naturally and Gluten-Free & More publications.

Robyn Puglia

My mission in life is to share my knowledge in order to help people heal. I love to unravel the health stories and the biochemistry to get to the heart of the problem, and to help support nutritional and lifestyle changes that have the ability to transform people’s health. I have seen incredible changes in the health of my clients, and I hope to do the same for you.

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