A Dozen Cousins’ Limited-Edition Creole Red Beans Pay Homage to a Staple of Louisiana Cuisine
Rice and beans are a staple in cuisines across the globe, but Louisiana’s rendition will always have my heart. Red beans — when slow-cooked with spices, onions, and bell peppers, and served over a fluffy bed of rice — are everything I look for in comfort food. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to taste the limited-edition Creole Red Beans from A Dozen Cousins, which just launched today, February 10.
The brand was founded by CEO Ibraheem Basir, who grew up eating a mix of Creole, American Southern, Caribbean, and Latin foods at home. And while the limited-edition red bean variety launched in honor of Black History Month, it is also a nod to Basir’s mom, whose red beans and rice were a staple of his childhood.
“As a kid, it always felt like a special treat when [my mom] learned a new dish,” Basir says. “After a certain point, our dinner table started to look like a reflection of our neighborhood. To this day, our family gatherings have everything including black-eyed peas, yellow rice, jerk chicken, and empanadas.”
Slow-cooked red beans are a critical part of New Orleans cuisine. Legendary jazz artist and famous New Orleanian Louis Armstrong was even known to sign letters “Red beans and ricely yours,” so it’s safe to say the red beans and rice love runs deep in The Big Easy.
A Dozen Cousins’ choice to highlight this iconic New Orleans dish during Black History Month underscores the brands’ intimate understanding of the diversity that exists within Black American culture and the greater African diaspora.
“Creole red beans have roots in African, French, and Spanish cuisine,” Basir says. “But the dish that we enjoy today is the very unique product of Louisiana, and it plays a huge part in the culture and cuisine throughout the South.”
The mission of A Dozen Cousins has always been to create vegan, gluten-free, and nutrient-dense foods. Their goal to make it easier for families to eat well is bolstered by the company’s annual grant, awarded to nonprofit organizations helping to eliminate socioeconomic health disparities. The Creole Red Beans pouch is just the latest in their line of “soulfully seasoned” beans. They come in microwavable packs that take just a minute to cook, but can also be heated up on the stove.
I got my hands on a pouch and chose to go with the stovetop method to mimic the from-scratch bean recipes I grew up eating. While that increased the cooking time a bit, the beans quickly filled my kitchen with the scent of the spices. The aroma of the peppers is at the forefront, but it’s quickly joined by the scent of onions and garlic, the base for any good pot of beans.
Despite their shelf-stable packaging, the integrity of the beans holds up, giving way to meaty, not mushy, beans when warmed. And while I’m accustomed to red beans cooked with some meat — or with a spoonful of bacon grease, at the very least — these had good flavor. Because they’re marked mild, the Creole Red Beans are fit for a range of palates, and would mix well with a few dashes of hot sauce for those who like more heat.
“Pound for pound, beans are some of the healthiest foods on the planet, but they also taste amazing when you season them well,” Basir explains. “One of our hopes is that by making it easier to eat beans we can potentially knock some less healthful options off of people’s plate.”
What’s your favorite style of beans?