Kardea Brown’s Red Rice Recipe

published Feb 7, 2023
Red Rice Recipe
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Credit: Sully Sullivan

Red rice is one of the most iconic Gullah dishes out there. Many cultures have that one flavorful rice dish that’s meant to feed (and please!) a large crowd, and this red rice from Kardea Brown is no exception. Rice in particular has an important history in Gullah cuisine, as it was a crop that enslaved people from Sierra Leone, Angola, and other West African nations were experienced in cultivating.

The rice turns a bright-red shade from tomato paste and takes on a nice, smoky flavor from the sausage. Plus, the perfect combination of water, tomato sauce, and parboiled rice makes for the most amazing texture. 

Red Rice Recipe

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 2 cups

    parboiled rice

  • 1/4 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 8 ounces

    smoked pork sausage, finely diced

  • 1

    large onion, finely diced

  • 1

    green bell pepper, finely diced

  • 2 (6-ounce) cans

    tomato paste

  • 4 teaspoons


  • 1 tablespoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  1. Rinse the rice until the water runs slightly clear. (This removes the starch.)

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften and start to brown at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir the rice into the tomato mixture and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

  3. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch or 3-quart baking dish and spread into an even layer. Add just enough water to cover the rice (about 2 cups). Tightly cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, fluff the rice, cover again, and return to the oven for 10 minutes more.

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from THE WAY HOME by Kardea Brown. Copyright 2022. Amistad/HarperCollins