Homemade Dirty Rice is a great quick and easy weeknight meal. And a cajun classic from southern Louisiana It is made with simple ingredients and if you happen to have some leftover rice in the fridge, is a great one pot meal!
“Food for us comes from our relatives, whether they have wings or fins or roots. That is how we consider food. Food has a culture. It has a history. It has a story. It has relationships.” – Winona LaDuke
Dirty rice makes a great weeknight dinner. You can easily prepare most of the dish while your rice cooks, and if you are using leftover rice, it takes less than half an hour to make! Serve on its own, or as a side.
But before we get any further I’d like to say a few things about what goes in dirty rice. Dirty rice or cajun rice as it is commonly called down south, is due to the dish’s history with the Acadian immigrants of Louisiana.
Traditional dirty rice is a dish made with Andouille sausage, colored or green bell peppers, onions, and cajun spices. Today though there are many variations of dirty rice, made with a large variety of things. including chicken livers and gizzards. (which some believe gave it a dirty color and thus it got its name.)
So feel free to add whatever you want to your own homemade dirty rice. You can swap out or add different vegetables to better suit your needs or use up whatever you have in the fridge.
Personally, I use kielbasa in this recipe but you can use any kind of meat you want, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and even shrimp all work great! You can even use chicken livers and gizzards if you happen to have those on hand. (hello to all my homesteader friends!)
You can also use a combination of different meats in your dirty rice as well.
Personally, I enjoy this dish for a number of reasons, it tastes great, and it’s quick and easy to throw together. And it’s as close to a dump-and-go supper as I get these days(with some added chopping of course).
It makes a great quick lunch or a super easy supper, for the days when no one feels like cooking. And it’s the perfect recipe for the times when someone who shall remain nameless forgot that supper was even a thing. We’ve all been there!
It makes a great main dish, but you can also serve dirty rice as a side dish. It can be added to quesadillas, or served as a great new addition to your Mexican night! This is my take on the classic cajun dish, it’s full of flavor, and doesn’t contain any organ meats. And can be whipped up in less than 30min.
How to make Homemade Dirty Rice
Personally, I use basmati rice. 2 cups dried rice with 4 cups of water or chicken broth. You can white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, long-grain rice, or even wild rice. OR you can use any kind of rice your like or whatever rice you happen to have leftover in the fridge. The goal is to have roughly 4 cups of cooked rice to add to the dish.
- Uncooked rice
- Chicken broth or water for cooking the rice(you can also use beef broth if you like)
- OR roughly 4 cups of leftover rice
- Chopped Onion
- Sliced Celery Stalks
- Black Beans
- Chopped Bell Pepper
- Cajun seasoning, homemade or store-bought.
Cook your rice according to the package instructions. If using leftover rice you can skip this step, just don’t forget to pull your rice out of the fridge, so it can warm up a little bit, before adding it.
Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven, add the onion and garlic, and saute until clear. Add the kielbasa and cook until everything is nicely browned about 10 min.
Then add the peppers and celery, and cook until tender.
Stir in the black beans and spices. Remove from the heat, then carefully stir in the rice until everything is well-mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Feel free to adjust the seasoning to your liking, for spicier rice add some cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper. Or more cajun seasoning. You can also sub creole seasoning.
You can use any kind of meat in this recipe. If you aren’t a fan of kielbasa feel free to use chicken, beef, turkey, smoked sausage, shrimp, or whatever meat you enjoy. Or leave the meat out altogether for a meatless meal or great side dish!
Leftover dirty rice can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. It can easily be reheated in a pan on the stovetop, just be sure to add a little water so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Homemade Dirty Rice(Cajun rice recipe)
- 2 cups uncooked rice
- water or chicken broth for cooking the rice
- OR 4 cups leftover rice
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 14oz kielbasa sliced
- 4 celery stalks sliced
- 1 14oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 bell peppers(red, yellow, or orange) chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning homemade or store-bought
- Cook your rice according to the package instructions. If using leftover rice you can skip this step, just don't forget to pull your rice out of the fridge, so it can warm up a little bit, before adding it.
- Melt in the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven, add the onion and garlic and saute until clear. Add the kielbasa and cook until everything is nicely browned about 10 min.
- Then add the peppers and celery, and cook until tender.
- Stir in the black beans and spices. Remove from the heat, then carefully stir in the rice until everything is well-mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.