Red beans, also known as kidney beans, are a good source of protein, help lower cholesterol and are high in fiber. Red beans are a staple ingredient in Southern cuisine and widely used in Mexican and Indian cuisine. As with most beans, they absorb spices and flavor and can be used in a variety of different dishes.
Beans and rice is a classic Southern cuisine dish that features red beans. The cooking methods and consistency may vary but the hot spices synonymous with Southern cooking are the same. Creole seasoning for red beans includes thyme, paprika, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, black and white pepper and cayenne pepper. The beans can be served over dirty rice or in a more liquid rice soup form.
Red beans are also very popular in Mexican cuisine. Typical spices used with red beans include cumin, cilantro and chili powder. Mexican red beans are served over rice, in a soup with vegetables and meat or blended to make a dip. You can also add bay leaves and black pepper to red beans or hot pepper flakes to make them spicy.
Red beans are the main ingredient in most traditional chili recipes. Red bean chili spices include cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, chili pepper, oregano and cumin. You can adjust the cayenne pepper or use hot chili pepper powders to make spicy chili. Many recipes also call for whole bay leaves to infuse extra flavor.
Indian cuisine uses red beans in many soups and stews. Curry red beans are served over rice and include turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin, garam marsala, cardamon and cinnamon. Red beans with the same spices are also mixed with kale or spinach to make a dish that is scooped up with bread. Kashmir regional red bean recipes add ginger, fennel seed and paprika to the spice recipe.