How many calories in a large bowl of red beans and rice?

Quick Answer

A large bowl of red beans and rice can contain around 1000-1200 calories, depending on the exact ingredients and portion size. A typical large bowl with 1 cup of cooked rice and 1 cup of red beans will have around 600-800 calories. Adding sausage or other proteins and seasonings can increase the calorie count. Overall, the calorie content will vary based on the specific recipe.

Calories in Rice

Rice is a high calorie food, providing a significant amount of calories in a serving. Here is the calorie breakdown for different types of rice:

Rice Type Calories per 1 Cup Cooked
White Rice 205 calories
Brown Rice 215 calories
Jasmine Rice 205 calories
Basmati Rice 205 calories

As you can see, a cup of cooked white or brown rice contains around 200 calories. Jasmine and basmati rice have a similar calorie count. So in a large bowl with 1 cup of rice, you can expect around 200 calories just from the rice alone.

Calories in Red Beans

Red beans are also relatively high in calories. Here are the calories for 1 cup of red beans:

Red Beans Calories per 1 Cup
Canned 225 calories
Cooked from Dry 230 calories

A cup of cooked red beans contains around 230 calories. So in a large bowl with 1 cup of beans, you get approximately 230 calories just from the beans.

Calories in Other Common Ingredients

Red beans and rice dishes often contain other ingredients like sausage, vegetables, and seasonings. Here are the calories for some common additions:

Ingredient Calories
Andouille sausage, 3 oz 245 calories
Chicken sausage, 3 oz 180 calories
Bell pepper, 1/2 cup 20 calories
Onion, 1/2 cup 40 calories
Celery, 1/2 cup 10 calories
Garlic, 1 clove 5 calories
Olive oil, 1 Tbsp 120 calories
Creole seasoning, 1 tsp 5 calories

As you can see, adding sausage can significantly increase the calories. A 3 oz serving of andouille sausage adds 245 calories. Smaller amounts of aromatics like onion, celery, and garlic add minimal calories. Oils and seasonings add some calories but not a significant amount.

Total Calories in a Large Bowl

Putting this all together, a large bowl of red beans and rice with typical portions may contain around the following calories:

Ingredient Amount Calories
White rice, cooked 1 cup 205 calories
Red kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 230 calories
Andouille sausage 3 oz 245 calories
Bell pepper 1/2 cup 20 calories
Onion 1/2 cup 40 calories
Celery 1/2 cup 10 calories
Garlic 1 clove 5 calories
Olive oil 1 Tbsp 120 calories
Creole seasoning 1 tsp 5 calories
Total Calories 870 calories

This comes out to around 870 calories for a hearty bowl with meat and vegetables. The calories can range based on the amounts of each ingredient. Using less oil or sausage would lower the total. Adding more rice or beans would increase it.

Overall, a typical large bowl of red beans and rice will contain around 600-1200 calories. Most home cooked versions fall in the 800-1000 calorie range when factoring in all the ingredients.

Ways to Reduce Calories

Here are some easy ways to lighten up red beans and rice and cut down on the calories:

– Use brown rice instead of white rice – brown rice contains more fiber and nutrients than white rice.

– Use less oil for cooking – try using just 1/2 tablespoon instead of 1 tablespoon to save 60 calories per tablespoon.

– Use leaner sausage or less sausage – chicken sausage has less fat and calories than pork sausage. Or use a small 2 oz portion to save 100+ calories.

– Load up on non-starchy veggies – add extra bell peppers, onions, celery, and other veggies to add volume with minimal calories.

– Use plenty of herbs and spices – flavor with Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, oregano and garlic instead of salt for maximum flavor without the calories.

– Skip added sugars – avoid mixing in ketchup, bbq sauce, or other sugary condiments.

– Use lower sodium versions – rinsing and draining canned beans reduces some of the sodium. Get low sodium stocks.

– Go easy on salty snacks – skip the chips, which can add at least 150 calories per serving.

With some simple substitutions and reductions, you can make a satisfying portion of red beans and rice while saving 200-300 calories or more.

Health Benefits of Red Beans and Rice

While high in calories, red beans and rice provide significant health benefits:

– Excellent plant-based protein – the beans supply around 15g protein per cup for muscle health.

– High fiber – the beans have 16g fiber per cup to support digestion and heart health. The brown rice adds 3g per cup.

– Rich in nutrients – red beans have high amounts of folate, potassium, iron and magnesium.

– May lower cholesterol – the fiber binds to cholesterol to help remove it from the body.

– Help control blood sugar – the fiber and protein helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes.

– Satisfying and filling – the fiber keeps you feeling full for hours after eating.

So while moderation is needed for calories, this dish can be part of a very healthy diet, especially when you load up on the beans and veggies and control portions. The high nutrient content provides great nourishment.

Tips for Portion Control

To keep your red beans and rice calories in check, be mindful of portion sizes. Here are some serving tips:

– Measure ingredient amounts using measuring cups instead of just spooning portions into the pot.

– Use a 16 oz bowl instead of oversized 20-22 oz bowls, which encourage overeating. Fill the bowl only halfway to control portions.

– Avoid “heaping” servings by leveling off rice and beans with the back of a spoon or spatula as you serve it.

– Weigh or measure cooked rice and beans to ensure you are sticking to 1 cup portions. It’s easy to underestimate volumes.

– Add lots of low calorie veggies and broth to help fill up the bowl without extra rice and beans.

– Skip second helpings and leftovers to limit excess calories. Or box up leftovers right away to avoid picking at it.

– Share a main dish or split an order when dining out. Most restaurant portions far exceed a single serving.

With a few simple practices, you can still enjoy satisfying bowls of red beans and rice while maintaining your calorie goals.

Low Calorie Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Here is a recipe for a lighter red beans and rice that comes in under 500 calories:


– 1⁄2 cup brown rice
– 1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 bell pepper, chopped
– 1⁄2 onion, chopped
– 2 celery stalks, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 3 oz chicken sausage, sliced
– 1 tsp olive oil
– 1 1⁄2 cups low sodium chicken broth
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
– Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

2. Add the chicken sausage and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.

3. Stir in the rice, beans, chicken broth, bay leaf and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is cooked through.

5. Remove bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts

– Calories: 468
– Total Fat: 9g
– Saturated Fat: 2g
– Sodium: 471mg
– Carbs: 77g
– Fiber: 12g
– Protein: 23g

This version uses just 1/2 cup rice, lots of veggies, and lean chicken sausage to create a meal under 500 calories per large bowl while keeping it full of flavor. The brown rice bumps up the fiber and nutrients.


A hearty bowl of red beans and rice can certainly deliver on calories with about 600-1200 calories per large serving. But you can make adjustments by using lean proteins, cutting back on oils, and loading up on low cal veggies and beans. Portion sizes make a difference as well. With some modifications, you can enjoy all the satisfying flavor of red beans and rice while still minding your daily calorie intake. Just be sure to keep beans and rice as a part of an overall healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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