Vivian Peterson's red rice

Provided (Karin Monique)

Vivian Peterson has only been making red rice for about 13 years, but the recipe is much older.

“(It was) passed down from my grandmother and mother, who are from the Sea Islands,” Peterson says. “I like red rice because it’s an easy, delicious, go-to dish.”

But easy doesn’t mean fast. Peterson warns, “Readers should know to make this dish correctly is a process. It takes a while to cook, but it’s well worth it in the end.”

Vivian Peterson’s Red Rice


3 cups water

1 8-ounce can of tomato paste

1 16-ounce can of tomato sauce

4 slices of bacon

1 small bell pepper

1 small onion

1 smoked sausage link, cooked and cut in pieces

4 cups parboiled rice

1/2 stick of butter

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon of pepper

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons of sugar


Add water, tomato paste and tomato sauce to a pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until tomato paste is broken down. Reduce heat to simmer.

Cook bacon in a skillet. When it’s reached desired doneness, remove the bacon from skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Cut cooked bacon into pieces.

In the same skillet, sauté pepper and onion, and then add them to tomato mixture. Add bacon and sausage to tomato mixture, followed by rice, butter, seasonings and reserved bacon grease. Cover pot with aluminum foil and cook over medium low heat for 45 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally.

Editor’s note: Peterson’s red rice is one of four competing in The Post and Courier Food section recipe contest for a category crown. Over the course of a year, the newspaper will publish four reader-supplied recipes for each of 12 iconic Lowcountry dishes.

Red Rice #2: This entry in The Post and Courier's reader recipe contest is vegan-friendly

Featured recipes have been lightly edited to conform with the newspaper’s style, but they have not been tested: It’s up to readers to choose a winner. To weigh in on the red rice race, join us at

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Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.