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Emily Meggett's Red Rice

Emily Meggett's Red Rice

Emily Meggett was known as the Matriarch of Edisto Island as well as a prominent figure in the Gullah Geechee community, upholding the traditions of their food and culture. Rice is the cornerstone of Gullah Geechee cuisine and this recipe for Red Rice showcases its foundational role. 

"Red rice goes back to the old, old days—the days before me, my momma, and hers. Red rice is a beautiful, earthy one-pot rice dish that borrows from the traditions of my African ancestors. Sometimes called Charleston red rice, red rice really owes a great debt to the enslaved Africans who brought their knowledge of rice and vegetable farming to the United States... Oh, and when you put some fatback in there? Now you’re talking."

Excerpt from Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes from The Matriarch of Edisto Island, by Emily Meggett, published by Abrams. Text © 2022 Emily Meggett. Photography by Clay Williams.

To learn more about Emily Meggett check out our Chef Spotlight on her beautiful legacy.


½ pound salt pork, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

½ cup chopped celery

3 smoked sausages (about 14 ounces)

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1½ teaspoons Nature’s Seasons, plus more to taste

2 cups long-grain white rice, unrinsed


  1. Fry the salt pork in a large pot over medium heat until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Cut the sausage into bite-size pieces and add to the pot; cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and 5 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the crushed red pepper and Nature’s Seasons and stir. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  2. Add the rice. Cook, stirring frequently to keep the rice from sticking, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. If using a rice steamer, transfer the absorbed mixture to the steamer. Cover the steamer, and cook on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice can be fluffed with a fork. If using a pot, cover the pot and cook over the lowest possible heat, stirring with a fork as needed, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.


  • That’s a great question, Ian! The Nature’s Seasons ingredient listed in this recipe, that is featured in Emily Meggett’s wonderful cookbook, is Morton Salt’s – Nature’s Season Seasoning Blend (which is a mix of “onion, garlic, salt, pepper and other natural spice”). This most likely can be found at your local grocery store with the other salts & seasoning options. You can also of course order our fresh and prominent Crushed Red Pepper on our website!

    Spicewalla Team on
  • What is 1½ teaspoons Nature’s Seasons? where to get?

    Ian Severes on

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