If you're wondering what to make for dinner tonight, bring the flavors of New Orleans into your home with this Vegan Jambalaya. It's a dish so vibrant and colorful and delicious, it's like Mardi Gras in a pot. And just one pot, at that.
One of the reasons I love this vegan jambalaya so much is that it is so gorgeous to look at, with all of those colorful veggies and beans in there. In fact, there's nothing in this recipe that's not super good for you.
Replacing the meat in jambalaya
It is said that in Louisiana, there are as many recipes for Jambalaya as there are cooks, but one common denominator in all Jambalaya recipes, besides the rice, is meat of some kind, usually ham or pork. And since it is Louisiana, there's often fish in there too, like shrimp.
When veganizing recipes that contain meat, it's important to not just toss in vegetables to substitute for the meat and fish and forget about it. Because meat and fish tend to be strong flavors by themselves, it is really important to find ways to add in more flavor into your plant-based dish. Otherwise you'll have something bland on your hands, and with a Jambalaya, that would simply be a crime.
I get around this conundrum by making a liberal use of ingredients in my Vegan Jambalaya that add umami, like dry mushrooms, tomato paste, and tamari into my recipe. You could skip the tamari if you want to be soy-free, but if there's no pressing reason to, don't.
Ingredients for vegan jambalaya
Most of this list is made up of your basic pantry staples that you probably already have on hand and fresh veggies, of course:
- Bell peppers of all hues (I used orange, red and yellow peppers and they add fabulous color and nutrition)
- Tomatoes, and tomato paste
- Mushrooms, fresh and dry
- Red kidney beans (you can use pinto or black beans with equally good results)
- Oregano and thyme
- Creole seasoning (optional but nice)
- Tamari, soy sauce or liquid aminos
- Parsley or green onions for garnish
- Ground black pepper
How to make vegan jambalaya
Now that you've got all your ingredients together, putting your vegetarian jambalaya is going to be the easiest part. You start out with a base of onions, celery and bell peppers -- a combination described as the holy trinity of Creole cuisine.
Next, stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste with the paprika, saute for a couple of minutes, then throw most of the remaining ingredients in.
The rice goes in at the end, and make sure you follow instructions accurately, because you want the rice to be perfectly cooked and the grains separate.
This recipe makes 10 servings, so you'll have plenty of food to go around for a party. And even if you make it just for yourself, this Vegan Jambalaya will be a party for your mouth!
If you're in the mood for more Louisiana-inspired food, be sure to try out my Vegan Gumbo. It's fat-free and gluten-free and delicious. And for another fabulous rice and veggie combo, check out my Vegan Paella.
More vegan "seafood" recipes
- Vegan Maryland Crab Cakes
- Vegan Pasta Puttanesca
- Vegan Etouffee
- Vegan Dirty Rice
- Vegan One Pot Mujadara with Leeks
- Persian Rice with Saffron and Asparagus
Vegan Jambalaya, a one-pot meal
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 bell peppers, any color (I used orange, red and yellow peppers)
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup dry sliced mushrooms, like shiitake, soaked in three cups of water for 30 minutes
- 2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon creole seasoning (optional)
- 2 tablespoon tamari (can sub liquid aminos or soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- Parsley or green onions for garnish
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, celery and bell peppers along with some salt and ground black pepper. Saute a couple of minutes until the onions start to soften.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste along with the paprika and continue to saute for a couple more minutes.
- Add the kidney beans to the pot along with the tamari or soy sauce, oregano, thyme, creole seasoning if using, fresh mushrooms, and dry mushrooms with the stock they were soaked in. Stir to mix and bring the stock to a boil.
- Add in the rice, stir, and check the salt. The stock should taste saltier than you'd like your jambalaya to be, otherwise, once cooked, your rice will be bland.
- Once the water boils again, cover the pot with a tight lid, lower flame to medium-low, and cook for 20 minutes, without opening the lid.
- Turn off the heat and let the rice stand, undisturbed, for another 10 minutes before opening the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork, stir in the parsley or green onions, and serve hot.