Jambalaya is a Louisiana recipe that most people associate with New Orleans. It’s a rice dish that combines the spices and cooking methods of West African, French, and Spanish cuisine. It consists of meats (sauce and seafood) with veggies and a rich sauce that’s cooked with rice. It is really similar to gumbo, which is an okra thickened stew served with rice, except it’s more seasoned and more of a casserole than stew. It’s a fun one to veganize because you can get really creative with all the add-ins and proteins.
You can substitute a lot in a recipe like this. There isn’t one set “best jambalaya recipe” out there because it’s a dish of opportunity. You add in pretty much what you’ve got to use. For mine I used No Evil chorizo, seitan strips I found in my freezer, and some beans. You could add in Old Bay seasoned hearts of palm for a seafood texture. Really. Just use whatever.
West African cuisine combines the regional dishes of all 16 western African countries. It’s a large swath of Africa but this cuisine is marked for certain techniques and spice blends. Most West African dishes are built on the base of tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. Spices aren’t that common in West African dishes but rather built on a base of fruit and vegetables. Oh. And heat. Lots of heat. Many West African recipes call for the Scotch Bonnet pepper either fresh, dried, or powdered. This unique pepper is earthy with some acidity and around 300,000 Scoville units which puts it above a habanero in terms of heat.
French, primarily Provençal French, uses many mint based spices like sage, thyme, and oregano, sausages, and seafood. Combining then Spanish influence, you get olive oil, parsley, and garlic plus more sausage and seafood.
You can see then once you get into the recipe the history of how this Creole dish came together out of the West African dish jollof, Spain’s paella, and Provençal jambalaia.
If you’re looking for a vegan paella recipe, look no further! I’ve got you covered. Check out the post below!
Veganized paella that takes just minutes to throw together with a variety of bright and earthy flavors with many substitutions available. Put it in a pot and in under an hour you have a vibrant and delicious meal.
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One of the ingredients in this recipe is “Cajun Seasoning” which you can purchase at most grocery stores here in America. It might be called Creole seasoning. To help you out I’ve written a recipe below for it if you want to make your own! This makes roughly 3/4 cup of seasoning and can be stored in an airtight container on the counter for several months.
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
Mix together until fully combined. If you have a mortar and pestle, that’s the best way to mix the blend. I find it best with blends like this to not use a spice grinder since it combines it too well. That’s just my personal preference though.
Without further debut…here’s the veganized jambalaya recipe!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided )
- 12-16 ounces vegan sausage, chorizo, or other "meat"
- 3 tablespoons cajun seasoning
- 1 large yellow onion (diced)
- 1 medium green pepper (diced)
- 1 medium red pepper (diced)
- 3 stalks celery (diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (diced)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
- 14 ounces diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (minced)
- 15 ounces red kidney beans (drained )
- 1/4 cup green onion tops (chopped )
- In a large pot, cook vegan sausage in 2 tablespoons of oil with the cajun seasoning. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove cooked sausage from pot but leave any cooked on spice in the pot. Set aside.
- Add onions, garlic, peppers, celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to saute and release the spice from the pot.
- Stir in paprika, salt, thyme, and oregano. Stir in rice and remaining olive oil. Add tomato, Worcestershire, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes. Stirring half way and at the 25 minute mark.
- Fold in the cooked sausage, parsley, beans, and most of the green onions. Top each serving with green onion.
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