Ever since I’ve been to New Orleans, I wanted to make a vegan jambalaya for the blog. It makes such an easy and delicious vegan dinner and it’s so comforting! I’m so glad I finally got around to making it for the blog! It’s definitely a keeper! If you like rice dishes as much as I do, you could also like my one pot vegetable rice, my Thai pineapple fried rice, or my vegan paella.
What is jambalaya? And when was jambalaya invented?
Jambalaya is a popular rice dish from the Southeast of the United States, especially Louisiana. It commonly includes rice, vegetables, some kind of meat or sausage, and sometimes also seafood.
As it is an inexpensive dish than can easily be adopted to whatever the cook has on hand, jambalaya has been around for a long time. It first appeared in a French dictionary in 1872. The origin of the word is, however, unclear.
Some people believe that jambalaya could be a compound of “jambon”, the French word for ham and “aya” or “yaya”, which means rice in one of the African languages that was spoken by slaves in Louisiana at that time.
Probably it was also an attempt of the Spanish in New Orleans to make paella in the so-called New World. Since saffron, an important component of paella, was not easily available in Louisiana at that time, they used tomatoes instead.
What is jambalaya made of?
Jambalaya usually consists of seasoned rice, vegetables, and meat. The traditional recipes call for some kind of sausage, mostly andouille. It’s often paired with other kinds of meat or even seafood such as shrimp or crawfish.
The most popular vegetables for jambalaya are celery, green bell pepper, tomatoes as well as onions and garlic. Some recipes also call for carrots. For a vegan version, you can also use tofu instead of the meat or a vegan andouille sausage like I did.
What You Need For This Vegan Jambalaya:
My vegan jambalaya is definitely not a traditional jambalaya but it’s sooo delicious and super easy to make! Plus, it contains a ton of protein and nutrients!
- parboiled rice
- one red onion
- one red bell pepper
- one can crushed tomatoes
- one can kidney beans
- dried oregano
- dried basil
- smoked paprika powder
- cayenne pepper
- soy sauce
- Cajun seasoning
- vegan andouille sausage (some kind of vegan Mexican or Italian sausage would work as well)
- green onions and parsley
- salt and pepper
As always, you can find the full ingredient list and the recipe instructions in a separate recipe box at the end of this post.
Except for the vegan sausage, you will find all of these ingredients in any regular supermarket. If you have problems finding the vegan andouille sausage, you could also use smoked tofu instead. I used cooked rice for my vegan jambalaya to make the recipe even faster.
I usually cook a big batch of rice, so I have it ready for busy days. However, you could also cook the uncooked rice with the vegetables and the spices as many traditional jambalaya recipes do.
Jambalaya vs. Gumbo
Many people confuse jambalaya with gumbo or they don’t know the exact differences between these two dishes. Jambalaya and gumbo are both well-known dishes from the Louisiana cuisine. Both dishes include vegetables, sausage, meat, seafood, and roughly the same kinds of Cajun seasoning.
However, gumbo usually calls for okra, which is not common in jambalaya. Another difference is that gumbo is only served over rice that is cooked separately while for jambalaya rice plays an essential role in the cooking process.
I hope you like this vegan jambalaya as much as we do around here! It makes such an easy and healthy dinner for busy days! Let me know if you give it a try. I always love seeing your Vegan Heaven creations on Instagram and Facebook.
Have a great week, everyone!
Sina – xx
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into medium-sized chunks
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 vegan andouille sausages, roughly chopped (you could also use vegan Italian or Mexican sausages instead)
- 3 cups leftover cooked parboiled rice (=1.5 cups uncooked rice)
- 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (14 oz) kidney beans, drained
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco
- salt, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- 2 green onions, cut into rings
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- In a large pan, heat some oil and sauté the red onion for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add the bell pepper, the celery, and the vegan sausage. Cook for another 3 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked rice, the kidney beans, the crushed tomatoes, the spices, the soy sauce, and the Tabasco and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and cayenne pepper and stir in the green onions and the chopped parsley.