This easy vegan jambalaya is made with a spicy mixture of brown rice, red beans and bell peppers. It cooks up quick and easy on the stove, or you can let it simmer away in the slow cooker!
When I was in law school, I had a friend from New Orleans who would go out every year and buy a traditional Mardi Gras cake that had a little plastic baby baked right into it. He would invite a few friends over to his apartment on Fat Tuesday for a low-key lunchtime celebration. I forget the details of the tradition, but whoever got the slice of cake containing the baby was somehow special or blessed. I never got the baby, but was always happy for the chance to enjoy some celebratory cake.
So, of course my first thought for posting a Mardi Gras recipe was to recreate that cake, but the thought of baking plastic toys into my food freaks me out a bit.
I was also hoping to avoid the “fat” part of Fat Tuesday, especially since I didn’t have any Mardi Gras celebration plans myself, and I usually reserve my dessert posts for those occasions when I have some dinner company to feed the results to. Maybe in some future year I’ll plan a celebration so I can share some home-baked fatness with you all.
Last week’s sausage recipe would be the inspiration for jambalaya as my Mardi Gras post. Once I had the idea for the sausage, the jambalaya seemed like the obvious next step.
I have to admit here that traditional jambalaya is something I’ve never had, though it apparently involves shrimp and sausage. I’d already covered sausage by the time I came up with the idea, and upon some further consideration, red beans seemed like a great substitute for shrimp.
You don’t have to make your own sausage for this. The homemade variety is nice, but if you’re not up for that much work you can use your favorite commercial vegan sausage. Personally, I’m a big fan of Field Roast.
The slow cooker aspect of this recipe makes it nice for a couple of reasons. First, and this is something I often forget due to not busting out the slow cooker often enough, the all day simmering of Cajun spices will give you a whole day of comforting, appetizing aromas in your home. Second, the slow cooker is great if you’re serving this as party food — be it Mardi Gras party food or something else. The initial four hour cook time is approximate, so you can let it simmer away as you party and just throw the rice in about an hour and a half before dining time.
This post originally published on Connoisseurus Veg on March 3, 2014. Updated on December 23, 2016 to include stove top cooking method.
Vegan Jambalaya (Slow Cooker or Stove Top!)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes about 3 tomatoes or a 14 ounce can
- 4-5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp. paprika
- 2 tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper hot sauce adjust to heat preference
- 2 cups long grain brown rice
- 1 3/4 cups cooked or one 14 oz. can red kidney beans drained
- 2 cups chopped vegan sausage optional, I like Field Roast brand
- 2-3 scallions chopped
Slow Cooker Method
- Place oil, pepper, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, 4 cups of broth, paprika, cumin, black pepper, thyme, oregano and hot sauce into slow cooker set to low heat.
- Cover and cook for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- About 1 1/2 hours before serving time, add rice and raise heat to high.
- Stir, cover and cook for another hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Add more broth if the rice becomes too dry during cooking.
- Add beans and sausage. Stir and cook another 2 minutes or so, until beans and sausage are heated throughout.
- Served topped with scallions.
Stove Top Method
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot add bell pepper, celery, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, until veggies are softened.
- Add tomatoes, 4 cups of broth, paprika, cumin, black pepper, thyme, oregano, hot sauce, and rice. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and allow to simmer until the rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for about 5 minutes, covered.
- If using vegan sausage, briefly heat it on the stove or in the microwave while the rice sits.
- Remove lid, fluff rice with a fork, and stir in the beans. Serve topped with scallions.