Jambalaya wins most of us over with its name alone. It rolls around our mouths and wakes up our lips, like the verbal equivalent of a goofy dance or an awkward, impromptu game of adult tag. For me, this vegan jambalaya recipe takes the dish’s inherent playfulness to another level by inviting plant-based eaters to the party, and it doesn’t even require ground cashews or nutrition yeast as a price for admission. Don’t get me wrong, my wife (and her label maker) marked our mason jar of nutritional yeast #veganmagic, so I’m not here to hate on plant-based staples. I’m just proud to promote a meal that breaks down stereotypes of vegan and vegetarian eating as bland, repetitive, and never filling. Vegan jambalaya. Let’s say it five times fast and fill the kitchen with a hearty and healthy recipe.
What is jambalaya and where is it from?
Jambalaya is a filling, rice-based dish with French, Spanish, and African influence that usually includes sausage and a combination of shellfish, chicken, or pork. Vegan jambalaya includes the veggies, rice, and spices that make this dish so iconic, while replacing meat-based protein with plant-based protein (beans) and vegan sausage. Louisiana, and New Orleans specifically, is most famous for jambalaya, where you can find it served as an inexpensive street for or a more upscale meal depending on preparation and venue. Vegan or meat-based, food truck or formal, you can always count on jambalaya to be a mish mash of delicious flavors and textures.
What ingredients do you use for vegan jambalaya?
Vegan jambalaya uses the same base vegetables (bell pepper, onion, garlic) and spices (paprika, cumin, cayenne) as its meat-based equivalent. This vegan jambalaya recipe follows a Cajun style, meaning it doesn’t include tomatoes like its Creole counterpart. The etymology of jambalaya is debated but all meanings tie back to a mixture of ingredients. We’re making a vegan jambalaya recipe that celebrates that spirit by throwing vegan sausage, carrots, red beans (you can also use garbanzo beans), and a handful of other spices into the mix.
How do I make vegan jambalaya?
Like most Plant & Vine recipes, this vegan jambalaya recipe is easy to make. Just toss your chopped vegetables into a large pot or skillet with oil, and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, soy sauce, and spices and cook for a few more minutes. Add in your cooked rice, beans, and chopped vegan sausages, and stir until everything is evenly coated. Warm it over medium-low heat until spices are evenly dispersed. Add your tahini and stir until evenly creamy. Cook for another few minutes and then serve warm with fresh chopped parsley.
Vegan jambalaya is like soup; the flavors will continue to meld and get more integrated with time so don’t feel like you need to eat it immediately.
What should I serve with vegan jambalaya?
Besides wine (which we’ll get to in a second), jambalaya pairs well with vegan cornbread with green chiles or a simple side of southern-style cooked greens or veggies like collards or okra. But vegan jambalaya is hearty enough to stand on its own, so don’t stress about the sides.
Looking for other extra filling vegan recipes? Try Plant & Vine’s hearty vegan minestrone soup, green chile vegan mac and cheese, Moroccan chickpea stew, hearty vegan chili, or gallo pinto. If you make this vegan jambalaya, leave a comment, rate the recipe, and tag a photo with #plantandvine on Instagram.
Wine pairings for vegan jambalaya
Jambalaya is a spice-filled Cajun bowl of deliciousness. A key thing to consider in your wine pairings is that you don’t want your wine to compound the inherent spiciness of the dish. Think fruity or aged reds or whites with some crisp acidity and maybe a little sweetness. Here are some pairing ideas to get you started:
- Reserva Rioja: if you’re thirsty for a red wine, a Reserva Rioja will meld nicely with the smoked, warm spicy flavors of the recipe. Plus, the tannins become soft and stewed down due to the inherent aging of a Reserva. This soft feel matches the rice’s texture.
- Suggested Regions: Rioja, Spain
- Riesling Spatlese: an off-dry Riesling has moderate alcohol content, which helps it pair well with spicier meals, by not adding an additional burning component to the meal. Additionally, a touch of sweetness and high acidity keeps the jambalaya tasting fresh and lively.
- Suggested Regions: Mosel, Germany
- Zinfandel: bigger bodied red with jammy fruit flavors like blackberry, strawberry, and peach preserves with some spicy notes like cinnamon. Look for a Zinfandel with the alcohol content on the lower side of the range to make sure it won’t compound the jambalaya heat.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to pair wine with vegan recipes, visit my wine pairing and vegan wine guides. Or, if you already have a bottle of wine and need the scoop on how to decant, check out the best wine decanters.Print
A vegan jambalaya recipe that pops with flavor and is packed with plant-based protein.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Cajun, Dinner, Vegan
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: Cajun, Vegan, Vegetarian
- 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil (I used grapeseed oil)
- 1/2 red (or yellow) onion
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (depending on heat tolerance)
- 2-4 cups of cooked rice (depending on your preferred rice : vegetable ratio)
- 4 vegan sausages (I used chipotle Mexican but anything spicy or smoky is great)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 14 oz canned kidney beans
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cook your rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
- Add oil to a skillet with high sides or a large pot. Add chopped veggies, including onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, carrots, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add more oil if needed.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce and spices and stir until evenly coated. Then add the cooked rice, beans, and vegan sausages. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until everything is evenly warmed.
- Add the tahini, stir until evenly mixed and creamy, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Spice to taste, including more salt to make the flavors pop, cayenne for spiciness, or herbs for additional flavor.
- Serve with some chopped fresh parsley on top.
- Keep the vegan jambalaya in the fridge in a covered container, up to 4 days. The flavors will continue to meld with time like a soup.
*Recipe is a guide. Adapt as desired.
Keywords: jambalaya, vegan jambalaya, rice and beans, vegan rice and beans