This vegan jambalaya is a flavor-packed meal that is delicious, satisfying and made in just one pot.
You are going to love how easy it is to make this vegan version of jambalaya. Gather up a handful of savory ingredients, pantry staples and vegan sausage and you’ll have yourself a satisfying vegan dinner!
This recipe is a long, long time coming. I originally tried making this as an Instant Pot recipe and it was, I have to admit, a disaster. I kept adding okra (bad idea and not even a jambalaya ingredient) and ended up with a big old mush. I tabled the recipe because I was just sick of the mush of rice and beans.
Fast forward almost two years and I finally have a stove top vegan/vegetarian jambalaya that I am proud to share.
This recipe leans heavy on umami (savory) ingredients like tomato paste and Worcestershire to make up for the lack of traditional ingredients like meat.
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Ingredients and substitutions
Holy trinity/mirepoix: Diced yellow onion, celery and green bell pepper sauteed in vegan butter are the base for this recipe. They are sauteed longer than I usually would cook them so that they get a little sweet.
Worcestershire sauce: I was a little quizzical at the idea of adding this to the recipe when a friend suggested it, but lo and behold it is a necessary ingredient. Do note that Worcestershire often has anchovies in it, but you should be able to find an anchovy free version at the store. Many store-brand versions are vegan.
Long grain white rice: Other types of rice may get mushy and clump, so stick to long-grain. I have not tested this recipe with brown rice.
Vegetable stock: I recommend choosing a reduced sodium stock if its available. This will allow you to adjust the salt to taste.
Cajun seasoning: Choose a salt-free Cajun seasoning! My favorite seasoning is usually Slap Ya Mama but it is very salty so I do not use it in this recipe. Most salt-free seasonings are labeled as such, but you can double check on the ingredient list.
Ground cayenne pepper: This makes the recipe a bit spicy. I recommend omitting this if you don’t like lightly spicy food.
Tomato paste: Cajun jambalaya doesn’t use tomatoes and Creole does. We’re adding tomato paste and sauteing until browned for extra savory flavor.
Umami powder: I use the Trader Joe’s umami seasoning but there are other versions available like Takii Umami Powder. This is basically ground dried mushrooms and it adds a nice depth to the dish. However, you can omit this ingredient if unable to find it. Another option would be to add a sprinkle of MSG.
Fresh thyme: To substitute dry for fresh, use 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme.
Veggie sausages: I add sauteed slices of Tofurkey Italiain Sausage for extra protein and to get a little closer to traditional jambalaya.
Beans: Use one can of red beans.
A note on authenticity: This recipe is “inspired” in that traditional jambalaya is Creole or Cajun and is made with meat. I am not from Louisiana but wanted to come up with a comforting rice dish that takes on a lot of the classic jambalaya flavors. My rendition is based on a little bit of advice from a jambalaya-loving friend, a little bit of research, and a lot of vegan umami sources to make up for the lack of meat.
Step by step instructions
- Use a 4 quart dutch oven or stock pot. Place on the stove over medium-high heat. Once hot, add vegan butter.
- Add in the diced yellow onion, celery, and bell pepper. Saute for 10-12 minutes, until softened and golden.
- Add in the minced garlic, fresh thyme and tomato paste and saute another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to encourage even cooking and prevent burning. The goal is to cook down the tomato paste and concentrate its flavor.
- Add in the seasonings: Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, umami seasoning and salt. Stir in the rinsed white rice, vegetable broth and Worcestershire sauce.
5. Bring to a boil over higher heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer over low. Cover and let simmer until rice is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
6. Remove the lid and stir in the beans and sauteed plant-based sausage. Continue cooking over low until the beans are warmed through, about 2-3 minutes.
Storage and serving ideas
Add a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.
Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 4-5 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or on the stove top over low heat.
Homemade vegan biscuits are a delicious addition to this recipe. A dash of hot sauce is also necessary if you like a little bit of heat.
More of my favorite vegan dinner recipes:
- Tempeh Teriyaki Stir Fry
- Tempeh Spaghetti Bolognese
- Vegan Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Black-Eyed Pea Veggie Bowls
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter see note 1
- 1 and 1/2 cups diced yellow onion about one large onion
- 1 cup diced celery about 2 stalks
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced (add more if desired)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons salt-free Cajun seasoning see note 2
- 1 teaspoon umami powder see note 3
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper omit if you don't want heat
- 1 and 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 3 cups vegetable stock reduced sodium if available
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce see note 4
- 1 can (15 ounces) red beans drained and rinsed
- 2 each Italian-style plant-based sausages 1/2 inch slices; see note 5
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley for serving
- 1 medium lemon sliced into wedges, for serving
- Place a 4 quart dutch oven or stock pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Once hot, add vegan butter. Add the diced yellow onion, celery, and bell pepper to the melted butter.
- Saute for 10-12 minutes, until softened and golden. Add in the minced garlic, tomato paste and fresh thyme. Saute another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to encourage even cooking and prevent burning.
- Add in the seasonings: Cajun seasoning, umami seasoning, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir in the rinsed white rice, vegetable broth and Worcestershire sauce.
- Bring to a boil over higher heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer over low. Cover and let simmer until rice is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the italian sausage slices and heat until browned, flipping as needed. Set aside when done.
- When the rice is cooked, remove the duthc oven lid and stir in the beans and sauteed plant-based sausage. Continue cooking over low until the beans are warmed through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Serve topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy!
- Vegan butter: I recommend Earth Balance or Miyoko’s Kitchen. Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil can be used if desired.
- Cajun seasoning: I recommend using a salt-free seasoning so that you have more control over the saltiness.
- Umami powder: I use Trader Joe’s umami seasoning. Any other ground mushroom umami seasoning, or even MSG seasoning, will work. Omit if not available.
- Worcestershire sauce: A vegan and anchovy free version should be available at most grocery stores.
- Plant-based sausages: Omit if desired. I use Tofurkey brand Italian Sausages.