Packed with bold, savory flavors and made in one pot, this vegan jambalaya is easy to make for dinner or meal prep!
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!
- Diet-friendly: vegan, vegetarian, nut free and gluten-free/soy-free optional
- Bold, umami flavors from tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and umami powder (optional)
- Made in one pot
- Packed with plant-based protein and veggies
Ingredients and substitutions
Holy trinity/mirepoix: Diced yellow onion, celery and green bell pepper sautéed in vegan butter are the base for this recipe. They are sautéed longer than I usually would cook them so that they get a little sweet.
Worcestershire sauce: I was a little unsure about the idea of adding this to the recipe when a friend suggested it, but lo and behold it is a necessary ingredient. 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.
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.
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 ½ 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.
Step by step instructions
- Melt butter: 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 mirepoix: diced yellow onion, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, until softened and golden.
- Add in the minced garlic, fresh thyme and tomato paste and sauté 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.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
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.
Veggies: Stir in extra veggies after the rice is cooked. Try adding cooked okra, squash or extra bell peppers.
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.
Yes. Use a non-stick pan and splash of vegetable broth in place of peanut oil, replenishing as needed to prevent burning.
Yes. Use tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce and choose a gluten and/or soy free veggie sausage and Worcestershire sauce.
Long-grain white rice or basmati is the most common type to use, but any type of white rice should work. I haven't tested this recipe with brown rice.
No, it should be relatively dry. You may have added too much broth or not cooked the rice long enough if there is a lot of liquid remaining. Simmer uncovered to remove excess liquid as needed.
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- 2 tablespoons vegan butter see note 1
- 1 and ½ 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 ½ tablespoons salt-free Cajun seasoning see note 2
- 1 teaspoon umami powder see note 3
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper omit if you don't want heat
- 1 and ½ 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 ½ inch slices; see note 5
- ¼ 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.
- Gluten-free and soy-free options: Use tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce and choose a gluten and/or soy free veggie sausage and Worcestershire sauce.
- Oil free: Use a non-stick pan and splash of vegetable broth in place of peanut oil, replenishing as needed to prevent burning.
- Storage and reheating: 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.