I live in Florida. I love living in Florida. Especially when it’s literally freezing everywhere else and it’s in the 70s here. I do not love cold weather. I do not love the layers and the constant battle against the frozen nose and toes. I do however, enjoy stews, chili, and jambalaya which this ridiculously cold Florida weather (lows in the 30s) is perfect for.
Because of our recent cold-snap, I’ve decided to share my veganized twist on jambalaya. I initially made this recipe based on this one that is from The Plant Pure Nation Cookbook and was shared on www.plantbasedkatie.com . This meal has become a staple in our house for rainy or chilly days. Enjoy!
The key to any great jambalaya is the base ~The Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking~ equal parts of onion, bell peppers, and celery. Roughly chop these three veggies and steam sauté in your favorite veggie broth. This time, I also had some bell peppers from my parents’ garden, so I was able to use those tasty little peppers. If you’re a garlic lover, you can add a clove or two of minced garlic 3-5 minutes into sautéing.
Once the onions become translucent, you can add in a large can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste, liquid smoke, frozen okra, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Allow those to simmer over low heat, while stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes, but an hour or more is best. Really let those flavors come together.
While the jambalaya is simmering, cook up a pot of rice. I usually serve jambalaya with regular old brown rice, but lately I’ve been loving the Royal Blend from Rice Select. It’s got white, brown, wild, and red rice in it. Again, this part is totally up to you!
After the jambalaya has simmered long enough, add in whatever meaty substitute you desire. For the healthiest version, add in cubed tempeh – as much or as little as you like. Some people recommend pre-cooking the tempeh to get rid of the bitter taste, but I’ve never done that and have had no problems. I’ve also used the Field Roast sausage links in this recipe before. While it’s not the healthiest option, it certainly is tasty. You can also add beans at this point if you like. Although, when you add beans, does that technically make this a chili or a gumbo?
Once you’ve added in your meaty alternative, allow the jambalaya to continue simmering until everything is heated through.
Serve up your veganized jambalaya with the cooked rice on the side or you can choose to mix the rice you’ve already cooked right into the jambalaya.
I wasn’t totally sure what the difference between jambalaya, gumbo, and chili is so, I got on the ole Google machine to find out. I was curious, so I know someone reading this is probably curious too!
Jambalaya is more of a rice based dish typically with andouille sausage and shrimp or other shellfish. Gumbo is a roux-thickened stew with poultry, sausage, and/or shellfish that is typically served over rice. Chili is made from tomatoes, meat, and a source of heat (ie. chili powder). Funny, no beans mentioned in the jambalaya or gumbo, but the jury is still out regarding beans in chili. So it’s tough to say that this recipe is truly a jambalaya or a gumbo or a chili. All I know is that it is delicious and warms me right up on a chilly Florida night.
A hearty veganized version of jambalaya sure to warm you up on a chili night.
- 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2-3 T. tomato paste
- 1 t. Liquid smoke
- 1/2 c. Frozen okra (optional)
- 1 T. Dried parsley
- 1 t. Dried Thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Your choice of rice, cooked according to package directions.
- Your choice of meat substitutes such as, tempeh, Field Roast Vegan Sausage Links, etc.
- Roughly chop the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mince the garlic and set aside.
- In a large stock pot, bring vegetable broth to a simmer and add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Steam sauté for 3-5 minutes.
- When onion is translucent, add in minced garlic and sauté form2-4 minutes longer.
- Add in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, liquid smoke, okra (if using), parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir well and allow to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
- While jambalaya is simmer, prepare rice in a separate pot or a rice cooker.
- Just before serving, add in meat substitute and allow to simmer long enough to heat through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with prepared rice.